If curriculum is not developmentally appropriate, understanding cannot be maintained between teachers and students.
Consider the following when creating a developmentally appropriate curriculum:
Stages of child development and learning
Abilities, strengths, and needs
Students are encouraged to express themselves by sharing experiences. This approach facilitates sharing and exploration and helps children develop sensitivity to other cultures and understand how others communicate. The teacher can guide the student interactively rather than lead by control.
A developmentally appropriate curriculum should focus on the following:
Exploration of surroundings through the five senses
Teacher-guided, self-directed hands-on activities
Group and individual activities
Encouraged teacher and peer interaction
Dynamic and passive activities
Continual observation and regular assessments
Through developmentally appropriate curricula, students are able to communicate in their natural cultural patterns. Response times, storytelling, and sharing information in a group are all encouraged at the student’s pace and pattern without constraint.
An inclusive curriculum is designed to focus on a child’s strengths while accommodating all cultures, disabilities, and skill levels, including language. Through active daily life experiences, the curriculum should balance teaching through the dominant classroom culture while incorporating the environment and norms of the minority cultures. This can be done through discussions and activities involving family, photographs, music, cooking, and community.
According to national organizations for early childhood education, an inclusive curriculum is based on learning and developmental principles and focuses on reaching social, emotional, cognitive, and physical goals. Inclusive curriculum incorporates a variety of activities that are ability-guided and achievable. It includes a wide range of needed and interesting learning experiences that encourage engagement and form a building block of knowledge. Curriculum incorporates the diversity between dominate culture and minority culture as well as individual, cultural, and linguistic differences. Inclusive curriculum is adaptable to children or groups of children and encourages social interaction.
An inclusive curriculum promotes positive perceptions of all cultures. Each culture represented in the classroom should be represented in the curriculum, in addition to other cultures that are represented. Active hands-on communication, rather than passive communication, offers greater opportunity for understanding.
Classrooms Should Reflect Diversity
When children first encounter adults and children of other races and cultures, they also begin learning either acceptance and inclusion or stereotyping and prejudice.
To help them feel secure about their own culture and acceptance of others, it is important that classrooms reflect diversity.
Promote diversity through classroom resources by implementing the following ideas:
Hang posters that show diverse races, cultures and degrees of physical disability involved in activities together
Choose dolls of varying skin tones and ethnic features
Choose books that include characters of various cultures interacting positively
Display cultures that may not be included in the student population
Include crayons of many shades of skin tones so that children may create pictures of themselves and their family
Be sure that ethnic and cultural diversity is represented in balance
Children and adults with physical handicaps should be shown engaging in constructive, productive activities with family members
Avoid pictures that depict people as passive or dependent
Printed material should reflect languages spoken by children in the classroom.
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