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Choosing a Curriculum
With the demand for high quality early education programs on the rise, it is essential for program directors in child care centers to choose a preschool curriculum that reflects their commitment to quality in early learning. With the myriad of options available to child care centers, how do you make an informed decision? Keeping in mind the price of a pre-fabricated preschool curriculum, as well as the activities you would like to offer your community of learners and materials available to you can seem like an overwhelming task. As with any major decision, weighing your options piece by piece may be the best approach to take when deciding on a preschool curriculum.
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The following is a short list of some of the most popular preschool curriculum programs available for purchase. An online search engine is a good place to start when researching available preschool curriculum programs.
Mother Goose Time: A theme based monthly preschool curriculum program. The basic curriculum for three classrooms of 20 children for one year costs about $3,500. Each month, a box is delivered to your classroom including a lesson plan book for the theme, as well as classroom, student, and parent materials such as flash cards, worksheets, and parent notes.
Star-Brite Learning Program: A professionally developed preschool curriculum that claims it closely aligns with NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) guidelines. A one-month program includes 20 days of materials with 100 activities in all. This includes craft ideas, as well as worksheets and flash cards. Also includes a four-page parent newsletter, monthly progress reports, and a calendar pack. The cost per month for a classroom of twelve students is about $160.
Funsteps, Inc: This program includes all music, craft instructions, and stories in one teacher's guide booklet. The curriculum is theme based and also includes teacher training materials that can be applied towards state training hours in most states. The cost for twelve days worth of curriculum for a classroom of 20 children is about $100. Keep in mind that the Funsteps curriculum is based on three day a week preschool and provides curriculum for one month, meaning twelve lessons.
The Creative Curriculum: Perhaps the most popular preschool curriculum, The Creative Curriculum combines curriculum, assessment, teacher training, and parental involvement. The curriculum is presented in five book volumes: The Foundation, Interest Areas, Literacy, Mathematics, and Objectives for Development and Learning. The Creative Curriculum differs from the other curriculums mentioned as it leaves more space for teacher creativity. The curriculum is theme based and suggests activities that align with the themes offered, but no classroom materials are mailed to teachers. Teachers are free to choose which activities will work in their classrooms and can pick and choose the materials based on their own classroom needs. The cost of the five book volumes that outline the objective of the curriculum as well as the theme-based activities is $189.95.
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Keep in mind the needs of your particular child care environment when choosing a preschool curriculum. Do your classroom teachers work best when materials and instructions are given to them, or are they more effective when given a chance to decide on activities themselves? How creative is your staff? Do parents appreciate a curriculum that aligns with state academic standards, or are they more interested in process oriented learning? Be sure to thoroughly examine any preschool curriculum before making an informed decision.
"Early Childhood Program Management"; Barbara J. Taylor; 1995