An early childhood curriculum web approach to planning allows you to put your students' interests in the heart of the lessons. The method gives you flexibility in branching out and exploring ideas while keeping the lesson plans and topics organized. Your planning evolves as the web expands to best meet the needs and interests of your preschool students.

Central Theme

A curriculum web starts with the central theme that goes in the middle of the web. The theme serves as the starting point for subthemes and lesson plans in the web. This method of planning focuses on what the kids want to learn. At the preschool level, this typically involves listening and observing the kids to see what they naturally talk about or make up as they play. For example, they might pretend to be zookeepers, or they might suddenly start talking about circuses. Choose a central theme based on what you observe that gives you plenty of options for lesson plans. Draw a circle in the middle of your paper. Write the name of the theme inside.

Branching Out

Once you have your core theme, you can branch off to create subthemes that help with lesson planning. If the central theme is weather, subtheme possibilities include rain, temperature, rainbows, clouds, wind and snow. Draw a branch from the middle circle for each of the subthemes. Draw a circle at the end of each branch and write the subtheme inside. If you don't want to break the theme down any further, you can branch off with different activity areas. For example, make branches off the central theme for dramatic play, math, building center, art, reading, writing and group play. This helps you divide the theme into different activity areas so you can better plan the specific activities.

Lesson Planning

Once you have your branches from the main theme, you are ready to start creating your lesson plans. You'll branch off even further from each subtheme or activity type to include your lesson plans on the curriculum web. If you use the weather theme with wind as a subtheme, one possible activity is using streamers to "see" the wind out on the playground. To document the activity on the web, draw a branch from the wind subcategory with another circle at the end. Include the key details of the activity in that bubble. If you choose to branch off with activity areas instead of subthemes, you might have a dramatic play branch from the weather theme. From the dramatic play bubble, you might include an activity with the kids dressing up like meteorologists to give the weather.

Webbing Tips

While the curriculum web approach gives you flexibility, you need to maintain a focus on the needs of the students. Just like traditional lesson planning, the activities on your curriculum web should address specific learning objectives rather than simply matching up with the theme. For example, a juggling activity to go along with a carnival theme helps develop motor skills in addition to fitting the theme. Continue observing the kids and their interests to continue modifying the web. The kids might enjoy a particular subtheme that can become your main focus, for example.