The Creative Curriculum

At the heart of The Creative Curriculum is knowledge of child development theory and careful consideration of the latest research in the field of early childhood education. Used to inform and shape The Creative Curriculum and the guidance offered to teachers, the research base ensures that teachers know not only what and how to teach children but why particular practices are effective. By understanding the theory and research behind how children's knowledge, skills, and behaviors progress over time, teachers are better able to support children's development and learning. The Creative Curriculum highlights the important balance between applying a general knowledge of child development with the particular knowledge a teacher gains by forming a relationship with each child and family.

The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is based on five fundamental principles. They guide practice and help us understand the reasons for intentionally setting up and operating preschool programs in particular ways. These are the principles:

  • Positive interactions and relationships with adults provide a critical foundation for successful learning.
  • Social-emotional competence is a significant factor in school success.
  • Constructive, purposeful play supports essential learning.
  • The physical environment affects the type and quality of learning interactions.
  • Teacher-family partnerships promote development and learning.

The Creative Curriculum identifies the knowledge, skills, and concepts important for preschool children to acquire in each content area: literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology. Below each content area is described:

  • Literacy: vocabulary and language, phonological awareness, letters, words, print, comprehension, books and other texts, and sources of enjoyment
  • Mathematics: numbers; patterns and relationships; geometry and spatial awareness; measurement; and data collection, organization, and representation
  • Science: physical science, life science, and earth and the environment
  • Social Studies: spaces and geography, people and how they live, people and the environment, and people and the past
  • The Arts: dance, music, drama, and the visual arts
  • Technology: awareness of technology, basic operations and concepts, technological tools, and people and technology

Small Group Time

During this time a small-group meets with an adult to experiment with materials and solve problems. Although adults choose a small-group activity to emphasize one or more particular content areas, children are free to use materials in any way they want during this time. The length of small-group varies with the age, interests, and attention span of the children. At the end of the period, children help with cleanup.

Large Group Time

Large-group time builds a sense of community by coming together for movements and music activities, storytelling, and other shared experiences. Children have many opportunities to make choices and play the role of the leader.

Outside Time

Children and adults enjoy vigorous and often noisy play in the fresh air. Without the constraints of four walls, they feel more free to make large movements and experiment with a full range of their voices. Children run, climb, swing, roll, jump, yell, and sing with energy. They experience the wonders of nature, including collecting, gardening, and examining wildlife. During extreme weather or other unsafe conditions, teachers find an alternative indoor location for large motor activity.