Posted on 08/29/2012 at 08:47 AM by Global Reach
Many preschools in Iowa have been feeling the nudge to adopt research-based curriculum, so Northwest Area Education Agency has been offering curriculum and assessment training and coaching in The Creative Curriculum approach that was founded by Teaching Strategies®. The Creative Curriculum framework is broad and is based on theory and research. It has five areas of focus: (1) how children develop and learn, (2) the learning environment, (3) what children learn, (4) caring and teaching and (5) partnering with families. Setting up interest centers and planning around the GOLD assessment system are at the heart of the curriculum.
Though many preschools have worked hard at implementing this curriculum and assessment, it is difficult because it involves so much while time and resources are limiting. There was need to help teachers in implementing the curriculum as it was intended, in order that they might provide the kinds of experiences that enable children to thrive and families to feel involved and valued for their role in their children’s learning. That’s why Teaching Strategies came up with The Creative Curriculum System.
We must understand that a program can implement The Creative Curriculum without purchasing the rather expensive Creative Curriculum System. By following the guidance provided by The Creative Curriculum for Preschool 5-volume set, the Teaching Strategies GOLD assessment toolkit and Study Starters teachers can get to where they are implementing The Creative Curriculum with fidelity, without purchasing the system. However the Creative Curriculum System beautifully ties it all together and gives you step-by-step guidance for implementing the curriculum. The hope is that teachers then will be able to go off on their own truly implementing the curriculum that incorporates topics of study that are based on the interests and needs of the children while planning for children’s progress in the 38 objectives in 10 categories of social-emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, mathematics, science and technology, social studies, the arts and English language acquisition.
The Creative Curriculum System kit includes everything you need to begin use of the curriculum and has materials that will last for an entire preschool year, or longer if you are not an every-day program. Box 1 has The Creative Curriculum for Preschool 5-volume set, 6 Teaching Guides that are your daily teaching plans, a resource organizer for putting together what you need for the day, a guide for using the system, a Getting Started DVD and a children’s eBook collection. Box 2 has Intentional Teaching Cards that guide you through differentiated instruction for large and small group time, 100 Mighty Minutes for meaningful in-between activities, and book discussion cards that give read-aloud guidance. Box 3 has 150 high-quality children’s books that go with the 6 teaching guides that are used throughout the year. The system is available in either English or Spanish and can be viewed at teachingstrategies.com.
The cost of The Creative Curriculum System ($2000+) can be an initial shock for school districts and private preschool providers who may already be struggling to make ends meet, yet want to help teachers implement the curriculum and may really need this help in meeting Iowa’s Quality Preschool Program curriculum standards. Maybe we need to compare this cost to what is spent at other grade levels for curriculum, and maybe we need to do a cost-benefit analysis while thinking that there could very well be enhanced teaching strategies for a lifetime. One of the first preschool teachers within the Northwest AEA to purchase and begin using The Creative Curriculum System stated within the first week of school, “I love the system! For all I’ve learned and the peace of mind, I think I already got my money’s worth.”