Curriculum Design for Early Childhood Programs

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ECE 255

       Course Name: Curriculum Design for Early Childhood Programs

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

ECE 102, ECE 104, ECE 106, ECE 125, all with a minimum grade of C, or consent of department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course focuses on relationship among developmental theory, philosophy, and practice.  Content includes analysis of wide range of early childhood curriculum models.  Emphasis on teacher’s role in planning and creating appropriate learning environments of young children.  Students will write a personal philosophy of education.

IV.   Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of the course, students who satisfactorily complete all work will be able to:

  1. Understand the role of developmentally appropriate, anti-bias programming for individuals and groups of young children, based on developmental needs and interests.
  2. Demonstrate the relationship among principles of child development, developmentally appropriate curriculum, and a philosophy of education.
  3. Develop appropriate short and long-term goals.
  4. Plan a developmentally appropriate, anti-bias project for young children that provides for emerging curriculum based on children’s developmental needs and interests.
  5. Investigate individual differences and learning styles in children and adults.
  6. Demonstrate an understanding of the teacher’s role and responsibilities in implementing developmentally appropriate curriculum.

In addition to the objectives listed above, this course also meets the following Illinois Professional Teaching Standards and National Association for the Education of Young Children Teaching Standards.

IPTS Standards

STANDARD 1 – Teaching Diverse Students – The competent teacher understands the diverse characteristics and abilities of each student and how individuals develop and learn within the context of their social, economic, cultural, linguistic, and academic experiences. The teacher uses these experiences to create instructional opportunities that maximize student learning.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
1B) understands how each student constructs knowledge, acquires skills, and develops effective and efficient critical thinking and problem-solving capabilities.
1C) understands how teaching and student learning are influenced by development (physical, social and emotional, cognitive, linguistic), past experiences, talents, prior knowledge, economic circumstances and diversity within the community;
1E) understands the impact of linguistic and cultural diversity on learning and communication;
1F) understands his or her personal perspectives and biases and their effects on one’s teaching;

STANDARD 2 – Content Area and Pedagogical Knowledge – The competent teacher has an in-depth understanding of content area knowledge that includes central concepts, methods, structures of the disciplines, and content area literacy. The teacher creates meaningful learning experiences for each student based upon interactions among content area and pedagogical knowledge, and evidence-based practice.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
2A) understands theories and philosophies of learning and human development as they relate to the range of students in the classroom;
2B) understands major concepts, assumptions, debates, and principles; processes of inquiry; and theories that are central to the disciplines;
2C) understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning (e.g. critical and creative thinking, problem-structuring and problem-solving, invention, memorization, and recall) and ensures attention to these learning processes so that students can master content standards;
2D) understands the relationship of knowledge within the disciplines to other content areas and to life applications;
2E) understands how diverse student characteristics and abilities affect processes of inquiry and influence patterns of learning;
2F) knows how to access the tools and knowledge related to latest findings (e.g. research, practice, methodologies) and technologies in the disciplines.

STANDARD 3 – Planning for Differentiated Instruction – The competent teacher plans and designs instruction based on content area knowledge, diverse student characteristics, student performance data, curriculum goals, and the community context. The teacher plans for ongoing student growth and achievement.

Knowledge indicators – The competent teacher:
3B) understands how to develop short- and long-range plans, including transition plans, consistent with curriculum goals, student diversity, and learning theory;
3D) understands when and how to adjust plans based on outcome data, as well as student needs, goals, and responses.

STANDARD 5 – Instructional Delivery – The competent teacher differentiates instruction by using a variety of strategies that support critical and creative thinking, problem-solving, and continuous growth and learning. This teacher understands that the classroom is a dynamic environment requiring ongoing modification of instruction to enhance learning for each student.

Knowledge indicator – The competent teacher:
5A) understands the cognitive processes associated with various kinds of learning.
5B) understands principles and techniques, along with advantages and limitations, associated with a wide range of evidence-based instructional practices;
5C) knows how to implement effective differentiated instruction through the use of a wide variety of materials, technologies, and resources;
5D) understands disciplinary and interdisciplinary instructional approaches and how they relate to life and career experiences;
5E) knows techniques for modifying instructional methods, materials, and the environment to facilitate learning for students with divers learning characteristics;
5F) knows strategies to maximize student attentiveness and engagement;
5G) knows how to evaluate and use student performance data to adjust instruction while teaching.
5H) understands when and how to adapt or modify instruction based on outcome data, as well as student needs, goals, and responses.

STANDARD 7 – Assessment – The competent teacher understands and uses appropriate formative and summative assessment for determining student needs, monitoring student progress, measuring student growth, and evaluating student outcomes. The teacher makes decisions driven by data about curricular and instructional effectiveness and adjusts practices to meet the needs of each student.

Knowledge indicators – the competent teacher:
7A) understands the purposes, characteristics, and limitations of different types of assessments, including standardized assessments, universal screening, curriculum-based assessment, and progress monitoring tools;
7B) understands that assessment is a means of evaluating how students learn and what they know and are able to do in order to meet the Illinois Learning Standards.
7E) understands how to select, construct, and use assessment strategies and instruments for diagnosis and evaluation of learning and instruction;
7F) knows research-based assessment strategies appropriate for each student.

STANDARD 8 – Collaborative Relationships – The competent teacher builds and maintains collaborative relationships to foster cognitive, linguistic, physical, and social and emotional development. This teacher works as a team member with professional colleagues, students, parents or guardians, and community members.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
8A) understands school as organization with the larger community context;
8B) understands the collaborative process and the skills necessary to initiate and carry out that process.
8G) understands the various models of co-teaching and the procedures for implementing them across the curriculum.

