Curriculum design is the process of planning a curriculum and associated activities, environments and interactions for early childhood based on agreed priorities for children’s learning. This will look different in every early childhood setting.
Curricular plans and the associated provision of early childhood environments and experiences enable children’s inquiries, learning and development. Research finds that children’s achievement is greater where teachers plan for more structured play and focus on academic skills, as well as engaging in pedagogical practices such as direct teaching (questioning or modelling), ‘sustained shared thinking’, scaffolding children’s play, and extending child-initiated interactions.
There is clear longitudinal evidence from the UK that suggests teachers’ planning for children’s learning and active involvement in children’s play and activity are associated with greater achievement. There is also a strong alignment between the research findings from cognitive psychology and neuroscience about the features of effective early childhood learning environments.
Plan purposeful teaching interactions building on and from children’s play, and take time to really consider potential teaching actions and decisions. Choose pedagogies and practices which enable you to:
Emphasise relationships and promote social interaction
Nurture children’s wellbeing
Build on prior learning
Make learning authentic and meaningful
Develop children’s capacities for learning to learn
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