Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction

Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction​

Our approach to curriculum and instruction in early education is based on a thoughtfully planned evidence-based framework. It honors children as active learners and is consistent with and supports reasonable expectations for young children's development and learning. It is inclusive of those with special needs and is culturally and linguistically responsive. At Oakland Schools, we support teachers and those working with teachers in the learning and implementation of:

  • Comprehensive Curriculum Content
  • Curriculum Approaches
  • Intentional Teaching Strategies
  • Child Assessment
  • Partnering with Families to Support Children's Development
Child Development

Early childhood curriculum and instruction is based on the Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP). This approach to teaching is grounded in the research on child development and early education best practices (see Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality).

Having research based knowledge about the predictable sequences of child growth and development (for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers) is essential when planning meaningful learning experiences for children (see NAEYC's Principles of Child Development and Learning). We promote the implementation of experiences and activities in all areas of development and learning (i.e., social and emotional development; language, literacy, and communication; science and technology) keeping with individual children's levels of functioning and comprehension. This entails supporting children's individual levels of development and providing extensions as they move to the next developmental state - a concept known as scaffolding. For a copy of these resources and reference information, please see the contact us section on this page to request the document. 

  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)
  • Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Prekindergarten
  • Michigan Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Infant and Toddler Programs
  • Principles of Child Development and Learning
  • Social and Emotional Health Guide for Families with Children Birth through Age 8 
HighScope(c) Curriculum

Beginning with the Perry Preschool Study, HighScope(c) revolutionized early childhood education with a new approach to teaching and learning. Research based and child focused the HighScope(c) Curriculum uses a carefully designed process - called "active participatory learning" - to achieve powerful, positive outcomes. As teachers, parents, and educational researchers have discovered, the HighScope(c) Preschool Curriculum not only helps young children excel in language and cognitive learning but also promotes:

  • Independence
  • Curiosity
  • Decision Making
  • Cooperation
  • Persistence
  • Creativity
  • Problem Solving

These are the fundamental skills that help determine success in adult life. For reference information, please click HighScope(c).

Child Screening and Assessment

Ongoing child assessment provides information on children's competencies/abilities over time and across all learning domains. Child assessment is crucial to the improvement of children's wellbeing. A comprehensive, culturally and linguistically sensitive assessment requires:

  • Observing children in their national environment
  • Recording daily anecdotes and other information
  • Using anecdotes as evidence for scoring the assessment
  • Regularly, reviewing data
  • Analyzing data for individual children and classrooms as a whole
  • Using the data

The main purposes of child assessment are:

  • To support learning and development for both individual children and classrooms of children
  • To identify children who may need additional services
  • To Aid in effectively communicating progress or concerns with parents
  • To share information with administrators and other stakeholders about the growth of children in their programs

At Oakland Schools, we primarily provide training and support with the learning and implementation of HighScope's Child Observation Record (COR) Advantage 1.5 assessment (click http://coradvantage.org/). 

Regular developmental screening in the early years ensures that children are on track, and helps identify areas where additional support may be needed. Screening aims to celebrate milestones and identify children who need further evaluation to identify developmental delays.  Early diagnosis and treatment of developmental delays can help give a child the best opportunity to reach his/her full potential. Oakland Schools promotes the use of the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) a parent-completed developmental and social-emotional screening tool (click http://agesandstages.com/)