E​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​arly childhood programs across the country are faced with a variety of decisions related to packaged early childhood curricula. Some are being required to adopt a packaged curriculum but given choices as to which one it will be. Others are working with companies that develop packaged curricula to improve various aspects. Some are breathing sighs of relief that they are not faced with the challenges of a packaged curriculum and instead are concentrating on improving their approaches to creating meaningful learning experiences within their settings.
However, all leaders and advocates of meaningful learning experiences for young children need to be aware of the prominent role of packaged curricula in many of today’s early childhood settings. Begin by taking time to focus on criteria used to evaluate packaged curricula. Think carefully and deeply about whether, as an advocate for early childhood programs that preserve and promote children’s joy and excitement for learning, there are insights you might provide related to ​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​the use of packaged curricula with young children.
To Prepare for this Discussion:
Review the Head Start Curricula Evaluation Criteria Infographic. Be sure to click on and read the descriptions of each of the criteria listed.
Review the Head Start Preschool Consumer Report webpage. Choose a few of the curriculums to investigate closely to better understand the breadth and depth of this type of evaluation.
Post your response to the following:
Out of the 14 criteria Head Start used to evaluate the curriculums, which 3 or 4 criteria do you believe are the most critical to fostering young children’s healthy development and learning? Explain your rationale.
Imagine you are an early childhood curriculum consultant hired by a local chain of early childhood programs to share your thinking about whether they should adopt a packaged curriculum. What do you advise? If you think a packaged curriculum should not be adopted, explain why. If you think a packaged curriculum should be adopted, which one(s) might you endorse, a​‌‍‍‍‌‍‌‍‍‍‌‌‌‍‌‌‌‌‌‌​nd why?