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Jen Langer

Curriculum Planning Course Competencies

1. Integrate strategies that support diversity and anti-bias perspectives.
I feel that I do this well. I have many different pictures of ages and abilities and non-
traditional jobs posted around my child care. They are rotated often and many times
children will ask questions about what they see; providing us with learning opportunities.
I had not given much thought to providing anti-bias outdoors before reading the
handout on how to honor diversity. I liked this list because it broke things down by
areas, thus giving me different ways and areas of play to work on. I also liked the article
what if all the children are white. This is where I think using the internet in classrooms
can be wonderful. Showing a video of a non-white child talking and moving and
acting like any other child, shows children even though we look different we are all
people and deserve to be respected as such.

I think I have gotten much better at explaining/teaching color and ethnic differences
to kids over the years. The key is finding something they can relate to. Especially if they
have not experienced it before. For example: We have sheep, a lot of sheep. At a
distance they are all sheep. But when you look at them closer you see differences &
similarities in the color of wool, how much wool is on their heads or legs, the shape of
their faces, and of course good meat quality. The same idea can be used with trucks or
cars or whatever the child is interested in.

2. Examine the critical role of play as it relates to curriculum planning
A child is constantly learning, but the concepts that stay are they concepts they can
hold in their hands. Things they can move and manipulate. Play is how they do this
best. My role as a teacher is to provide a safe environment that allows children to
explore concepts at their own pace. We dont have to sit down and have a math
lesson. I can provide many activities based on the childs interest that work with math
concepts. To know what the children are interested in and their developmental level, I
need to observe them in their natural play. I will learn their interests & questions as well
as where they are developmentally. Then I can plan activities throughout the
environment for children to build their skills.

3. Establish a developmentally appropriate environment.
A developmentally appropriate environment is scaled to the childs level & is
welcoming and comfortable. I.e. child sized furniture, materials are located where a
child see and reach them without asking for help. There are a variety of natural
textures and colors to make it aesthetically pleasing to the eye. There are materials
that can be interchanged to different areas of the room. Ideally many materials are
made to be manipulated by many different age groups; to learn different skills and
often are self-correcting. When children can access materials on their own, it supports
their growth and development. A DAP environment also has many of the childrens
chosen work on display not the pumpkin that everyone colored. But rather their own
unique art works that they chose to display.

4. Integrate developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) into curriculum.
I dont think I could not do this if I tried anymore. Ive been doing it for so long, it is part
of who I am and I how I teach. To be able to do this, first I need to understand child
development. Second I need to understand that all children develop differently and at
their own pace. Third I need to know the individual child and their family (including
temperaments). I think with these 3 basic things you can I have solid base on which to
build a DAP curriculum. I loved learning about Montessori, Reggio & project approach.
I loved seeing how these different models take a childs interest and turned it into a
whole topic of learning. But most of all I loved that I no longer fell that I need to teach
about apples in the fall and chick in the spring, etc. I get to learn along with the
children, which make my job that much more enjoyable

5. Develop activity plans that promote child development and learning.
I think here you need to go back all look at DAP curriculum, because they are
interconnected. You really cannot have one without the other. To plan and develop
activity plans that promote child development and learning you need to know where
the group of children are at developmentally. (You do this through observing them).
Then you need to decide what you want the children to learn. (I.e. how to hold a
scissors, number/color/letter recognition, etc.). Then once you know what it is you want
them to learn you develop activities that do just that. WEMLS is a great resource that
will guide you as to what is DAP and it also included examples of how you could
provide learning opportunities for many age groups.

6. Develop curriculum plans that promote child development and leaning across
all content areas.
The best way I have seen to do this so far is Webbing. This is where you take a
general topic of interest for the children and basically you do mind map WITH the
children to see what they already know and what they want to learn about. In the end
it works kind of like a theme would, only this time it is the childrens chosen theme and it
follows their direction. Some topics of learning can last months or weeks or days or
even an hour. Using your web you can plan math, literacy, sensory, science, nature,
creative art & dramatic play activities and materials. Now not everything your
environment needs to be on the same topic. I think you could easily have 2 or 3 topics
going. Sometimes they overlap and other times they dont. But is all OK because it is
based on the childrens interests. And children learn best when they can play with
things that interest them. This also goes hand in hand with activity planning (#5) and
DAP (#4).

7. Analyze early childhood curriculum models.
Over the course of this class I can defiantly say I have learned to distinguish between
the different models and why they are called models. Before they were just different
types of early childhood environments to me. But now I understand why they are
elevated to the title model. My favorite is a cross between the project approach and
Montessori and then add in multi-ages . All 3 models follow the basic elements of
DAP. While they have a slightly different spin on it, it is still there. The project approach is where I
can see webbing used the most. The topic is chosen by the childrens interest and is followed as
long as the children retain interest. With Montessori teachers give children work to complete,
based on the childs developmental level. Many materials are natural and/or real life objects.
Here the focus is more on the individual child, vs. the group. The Reggio approach is more
focused on art expression as a way to promote learning. In each of these models I would
consider the environment the 3
teacher. That just goes to show how important the
environment really is. I also see the teacher as a facilitator. The person who create
opportunities for learning, without directing the children how to learn it. They ask open-ended
questions and spend a lot of time observing children.