I am always questioning (and doubting, maybe) whether the activities I am doing with Caden is enough or if they are right for him. A couple of weeks ago I was digging in a closet and found some old documents from an early learning workshop that I took a few years ago. Even though I had felt like I should know these things, I still also felt like I wasn’t doing something right. When I found these old papers I thought, ” duh. this is what I should be doing with Caden.” So I started to review the material and re-familiarize myself with these concepts. What are these concepts? you ask.
These concepts are the Rhode Island Early Learning Standards. They are based on the development of young children and they are the standards that all early childhood educators in the state use to develop appropriate curriculum for preschoolers. These standards were developed in conjunction with the national education reform effort. So if you live in the United States you can check your states’ department of education for similar standards in your state.
As I began to re-read the standards, I started to take notes and develop my own ideas for a well-rounded curriculum. What I consider a well-rounded early childhood curriculum includes nine areas of development. The areas of development that I want to cover with Caden are:
Learning to write, love to read, letters and words, phonics
2. Language Development & Communication
Learning to listen and understand, follow directions, speaking and communicating
3. Physical Health & Development
Learning gross motor and fine motor skills, healthy habits & understanding the five senses
4. Social & Emotional
Learning Self- Awareness, Self- Control, How to interact with others, and Sense of Community
Learning to count, matching, sorting, patterns, shapes, grouping and measuring
Discovering the world around us, Learning about plants, fruits & vegetables, thinking scientifically and doing simple experiments
Creative expression, noticing and appreciating art & music, building with blocks, and playing pretend
Developing through the five senses- touch, taste, sight, sound and smell.
9. Practical Life
Learning life skills, such as pouring, scooping, and cooking.
You will notice that the majority of these areas are based on the Early Learning Standards, but the last two areas are Montessori concepts that I think are important to learn as well. For more information on Montessori concepts, read the What is Montessori? series on Carrots are Orange. Many of these early learning concepts overlap and build upon another. This is a natural way of learning that helps to reinforce learning and development. It seems I have developed and eclectic view of early learning, and I encourage you to add (or subtract) areas of development that are important to you when building your own curriculum.
I also created a planner based on these nine areas of development that I thought would work well for us and that I will share with you. What I developed is a weekly plan consisting of 2 activities per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I am also incorporating a weekly theme (adopted from 1+1+1=1 Tot School Alphabet Printables) and book to be read daily (think Before Five in a Row). This type of schedule allows us the flexibility to get chores and errands done, accommodate the changing toddler moods and have relaxed play periods throughout the day. Each planned activity is assigned a “standard” or area of development. This is an easy way to make sure each area of development is being addressed and helps to focus my planning on activities that I need. Since it is already planned out, all I have to do is fill in the blanks with appropriate activities. (Does this make sense? … Well you’ll see what I mean.)
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
Here is my planner. It’s nothing fancy but it works for me. I’ve also included a “cheat sheet” if you will of the nine areas of development. You can click the image to download. Please let me know if you have any questions or trouble downloading and I will try to help. I may also make a blank planner available so you can customize your areas of development to your liking. I’ve planned my days out according to our extra curricular activities. I’ve also thought about creating a planner in more of a list format for those of you who prefer more flexibility. Please let me know if this is something you are interested in.
As I develop my weekly plans I hope to post my planner all filled in for the week. Don’t hold me to it though, sometimes I’m too busy living life to blog about it. 😉
© 2013 – 2015, Stir The Wonder. All rights reserved.