The Creative Curriculum is a research-based guide for early childhood education that preschool teachers throughout the country use to support the young child's learning and development. While purchasing the actual curriculum is often too pricey for a home-schooling parent, you can set up your own classroom that mimics the Creative Curriculum's type of instruction.
Early Literacy Library
One of the key components of the Creative Curriculum is a heavy integration of literacy-based activities. Even if you don't have the actual curriculum package at home, you can still stock your own early literacy library with books that the Creative Curriculum authors suggest. Teaching Strategies, the company behind the Creative Curriculum products, offers a full list of their recommended books -- by area of study or theme -- on their website. Additionally, the list includes each book's genre and the titles in Spanish for non-native English speakers. Check out some of these books from your local library or purchase them to fill a library-like shelf.
Creating a classroom-like environment means sticking to a schedule just like your child would at school. The Creative Curriculum recommends creating a set schedule that the child can see. The schedule should include both quiet and active activities, provide a minimum of one hour for free choice play time, between two and three out-loud story times and periods for direct early literacy and mathematics instruction. Add pictures to your schedule that symbolize each event in sequence. For example, paste a photo of kids eating next to lunch-time. Although the schedule serves as a basis to keep your child's days consistent -- and will help him to develop crucial sequencing and time-telling skills -- you can also allow for some flexibility depending on what the day brings you. If your child wants to keep painting picture after picture, don't force him to stop and start playing with blocks just because the schedule says so.
The main structure of the Creative Curriculum includes 10 different areas of learning and development. These include social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, math, science and technology, the arts, English-language acquisition and social studies. Create special spaces or centers for the content-based areas. For example, you can create a science center that you stock with plastic bugs, a magnifying glass, magnetic wands and a prism. Areas such as social-emotional and cognitive development don't necessitate a specific center. Instead, you can carry this type of developmental learning into all of the other areas.
Math doesn't stop at writing numbers and science doesn't only mean tackling experiments. The Creative Curriculum encourages teachers to extend each content area into the others. While it's perfectly acceptable to set up different areas or centers in your at-home classroom that focus on specific subjects -- such as a dramatic play center with dress-up clothes or an art area that includes crayons, paints and paper -- you should take the learning through multiple spaces. For example, put science-based props in your dramatic play area -- such as binoculars or mock medical equipment. Look at each activity that you plan, and figure out a way to include other content areas. This may mean asking your child to draw the story that you just read to her or having her make math measurements using cups in the sand table.
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