Early Childhood Curricula

The word curriculum as used in early childhood development refers to a philosophy or the knowledge and skills that a child should acquire during the learning process as well as the plans for experiences while learning (Wood and Hedges, 2016). Different types of categories of theories have been set up and discovered for the sole purpose of studying the development of a child: development theories, socio-cultural theories, socio-behaviourist theories, critical theories and post-structuralist theories (Gischlar and Vesay, 2018).

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The high scope curricula US is based on the development of a child and research. The curriculum is based on the works of Jean Piaget. Jean Piaget came up with a theory of how children and youth gradually have the ability to think logically and scientifically. Piaget in his view saw that learning followed by a combination of assimilation and accommodation; contribute greatly to a child’s growth. The core principle of the theory of Piaget is that children develop by acting like little scientists or people with high intelligent and also imitating them. Children do lots of exploration of the world they live and therefore understand people, objects, and ideas. The aim of this curriculum is to provide the children with a strong academic base while promoting individuality, decision making, creativity and problem solving skills. Teachers in this curriculum will also benefit in that they will be able to come up with a daily routine that help strengthen the children’s skills. Teachers will also focus on the interests of a child by putting more emphasis on the activities and lessons.

The Reggio Emilla approach of Italy was founded by Malaguzzi shortly after the end of World War two when many citizens of Italy needed a new form of education for their children. Failure of the past education curriculum contributed to the need to adopt the Malaguzzi’s approach. Malaguzzi understood that young children are people or individuals who are independent and have the capability of doing whatever they want at any particular time. Malaguzzi believed that all children are specially gifted and resourceful. Therefore he included those beliefs into his teaching methodologies. The approach has different elements in that children are driven by their learning ambitions, teachers guide the children through every hurdle and obstacle present in the learning process,a child’s language is his main point of communication and children learn about themselves by interacting with other children. Moreover playing and learning go hand in hand. The main aim of this approach is to teach children to use symbolic language such as painting, drama and sculpting in their everyday life. In addition this curriculum will help teachers look at the capabilities of children rather than focusing on their weaknesses and to break down the image of child incompetency.

TeWhariki childhood education curriculum in New Zealand is based on children who have the ability to learn and are confident as they learn. The children should be able to communicate and their state of mind, body and soul should be at its peak. The children also should understand that through their learning they are making a positive contribution to the growth of the society. At the core of this curriculum lies the theory and studies of Lev Vygotsky (“In play, a child is always above his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play, it is as if he were a head taller than himself”). The theory is that childhood development is as a result of the interactions between the child and the general environment. Interactions of a child can be with parents, teachers, classmates, family members and the society. Children can also interact with significant objects such as books, toys, balls and cultural practices in the school, home or in the field. Lev Vygotsky claimed that development of a child was triggered by the child’s immediate interactions but as the learning became internalized, there was a shift to more individualistic attitudes. In short children are like newbie’s who learn from and alongside those with wider experience and understood their needs and capabilities. The focus of this approach is enable diversification in early childhood services and to combine the curriculum differences shaped by varying cultural perspectives. The curriculum also aims to incorporate spirits of feminism, children’s rights, independence and educational theories.

The Montessori theory is about providing a ready environment that is rich in resources for the growth and development of a child. The environment should be tidy, pleasing and simple to relate where each thing exists for the sole purpose of helping the child to grow. The environment is related to the child’s size and height and it has low racks, tables and chairs where children individually sit or sit in groups for their benefit. Montessori’s theory was that every educator should follow and guide the child and recognize the needs of the child as he develops through each stage and age. The teacher should also strive to construct a good environment for the development of the child. Swedish curriculum is manly based on providing the child with a perfect environment to grow and develop in order to achieve maximum potentials of success. The aim of using this theory in the Swedish curricula is to gain insight and knowledge of the preschool as a learning surrounding by studying variations in preschool surroundings in relation to a child’s knowledge in different fields such as language and communication and early mathematics.

Culture greatly affects how a person sees and perceives education and a society’s culture determines how that person will be educated. Culture consist values and beliefs that influence practices. Therefore pupils and students will engage in education that relates to their cultural identity and perspectives. As a result, learners can relate to their own lives as they use the knowledge acquired from education.

Historic curricula have proven to be a foundation on the early childhood education and development. Current curricula have been supported by the historic curricula since they have been based on them. Emergent curricula focus on being completely responsive to children’s interests and create valuable experiences. Emergent curricula are a result of the shortcomings of the historic and current curricula and therefore there exists need to come up with new curricula.



Wood, E. and Hedges, H., 2016. Curriculum in early childhood education: Critical questions about content, coherence, and control. The curriculum journal, 27(3), pp.387-405.

Gischlar, K.L. and Vesay, J.P., 2018. Literacy curricula and assessment: A survey of early childhood educators in two states. Reading Improvement, 55(3), pp.106-117.