Early Childhood Curriculum

Four Approaches to Designing Early Childhood Curriculum

By Megan Davenport, Professional Development Specialist

Start here to design early childhood curriculum. This collection of sample unit planning templates reviews four approaches schools take when developing early childhood curriculum.

Sample 1: Reflective Mapping

Nursery programs, Child Care Centers, and Preschools might use this template to document the progression of activities and experiences of the children. The intentional opportunities for materials and connections provide teachers with the tools to effectively build on student experiences. This template allows for reflective or projected mapping.

early childhood curriculum

Sample 2: Thematic

This integrated template allows for thematic teaching. Because early childhood curriculum is often driven by skills more than content, this template allows the theme to be the central framework while extracting and categorizing the learning that happens organically.

early childhood curriculum
curriculum mapping template
Template Examples for Designing Your Curriculum Map

Spark inspiration for next-level curriculum design with curriculum map examples from schools and districts across the world.

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Sample 3: Reggio Emilia

This Reggio Emilia-inspired template supports the process teachers go through when facilitating in this environment– providing for some structure while allowing for flexibility. The classroom environment is an important component of this approach. The topics are emergent and driven by the children.

Sample 4: Project-Based Learning

The Project-based Learning template helps guide teachers through the complex but flexible framework and interactive processes. The project topics are emergent and represent in-depth investigations, therefore the template is reflective in nature. The study may be carried out with an entire class or with small groups of students. The family and community involvement category intentionally tracks how the school is connecting projects to the real world. This template is often used along with other subject area templates where more whole or large group instruction is present.

early childhood curriculum

Explore School Examples

If you’re interested in adding similar categories to your school’s template, reach out to our Support team. And if you’re not (yet!) an Atlas client, learn more about the curriculum mapping platform featured in this blog.

Contributing Author:

Megan Davenport’s passion for education is at the forefront of her work. Megan earned her master’s degree in education from Arizona State University and bachelor’s degrees in sociology and business management from the University of Montana. Thanks to her academic background, Megan takes a well-rounded approach to working with schools and benefits from knowledge of organizational structure as well as change management paired with classroom experience and a love of helping children learn. Megan has consulted with public and independent schools both domestically and internationally and enjoys synthesizing knowledge gained from working with a wide variety of schools to provide training and professional development for educators.

Megan Davenport

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