Curriculum Core for Pre-K Programs
Prekindergarten curriculum has gained much needed attention within the past year. Prior to the upset of educational systems due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) was already focused on the statewide adoption of pre-K curricula for the 2021-2022 school year. Through their issuance of Proclamation 2021, publishers across the country prepared proposals highlighting their programs and resources. School districts, in turn, began to narrow their focus on the educational needs of today’s youngest students.
Early childhood educators agree that prekindergarten instruction forms the foundation upon which future learning and skill development is based. The early years in a student’s schooling should provide children, regardless of their individual circumstances, with an equitable opportunity to learn and thrive. Quality, age-appropriate instruction can firmly root children in the skills they will need and build upon for future academic success.
As pre-K programs consider numerous choices, they develop their own parameters and objectives for selecting a curriculum. The choice of a curriculum will have a long-lasting impact on daily instruction because the selection process and cost of purchasing a curriculum and supplemental materials prevents change or replacement for years to come.
The Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) is well-acquainted with the struggle many schools experience in finding the tools that best support the needs of their children. For many years, CLI has received requests from educators to produce a pre-K curriculum. Uniquely positioned as a provider of a plethora of free resources across the state, and feeling the timing was right to embark on this opportunity, the experts at CLI combined their knowledge and research findings to develop a prekindergarten classroom curriculum: the CIRCLE Pre-K Curriculum.
As a leader in early childhood education, CLI is well-versed in the latest research regarding teaching practices. Operating as a research-to-practice entity, keeping research at the core of the curriculum design was paramount. Research suggests that a high-quality curriculum needs to align with established early learning guidelines through its instructional framework. Individualized learning should be incorporated so that the needs of each individual student can be addressed and met. Teachers must be equipped with effective teaching strategies that promote quality interactions with children. In addition, child-initiated activities should be included to balance direct instruction and allow for meaningful learning experiences.
The quality of any curriculum is largely determined by the quality of the lessons that comprise it. For CLI, the widely utilized and time-tested CIRCLE Activity Collection was the ideal beginning point for building a comprehensive curriculum for use throughout the entire school year. Through an extensive enhancement process of reviewing and refining existing lessons, authoring more than one hundred new lessons, mapping skills to learning domains, and sequencing skill development, the CIRCLE Pre-K Curriculum took shape.