The Creative Curriculum’s foundation is based off the findings of six main theorists. Through their views on children, the curriculum is constructed as a guideline for how we as a center can be united to provide the best possible care.
T. Berry Brazelton and Abraham Maslow believed that children need their basic needs met, which include safety, belonging and esteem. Erik Erikson and Stanley Greenspan focused on the necessity of having supporting, trusting relationships with adults, which increases social, emotional development. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky discussed how interactions with others are crucial in cognitive development.
As a center, we use these principles to help make decisions about the care and education of the children. The teachers use their knowledge of child development, the knowledge of children’s individual needs, strengths and interests, and the knowledge of the social and cultural context within each child. By using these theorists’ beliefs, we have a solid base to begin when planning for your child.
The four stages
The Creative Curriculum includes developmentally appropriate goals and objectives for children within four main categories of interest: social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language.
The social/emotional stage helps promote independence, self-confidence and self-control. Within this stage, children learn how to make friends, how to have group interactions and how to follow rules.
The physical stage is intended to increase children’s large and small motor skills.
The cognitive stage is associated with thinking skills. Children learn how to solve problems, ask questions and think critically.
The language stage deals with communication. Children learn how to communicate with others, listen and participate in conversations, and recognize various forms of print. In this stage, children begin to recognize letters and words and begin writing for a purpose.
The organization of the curriculum
There are five basic components that comprise the curriculum. From these five categories, focus and planning can be aimed so that learning is best achieved.
Knowing children — describes the social/emotional, physical, cognitive and language development of children
Creating a responsive environment — offers a model for setting up the physical environment for routines and experiences in ways that address the developing abilities and interests of children
What children are learning — shows how the responsive relationship you form with each child, the interactions you have every day, and the materials and experiences you offer become the building blocks for successful learning
Caring and teaching — describes the varied and interrelated roles of teachers who work with children
Building partnerships with families — explores the benefits of working with families as partners in the care of their children
The role of the teacher
The teacher is crucial to your child’s learning. The teacher is the person who sees your child daily, plans activities to promote your child’s individual skill, and helps bridge the gap between what they can do alone and what they need assistance with. As teachers, we need to:
Provide many and varied experiences for children
Allow children time to practice new skills
Develop positive relationships with each child
Create a safe environment where children can explore confidently and learn
Provide many rich language experiences throughout the day by describing what is happening, asking questions, singing and reading
Offer continuity of care
The classroom layout
Each classroom is set up for exploration and learning. Children have many opportunities to make choices, experiment, and interact with others. Each classroom should look similarly to this so that each child can be proactive in his or her learning. With a positive learning environment, each of your child's four stages should be developing and growing with experience.
Materials are on low shelves, in containers and on hooks so children can get them independently and put them away.
Shelves are neat and uncluttered so materials are easy to see, remove and replace.
Picture and word labels are on containers and shelves so children know where materials belong and learn to use print.
There are distinct interest areas: blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, discovery, library, sand and water, music and movement, cooking, computers, and different outdoor play spaces so children know what choices are available and can make decisions.
A variety of learning materials is in each area
Similar materials are grouped together to teach children to sort and classify.
As a center, our emphasis is on community. We need to work together to help learning continue. The importance of working together also extends between school and home. Teachers, staff and parents must communicate and share ideas so the child’s interests are best met. Through this bond, we will develop an individual care plan and update it as your child grows and changes. By pairing teacher and parent, we can help your child acquire the skills, attitudes, and habits to do well in school and in life.
We have seven main interest areas from which learning emerges. Through these topics, we can build off what children know to explore and comprehend the unknown.
We encourage children to observe, take things apart, build and see what they can find out. The more active children are in their work, the more they learn and remember. As children play, we watch how they use materials. We listen. We talk with them to find out what they are thinking and trying to do. We observe what they do and take note. Through those notes, we can plan activities that interest them but still teach skill building within the four stages.
We believe in a core list of traits for each teacher and classroom to follow. These traits inform lesson planning and are why we are here — to impact your child’s life and help him or her on the path of learning. These beliefs hold true for each classroom and are the basis of our curriculum:
Build a trusting relationship with each child
Provide responsive, individualized care
Create environments that support and encourage exploration
Ensure children’s safety and health
Develop partnerships with families
Observe and document children’s development in order to plan for each child and the group
Recognize the importance of social/emotional development
Appreciate cultural, family and individual differences
Take advantage of every opportunity to build a foundation for lifelong learning
Support dual-language learners
Include children with disabilities in all aspects of the program