What is developmentally appropriate practice? Does Creative Curriculum use these practices?
In the past 75 years, research has provided a great deal of information about childhood as a separate and distinct stage of life with its own characteristics. The application of this body of knowledge to teaching is called developmentally appropriate practice. Developmentally appropriate practice provides children with opportunities to learn and practice newly acquired skills. It offers the context of a community where children are safe and valued, where their physical needs are met, and where they feel psychologically secure.
Developmentally appropriate practice means teaching in ways that match the way children develop and learn as set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
The Creative Curriculum Model shows you how to implement developmentally appropriate practices in your classroom. Creative Curriculum highlights the important balance between applying a general knowledge of child development with the particular knowledge a teacher gains by forming a relationship with each child and family. Creative Curriculum describes each subject area and shows how to teach it in ways that support children’s academic progress while respecting the way they grow and develop. Creative Curriculum encourages children to experiment, explore, and pursue their own interests.
We believe that your child, through creative curriculum principles, will be able to develop the necessary skills needed to successfully transition into kindergarten.
The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood
The philosophy behind our curriculum is that young children learn best by doing. Learning isn’t just repeating what someone else says; it requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world we live in.
In their early years, children explore the world around them by using all their senses (touching, tasting, listening, smelling, and looking). In using real materials such as blocks and trying out their ideas, children learn about sizes, shapes, and colors, and they notice relationships between things.
In time, they learn to use one object to stand for another. This is the beginning of symbolic thinking. For example, they might pretend a stick is an airplane or a block is a hamburger. These early symbols – the stick and the block – are similar in shape to the objects they represent. Gradually children become more and more able to use abstract symbols like words to describe their thoughts and feelings. They learn to “read” pictures which are symbols of real people, places and things. This exciting development in symbolic thinking takes place during the pre-school years as children play.
Play provides the foundation for academic or “school” learning. It is the preparation children need before they learn highly abstract symbols such as letters (which are symbols for sounds) and numbers (which are symbols for number concepts). Play enables us to achieve the key goals of our early childhood curriculum. Play is the work of young children.
The Goals of Our Curriculum
The most important goal of our early childhood curriculum is to help children become enthusiastic learners. This means encouraging children to be active and creative explorers who are not afraid to try out their ideas and to think their own thoughts. Our goal is to help children become independent, self-confident, inquisitive learners. We’re teaching them how to learn, not just in preschool, but all through their lives. We’re allowing them to learn at their own pace and in the ways that are best for them. We’re giving them good habits and attitudes, particularly a positive sense of themselves, which will make a difference throughout their lives.
The activities we plan for children, the way we organize the environment, select toys and materials, plan the daily schedule, and talk with children, are all designed to accomplish the goals of our curriculum and give your child a successful start in school.