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What Is It?
An early childhood webbing curriculum is one of many ways to create lesson plans for your early childhood classroom. A web does not look like a traditional, linear lesson plan, but instead takes the ideas and interests of the children into account.
The web begins with one very broad central idea and then branches out into several smaller themes. Each of these branches can then have an infinite number of branches. Each of these branches, in turn, can have branches. In other words, it can be an ever-evolving lesson plan as long as the children's interest is piqued.
An early childhood webbing curriculum is often easiest to implement when you are well aware of the children's interests and developmental level. Be sure to ask the children for ideas when creating your webbing curriculum.
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What Does It Look Like?
Begin with a broad central theme or idea. For example, "Animals" can be a very broad central theme. From that center idea, draw lines to several smaller circles.
Ask children for some ideas of smaller groups of animals. You may need to direct the children toward the type of things you are looking for in the beginning. Some sub-circles of animals may be "Animals at Home" and "Animals in the Wild". Branching out from the animals at home circle could be dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and perhaps a larger circle for "Farm Animals". Branching from farm animals can be all of the various farm animals the children can name. The web is endless and can stretch on as long as there are still valid ideas to be added.
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How Do I Use the Webbing Worksheet?
Now that you have a basic web with lots of ideas, what do you do with it? It doesn't look much like a traditional lesson plan, of course, but it can still be used as a guide to your lesson planning.
If you notice that there are several branches webbing from the "Farm Animal" theme, you may be able to use one entire day or week of the school year and dedicate it to the in-depth study of farm animals. Since the children helped you plan the web, they will now have a vested interest in what they will be learning.
At this stage, it may be necessary to create another web. Use "Farm Animals" as your central theme, and branch out as many ideas as you can from that one theme. Include things like field trips, guest speakers, and special projects. You are only limited by your imagination at this point. Write down as many ideas as you can for your farm animal theme and create your lesson plan from this web.
Be sure to incorporate all the learning centers in your classroom into the central theme. For example, put farm animals and a barn in your sensory table, read farm-themed stories at circle time, sing farm songs, and turn your home living area into a garden or a grocery store. Discuss how food starts at the farm and ends up at the store. Involve the children in your classroom changes.
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Where Can I Learn More?
Below are some links, right here on Bright Hub Education to a downloadable and printable blank early childhood webbing curriculum. The second link takes offers you a partially finished web.
Blank Curriculum Web: http://images.brighthub.com/media/967DFE_web-basic-shape.dot
Partially Finished Web: http://images.brighthub.com/media/F1AF73_web-basic-shape.pdf
Engaging Your Early Education Students With a Webbing Curriculum
These series of articles introduces preschool teachers to several different approaches to curriculum. Included are an overview of several different types of curriculum as well as a focused article on creating a curriculum web for preschoolers.