Head Start Curriculum
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 teaching them good habits and attitudes, particularly a positive sense of themselves, which will make a difference throughout their lives.
Our curriculum identifies goals in all areas of development,
- Social: To help children feel comfortable in school, trust their new environment, make friends, and feel they are a part of the group.
- Emotional: To help children experience pride and self-confidence, develop independence and self-control, and have a positive attitude toward life.
- Cognitive: To help children become confident learners by letting them try out their own ideas and experience success, and by helping them acquire learning skills such as the ability to solve problems, ask questions, and use words to describe their ideas, observations, and feelings.
- Physical: To help children increase their large and small muscle skills and feel confident about what their bodies can do.
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.
For more information on The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood, please contact,
Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Post Office Box 42243
Washington, DC 20015
(800) 637-3652, (202) 362-7543
(202) 364-7273 [FAX]
Children are aware very young that color, language, gender, and physical ability differences are connected with privilege and power. They learn by observing the differences and similarities among people and by absorbing the spoken and unspoken messages about those differences. Racism, sexism, and disabilities have a profound influence on their developing sense of self and others.
The "practice of freedom" is fundamental to anti-bias education. Curriculum goals are to enable every child: to construct a knowledgeable, confident self-identity: to develop comfortable, empathetic, and just interaction with diversity: and to develop critical thinking and the skills for standing up for oneself and others in the face of injustice.
Anti-bias curriculum embraces an educational philosophy as well as specific techniques and content. It is value based: Differences are good: oppressive ideas and behaviors are not. It sets up a creative tension between respecting differences and not accepting unfair beliefs and acts. It asks teachers and children to confront troublesome issues rather than covering them up. An anti-bias perspective is intergral to all aspects of daily classroom life.
For more information about the Anti-Bias Curriculum, please contact,
National Association for the Education of Young Children
1834 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20009-5786
The SECOND STEP early learning program is designed specifically for multiple-age early learning classrooms. The program is taught through 28 weekly themes, consisting of short activities to be done throughout the week. The activities build on each other to develop children’s self-regulation skills and social-emotional competence.
Skills and lessons children learn in the program include:
Skills for Learning Training
- Focusing attention
- Using self-talk
- Becoming assertive
- Identifying one's own and others' feelings
- Taking others' perspectives
- Showing care and concern for others
- Understanding strong feelings
- Identifying one's own strong feelings
- Calming down strong feelings
Friendship Skills and Problem Solving
- Making and keeping friends
- Calming down and using problem-solving steps
Transitioning to Kindergarten
- Reviewing program skills and concepts
- Thinking about how skills and concepts will help in kindergarten
Home Links letters are sent to families on a weekly basis throughout the presentation of the Second Step curriculum. Home Links letters include information about what children are learning and tips on how parents and caregivers can help their children use the new skills.
For more information on Second Step for Preschoolers, please contact:
Committee for Children
172 20th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Talking About Touching
Through this curriculum, children are taught safety rules to use with things and safety rules to use with people. The first section includes traffic, fire, and water safety. The second section teaches children safety rules to use with older people regarding talking, touching and feelings. Most families have their own safety rules dealing with these topics. This curriculum encourages children to learn and apply their family safety rules.
The children will be learning a number of skills to use when applying their family safety rules. The children will learn to:
- Recognize unsafe situations in their environment.
- Recognize potentially unsafe situations involving people.
- Determine safe and unsafe touch.
- Assert their ability to say "no" to unsafe situations and touches that are unsafe or uncomfortable.
- Tell someone about unsafe situations and unsafe or uncomfortable touches.
For more information on Talking About Touching, please contact:
Committee for Children
172 20th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
I Am Moving, I Am Learning
Goal One: Increase the quantity of time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the daily routine to meet national guidelines for physical activity.
Goal Two: Improve the quality of structured movement experiences intentionally facilitated by teachers and adults.
Goal Three: Improve healthy nutrition choices for children every day.
For more information on I Am Moving, I Am Learning, please visit: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/ecdh/Health/Nutrition/Nutrition%20Program%20Staff/IMIL/imil_report.pdf
Color Me Healthy
Color Me Healthy is a program developed to reach children ages four and five with fun, interactive learning opportunities on physical activity and healthy eating.
It is designed to stimulate all of the senses of young children: touch, smell, sight, sound, and, of course, taste. Through the use of color, music, and exploration of the senses, Color Me Healthy teaches children that healthy food and physical activity are fun.
For more information on Color Me Healthy, please visit: http://www.colormehealthy.com/.