Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

5.2: What is Curriculum?

  • Page ID
    42532
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    In early care and education, we value how children process information, we recognize how important their feelings are, and we place great significance on how children learn to socialize with others. As intentional teachers, our primary goal is to incorporate curriculum that supports the “whole-child” in all domains of development including social, emotional, physical, and intellectual. The word “curriculum” can mean different things to different people. For some, curriculum can provide the framework for learning, for others it can be a variety of planned activities, still for others curriculum is a way to drive learning outcomes, goals and objectives. Curriculum can be developed by teachers, or it can be purchased as part of a prefabbed program. Curriculum can be child-directed, and it can be teacher-directed. According to a joint position paper by the National Association for the Education of Young Child (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Department of Education (NAECS-SDE), “Curriculum is an organized framework that delineates the content children are to learn, the processes through which children achieve identified curricular goals, what teachers do to help achieve these goals, and the context in which teaching and learning occur” (2009). In other words, curriculum helps teachers organize the day to day activities, it outlines the learning goals and outcomes that teachers need to assess, and lastly, curriculum provides teachers with the guidance and structure that they need to teach. [52]

    Lesson plan icon detailing an emergent curriculum approach. Emergent curriculum means that teachers thoughtfully plan the environment, offering many visible choices, based on the children's skills
    Figure 5.2 Lesson Planning with an Emergent Curriculum. [53]

    5.2: What is Curriculum? is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gina Peterson and Emily Elam.