The first and most important basis for our teaching decisions is our Preschool Standards.The Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for Mathematics, English Language Arts and Literacy, Science, Technology and Engineering are reflected in the MA Common Core Preschool Standards. These standards outline the content and skills we should be expecting our preschoolers to learn and demonstrate. The standards are dynamic and reflect well-known theories in child development as well as guidelines for early literacy and numeracy. We have carefully examined the standards and designed our curriculum so as to meet the learning outcomes of the Preschool Standards.
This piece focuses on the needs, developmental stage, and interests of the children. Through careful observation, both structured and unstructured, we differentiate our instruction to reflect the individual children in each of our classes. This approach allows each child to feel validated and supported in their learning. Most importantly, we build upon the skills and knowledge that each child brings so as to increase their fund of information and develop emergent skills.
This is where the Preschool Standards and developmentally appropriate teaching work in harmony. We utilize a thematic approach that capitalizes on the interests of the students, while still adhering to our standards. For example, September is Personal and Social Development Month. We are focusing on creating a caring community of learners. Based upon the standards, we have devised a list of observable skills we are hoping to see from our preschool learners as we work throught the curriculum. If, while teaching these skills, the children demonstrate an interest in trees, we will develop a tree theme. The tree theme will incorporate the personal/social skills we are working on. In this way, the activities are high interest, engaging and continue to support the development of skills outlined by our standards.