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Tuesday, 01 May 2012 08:21

notes: curriuclum,disabilities

Written by David Sheppard
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Chapter 10 – The Curriculum

 Curriculum is the planned learning experience

Based on assessment student’s developmental level  learning standard and the student’s interests

Should always have a learning component to it referred to as the OBJECTIVE: What do you want children to gain from the activity- ( (Eg.: Children will have the opportunity to develop fine-motor skills as they use scissors to cut strips of tissue paper)

*The Objective must be measureable

Curriculum acitivities/experiences are put into a lesson plan format, which provides your: Objective- Your method/ procedure ( how) and your material

We link different learning experiences around a central topic or theme- and utilize different curriculum areas ( art, science, math, literature/ language, music/ movement, cooking)

1.  Through art experiences, children:

a. feel good about themselves.

b.   develop ability to observe and respond sensitively.

c.   develop creativity, art, music, and movement skills.

d.   develop beginning understanding of the arts disciplines.

e.   gain appreciation of music, art, dance of their own and other cultures.

f.    construct understanding and communicate what they know.

g.   develop a way to express feelings and ideas.

2.  Inquiry processes for young children:

     a. exploring: using the senses to observe, investigate, and manipulate.

b. identifying: naming and describing what is experienced.

c. classifying: grouping objects or experiences by their common characteristics.

d. comparing and contrasting: observing similarities and differences between objects or experiences.

e. hypothesizing: using the data from experiences to make guesses (hypotheses) about what might happen.

f. generalizing: applying previous experience to new events.

3.  Some examples of how a teacher might help children develop literacy skills and concepts of print are:

a.    Read to children frequently for enjoyment.

b.   Bring children’s attention to environmental print such as store signs and logos.

c.    Comment on print by pointing out words,  punctuation, and parts of a book.

d.   Orient books the wrong way and talk about why it can’t be read like that.

e.    Label things in the classroom.

f.      Post classroom signs such as (The Block Area) or (Saving Jonah’s Lego building).

g.   Encourage children to write or dictate stories for the classroom library.

h.   Provide time and acceptance of “free” writing, including scribbles and pretend writing.

i.      Keep favorite books in the classroom and reread them.

j.      Bring children’s attention to the print while reading.

k.   Let children turn pages when reading to individuals.

l.      Write and read purposefully in front of the children.

m.                                                                                  Expose children to an array of picture book genres.

(See section on Literacy)

Math and Science in ECE needs to be linked to real-world and experiences

Categorizing, sorting, making patterns,measuring, working with shapes all work to develop basic math understanding

Playing in the sand and water, making lemon aid, blowing bubbles, - all these are ways providing an understanding of principles of science.

4.     Lilian Katz’s standards of experience for young children include:

     a.    intellectual engagement.

     b.    absorbing and challenging activities.

    c.     taking initiative and accepting responsibility.

    d.    satisfaction of overcoming obstacles and solving problems

    e.    applying literacy and numeracy skills in purposeful ways.

Chapter 11 – Curriculum Planning

1.  Planning for age groups changes as children progress from infancy and toddlerhood to the preschool years, and into the primary school years.

·      Infants and Toddlers. When planning for infants and toddlers, broad goals are needed.

·      The curriculum is dominated by attending to basic needs, routines, and warm and nurturing relationships.

·       The learning of new skills and concepts is embedded in children’s spontaneous interests, and activities are individualized for particular children.

·      Planning for infants and toddlers is learner-centered, with few preplanned activities and large blocks of time to explore in a planned environment. All of the planned activities emerge from observations of children’s interests.


·      Preschoolers. Curriculum planning can be more elaborate for preschoolers. Planning takes into account their need to learn through active exploration and hands-on experiences as well as preschoolers’ emerging language and social skills. At this point, a balance of learner-centered planning and integrated or thematic planning is needed. Children can benefit from planned learning experiences based on carefully chosen topics to supplement the spontaneous play that emerges in a well-designed environment.

·      The topics of study must be easily integrated into many subject areas and must be something that can be explored over a length of time.

·      Integrated planning reflects children’s abilities to learn about a topic holistically and through many modes of learning.

·      Primary-Age Children( Elementary age). During the primary years, the curriculum begins to evolve into more subject-related, project-oriented, and structured planning. Primary-age children still need hands-on and active experiences, but are growing in their ability to think abstractly and represent their ideas symbolically. They learn best from a combination of hands-on/active experiences and opportunities to represent what they have learned.

  Small group activities

·      are opportunities to meet with a small group of children (for toddlers, 2-4 children; preschoolers between 5-10 children; and kindergartners and primary-age children, up to 8-12 children).

·      They are effective learning opportunities when teachers want to present concepts, facilitate the exchange of ideas between children, and have meaningful personal contact with individual children.

·      Small groups reduce the amount of time children need to wait and create a situation where children can manipulate materials and be actively involved in their learning.

·      Teachers use small groups for discussions, dramatizing stories, cooking, movement, learning trips, and language and literacy experiences.

