Quality early learning environments are essential for preparing children to be successful learners as they go through elementary school. One means of attaining high quality learning environments is to implement curriculum that meets the needs of all children. A curriculum reflects the program’s philosophy, goals, and objectives for children as well as the guidelines to target children’s development in such areas as cognitive, social-emotional, language, and fine and gross motor domains (Frede & Ackerman, 2006). The intent of a curriculum is to provide the framework for what happens within a planned environment to allow for learning and interactions with materials, peers, and adults. The curriculum framework also helps to guide the evaluation criteria that are appropriate for the program.
The Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood are a critical piece for assisting teachers in designing classrooms that meet the developmental needs of children to help them succeed in school. In conjunction with the curriculum, a second equally important piece in an early childhood classroom, is conducting on-going assessments of children. Assessments that are implemented in the classroom and aligned with Pennsylvania’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood (birth to 3rd grade) will help inform teachers about designing a curriculum that provides multiple learning opportunities that best suits how each child learns. Developmental assessments allow one to understand a child’s competencies and to design learning environments which will help a child grow to his or her developmental potential.
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