The Importance of an ECE Preschool Curriculum
Basic Steps, Early Progress
An early childhood education (ECE) curriculum is considered the “heart” of any learning institution which means that schools cannot exist without a curriculum. Thus, when choosing a curriculum parents and school administrators should make certain that the program meets several criteria: (1) it meets the needs of the children; (2) is interesting, developmentally appropriate; (3) and is adaptable. ‘Adaptable’ in this context means that the curriculum can be used in the same classroom where some students may be more advanced than others. In any group of kindergarten children, while all the same chronological age, there will be a wide range of developmental levels.
Research shows that the development of important emotional, cognitive, and behavioral skills takes place early in life. The foundational skills – letters, numbers, and shapes – are not only important for a successful transition to school, but also for later academic achievement and social adjustment. The socio-emotional benefits of preschool, learning to communicate and get along with others, is also of paramount importance to the development of ‘soft skills’ and emotional competence in life. Thus, a holistic approach to learning and development benefits those who attend a quality preschool with an age and culture-appropriate curriculum.
The goal Liberty’s preschool curriculum is to teach the whole child in key areas:
- Literacy and Language development
- Early Mathematics
- Early Science
- Social studies
- Creative Arts
- Social & Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- STEAM Framework
A lot of what can be taught depends on what the child brings to preschool in terms of preparation and life experience but the overarching aim of a curriculum is to introduce big ideas and develop vocabulary while establishing an interest in science, math, and art. These topics, when introduced as learning through exploration and play, create an interesting and engaging environment that captivates and inspires the young students. For example, lessons in dinosaurs offer information about history, animals, nature, and also grow the child’s vocabulary. The natural environment is another example: flowers, water, trees, wind, are integrated into the lessons that include directed vocabulary development. The point to understand is that learning happens everywhere, at the grocery, at the petrol station, at the neighborhood park, indoors and out. Therefore, lessons that elicit thought and expression in a variety of real-life situations help to nurture and develop the depth and breadth of the young learner’s linguistic skills and vocabulary.
Different Learning Styles
Each child is unique and each develops at a different pace from his peers. Some students react better to auditory stimuli while others are more visual. The goal is to encourage a focus on literacy and language development and other domains such as the environment while at the same time not forcing too many worksheets. The objective is to provide the child with the tools he needs to become an excited learner for kindergarten and beyond.
The curriculum in an organized preschool learning environment will help children to reach important milestones such as speaking and to master age-appropriate language skills. It is important to start early because language development occurs at a rapid pace in children between the ages of one and five years old. Daily interactions with other children and their teachers helps to develop fundamental language and literacy skills that will benefit the young learner in the long run.