Large group activities:  are teacher-led activities that involve the whole class.

·      They are generally more challenging to manage and the least effective kind of activity for helping children construct new knowledge.

They are valuable experiences for building a sense of community. In general, appropriate large group activities provide an opportunity for all the children to be involved in an activity (e.g. singing or creative movement).

 Large groups are inappropriate when they require individual responses (e.g. show and tell) or taking turns (e.g. cooking).

As children grow, the use of large groups increases. For instance, in primary grades, large groups can play games together or a teacher may have a community meeting to resolve a problem in the classroom.

3.     When selecting a topic for an integrated curriculum, a teacher needs to consider  

         the following.

·      Interesting, he topic needs to be relevant reflect the interests of the children, teachers, and families involved.

·      Accessible so the real and frequent hands-on activities are possible

·      Important, is the topic worth knowing about when you are a young child?

·      Right size, the topic should not be too big and complex and not so small as to be trivial.

4. At the beginning of an integrated curriculum study, the teacher needs to plan activities that will generate interest and awareness of the topic.

The best kinds of activities for this point in the topic would include many “hands-on” experiences with real examples of what will be studied and supporting books that expose children to the topic.(  For instance, if the topic is bugs, a terrarium with caterpillars or a bug hunt in the playground would spark interest and conversation. Learning trips are also an excellent way to stimulate interest in children.

If the group is older preschoolers or primary-age children, it is also helpful to do a K/W/L (or Know, Want to learn, Learned) chart about the topic so the teacher can gauge what the children already know and find out what children are interested in finding out.


    As the integrated curriculum unfolds, teachers need to include activities that incorporate children’s emerging interests as well as allow opportunities for children to represent what they are learning using a variety of media (art, dramatic play, movement, blocks, music, book making,) Children will be actively constructing knowledge of the topic as well as demonstrating new understandings.


    Conversation becomes an important way to facilitate children’s emerging connections as they explore and symbolize what they have learned.

Activities can also be planned to take advantage of fortuitous events (e.g. a baby bird falling out of a tree) or to follow the interests of the children. If the children are very interested in finding out about what birds eat, they might try an experiment at the bird feeder or invite a zookeeper in to share information about this topic.

    At the close of an integrated study, it is important to help children and families review the unit by sharing what was accomplished.

An art or project display can show the many ways children’s ideas were represented. Teachers of older children may also complete their KWL chart, gathering information from the children on what they learned over the course of the study.

 The children also may contribute to a class book on the topic.

    Chapter 12 – Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

n Put the Child First:“Children with Disabilities”

Not “Disabled Children

n Orthopedic Impairments

n Sensory Impairments

n Communication Disorders

n Cognitive Delays

n Learning Disabilities

n Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

n Emotional/Behavioral Disorders

n Autism Spectrum Disorder

n Preschool and Elementary Age Children best served in regular education classroom = Inclusion

n Inclusion is best for children

It is the law

n  IEP= Individualized Education Plan

n Developed by team of teacher, family member, and relevant experts

n Required


The seven pieces of information important to find out about a child with special needs include:

     -How the child reacts to sensations

     -How the child processes information

     -How the child approaches problems, makes plans, and takes action

     -The child’s style of emotional, social, and intellectual functioning

     -How the child communicates with others

     -How the child typically interacts with peers and adults

     -What the family is like and their typical routines


Suggestions for including a child with disabilities or other special needs include:

     -learning about the child from his or her family,

-consulting other professionals working with the child such as the child’s pediatrician, therapists, and former teachers

-maintaining communication with family and specialists working with the child

-finding out what kinds of support services will be available

-brainstorming with experts and consultants on how best to support child’s


-observing and getting to know the child without reaching early judgments

-ask, “How can I make classroom routines and activities relevant to this child and also meet the needs of other children”?

-be patient

-be flexible and open to learning new things about children and yourself

     The types of disabilities mentioned in the text include:

a.  orthopedic impairments

b.  visual impairments

c.   hearing impairments

d.  communication disorders

e.   cognitive delays

f.    learning disabilities

g.  attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

h.  emotional or behavioral disorders

i.     autism

 (See section on Characteristics and Strategies for Working with Young Children with Disabilities)

     When working with the parents of a child who might have special needs, teachers must keep in mind that the family of a child with special needs will face some difficult challenges and that care must be taken when sharing concerns with them.  


·      Collect observational data and research

·      community resources that may be helpful before approaching the family.

·      Simply and as openly as possible, make an appointment to meet without alarming the family.

·      Begin meetings with a positive note and then share the observations that cause your concerns.

·      Work with the family to clarify the problem and to seek assistance.

·      Allow the family time to think over what is shared if they need time to absorb the information.

·      If families react defensively, seek other ways to get support and help while continuing to work with the family.

·      Be prepared to support parents through a range of emotional responses and communicate acceptance for the child and family.

empathize with the many challenges in parenting a child with a special need. Families must accept that their child has a disability, find help, provide special care, and interact with a variety of professionals.

(See section on Working with Families of Children with Disabilities)