In early 2011, the Knowledge Universe Education team began a huge undertaking – revising and refreshing KU’s proprietary Early Foundations® core curriculum programs for infants through prekindergartners. Over the past four-and-a-half years, the team worked tirelessly to fulfill a commitment to the more than 169,000 children KU serves every day: to provide them with a strong foundation for success in school and beyond. With the most recent addition of the Preschool and Prekindergarten Summer Program manuals, the “Curriculum Refresh” project is at last complete.
KU’s Early Foundations curriculum programs focus on the skills and behaviors (early learning standards) young children should be exposed in order to be prepared for kindergarten and on into their elementary school years. These skills and behaviors are grouped into six developmental domains: creative expression; cognitive development; executive function; language and literacy development; physical development and wellness; and social and emotional development. The programs include a balanced mix of whole-group activities and small-group activities, as well as child-directed activities in learning centers.
Part of the initial revision work involved reviewing early learning standards from several states, such as California, Florida, Maryland, New York, and North Carolina, in order to create the scope and sequences of standards that would form the foundation of all of the programs. The scope and sequences were then reviewed by national experts in the field of early childhood education, including Sue Bredekamp, Ph.D., Carol Copple, Ph. D., and Philip Zelazo, Ph. D.
“In addition, the new curriculum programs incorporate feedback from our own KU teachers and families, resulting in programs and activities that not only align with state early learning and K-12 standards, but also take into account what teachers told us they wanted to see in the programs, and what families told us they wanted their children to experience on a daily basis in our centers,” said Meg Davis, KU’s manager of curriculum development.
The new curriculum manuals feature a streamlined, easy-to-use format that guides beginning teachers through each activity while also providing more experienced teachers with the flexibility to expand on the activities and tailor them to meet each child’s unique interests and needs.
“As each new program rolled out into the field, we continued to hear positive responses from teachers and families alike,” said Meg. “Families appreciated the new components such as Spanish vocabulary and Take It Outdoors, and teachers expressed pride in the beautiful world-class program manuals, and were genuinely excited to bring each activity to life for the children in their classrooms.”