STANDARD 9 – Professionalism, Leadership, and Advocacy – The competent teacher is an ethical and reflective practitioner who exhibits professionalism; provides leadership in the learning community; and advocates for students, parents or guardians, and the profession.

Knowledge Indicators – The competent teacher:
9A) evaluates best practices and research-based materials against benchmarks within the disciplines;
9E) is cognizant of his or her emerging and developed leadership skills and the applicability of those skills within a variety of learning communities;
9H) understands the importance of modeling appropriate dispositions in the classroom.

NAEYC Standards

STANDARD 1. Promoting Child Development and Learning
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs are grounded in a child development knowledge base. They use their understanding of young children’s characteristics and needs, and of multiple interacting influences on children’s development and learning, to create environments that are healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging for each child.

Key elements of STANDARD 1
1A) Knowing and understanding young children’s characteristics and needs, from birth through age 8
1B) Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on early development and learning
1C) Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments for young children.

STANDARD 3. Observing, Documenting, and Assessing to Support Young Children and Families
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that child observation, documentation, and other forms of assessment are central to the practice of all early childhood professionals. They know about and understand the goals, benefits and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence the development of every child.

Key elements of STANDARD 3
3A) Understanding the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment – including its use in development of appropriate goals, curriculum, and teaching strategies for young children.
3B) Knowing about and using observation, documentation, and other appropriate assessment tools and approaches, including the use of technology in documentation, assessment and data collection
3C) Understanding and practicing responsible assessment to promote positive outcomes for each child, including the use of assistive technology for children with disabilities

STANDARD 4. Using Developmentally Effective Approaches
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs understand that teaching and learning with young children is a complex enterprise, and its details vary depending on children’s ages, characteristics, and the settings within which teaching and learning occur. They understand and use positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation for their work with young children and families. Candidates know, understand, and use a wide array of developmentally appropriate approaches, instructional strategies, and tools to connect with children and families and positively influence each child’s development and learning.

Key elements of STANDARD 4
4A) Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with young children
4B) Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education, including appropriate uses of technology
4C) Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches
4D) Reflecting on own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child.

STANDARD 5 – Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaning Curriculum
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs use their knowledge of academic disciplines to design, implement, and evaluate experiences that promote positive development and learning for each and every young child. Candidates understand the importance of developmental domains and academic (or content) disciplines in early childhood curriculum. They know the essential concepts, inquiry tools, and structure of content areas, including academic subjects, and can identify resources to deepen their understanding. Candidates use their own knowledge and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curriculum that promotes comprehensive developmental and learning outcomes for every young child.

Key elements of STANDARD 5
5A) Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines: language and literacy; the arts – music, creative movement, dance, drama, visual arts; mathematics; science, physical activity, physical education, health and safety; and social studies.
5B) Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines
5C) Using own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally meaningful and challenging curriculum for each child.

STANDARD 6. Becoming a Professional
Candidates prepared in early childhood degree programs identify and conduct themselves as members or the early childhood profession. They know and use ethical guidelines and other professional standards related to early childhood practice. They are continuous, collaborative learners who demonstrate knowledgeable, reflective and critical perspectives on their work, making informed decisions that integrate knowledge from a variety of sources. They are informed advocates for sound educational practices and policies.

Key elements of STANDARD 6
6C) Engaging in continuous, collaborative learning to inform practice; using technology effectively with young children, with peers, and as a professional resource
6D) Integrating knowledgeable, reflective, and critical perspectives on early education.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
www.oakton.edu/studentlife/student-handbook.pdf

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Development of Educational Philosophy
    1. Historical Theories and Contemporary Issues that Influence Ideas in Early Education
    2. Tenets of Philosophy
  2. Qualities of the Early Education Teacher
    1. Adults in the School Setting
    2. Role of the Teacher
    3. Structure of Responsibility
    4. Professional Training
    5. Basic Teaching Skills
  3. Development of Age Appropriate Programs for the Pre-School Child
    1. Conditions that Facilitate Learning
    2. Process of Learning
      1. Goals
      2. Objectives
      3. Plans
    3. Play as a Mode for Learning
    4. Impact of National and Local Agency Standards
      1. NAEYC Standards
      2. State of Illinois Licensing Standards
    5. Parental Expectations
  4. The Challenge of Evaluation
    1. Basic Principles of Evaluation
    2. Ways of Observing Children
    3. Individualization
    4. Assessment Tools
  5. Classroom Management
    1. Discipline
    2. Setting the Limits
      1. Self-Control
      2. Acceptable Behavior
    3. Feelings-Emotions
    4. Decisions-Responsibility
  6. Home-School Relations
    1. Goals in Working with Parents
    2. Parent Involvement

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Instructional methods will include study guides, viewing and discussing appropriate films to aid the students’ understanding of specific topics.  Handouts stemming from current research will supplement class lectures and discussion.  An additional reading list of current books and articles relating to course study will be provided.  Guest speakers will be considered when available and practical.  Lecture and group discussion will emphasize course goals and objective


Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught face-to-face, hybrid, or on line course.

Attendance and active class participation is required.  Students will be responsible for any and all required reading of handouts and viewing films.

Written assignment must be typed or printed in ink.  College level work is required and correct spelling, grammar, neatness is expected.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Students will be evaluated using a point system.  Students’ performance on course assignments, exams, and written observations will all be taken in account in grading.

XI.   Other Course Information

The instructor will provide each class with additional information as to attendance, policies, and support systems.

Plagiarism/Cheating policies are covered under the Academic Dishonesty Section of the current catalog.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.