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Weaving CREATE into the Curriculum

Aligning curriculum with goals - Bridget Longoria

The CREATE curriculum is currently being aligned to fit the four principles of our project:

1) Promoting early childhood educators' understanding of the cultural knowledge and skills – the funds of knowledge – within diverse cultural communities;

2) Using literature as a base for children’s understanding of themselves and others;

3) Involving families in literacy education for children and for teachers; and

4) Providing prospective and practicing teachers and teacher educators with opportunities to work and reflect together in community and school settings.

We began the process of curriculum re-visioning by thinking through the sequence of courses, the goals for each semester, and the relationship of courses to field experiences, especially the experience traditionally called “student teaching.” Then, each semester, the faculty work to introduce, develop, apply, extend and deepen these principles across courses in a semester and across semesters.

In addition, the faculty have been developing assignments that engage pre-service teachers in the CREATE principles and allow them to demonstrate their understanding of them. For example with the first principle, the pre-service teachers interview and interact with families in order to explore families’ funds of knowledge. Ideally, they are partnered with the same family for two years. As a result, the pre-service teachers can better plan lessons for the children they teach. In addition, in an introductory course as the pre-service teachers, study language acquisition theories, they plan language experiences for children that are intentional and meaningful. Exhibiting the knowledge they have acquired through coursework and can demonstrate in their work with children.

Another alignment of curriculum and the CREATE principles involved thinking of “fieldwork” as more than classroom experiences. For two years through a variety of curriculum activities in different courses, pre-service teachers explore the school community and visit children’s homes as well as work in birth through age 8 educational settings. As a result, each semester includes field experiences with parents and in classrooms, schools and the community as well as courses. Changing the field experiences has allowed more connections to be made between course connect and the reality of working with children and families, thus putting theory into practice.

Our next steps is a careful curriculum mapping in order to make sure we are addressing the CREATE principles and NAEYC and state standards. In addition, we are developing performance based benchmark assignments to assess the pre-service teachers throughout the program.

Feb 02, 2012 07:43 PM | Comments (0)
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