The curriculum provides a guide for educators and learners within the education system. Curriculum design refers to the nature and preparation of the foundations into a practical shape. It comprises the formulation of goals, aims, and objectives of curricular, assortment of suitable curriculum content, and knowledge. In fact, it is the organization of curriculum components into a meaningful and coherent plan. The psychological, philosophical, historical, and sociological alignment of the planner strategizes the designing process (Bean, 2004). The notion of this paper is to explore the need for curriculum design and development, and the related elements in early childhood education. The assessment of the curriculum seeks to expound on its organization, identify specific teaching strategies used, and their influence on the diverse population.
The developers plan a curriculum that assists the teachers and students to encounter the anticipated knowledge products. The curriculum has four basic components, which interrelate with each other. Planning phase: goals, aims, and objectives include the mission, vision, and philosophy statements that indicate strategies put in place by the planners (Bean, 2004). Aims are the over-all report that provide steering motivation of the future products of education. They reflect value judgment and furnish educators with dimensions that assist in the different environment. Goals are a specific account of informative purpose, which can be institutional or curriculum. Objectives are specific reports of learning that generates either specific or general results (Gestwicki, 2011). In an education settings curriculum goals, aims, and objectives defines the direction of the education program. The aims occur in three elements such as elementary, secondary, and tertiary and can be psychomotor, affective or cognitive.
Curriculum content comprises the information required by students. The subject matter accounts for the environment in which the course application takes place, the necessities by teachers and learners, and the educational principles (Oliva, 2001).It has two dimensions, the learner-centered view, and subject-centered view. Educators use the principles of articulation, balance, and sequence when organizing learning contents. The developers use certain criteria in the selection of the content including, validity, utility, significance, self-sufficiency, and feasibility. For instance reduced teaching and learning effort with effective results. When the induction of the curriculum occurs at the appropriate time with the adequate resource, learners obtain meaningful information for present and future use (Brown, 1988). The curriculum is crucial to learners based on experience, maturity, educational and social value since it contributes to the achievement of objectives of the program.
Curriculum experience is the third component of the design, which refers to the implementation of instructional plans and techniques. According to Oliva (2001), the involvement refers to the postponement of the ordinary activities for taking the directed instructional circumstances. They assist in organizing the goals and subject matter to generate the aspired results. Educational strategies such as inquiry approach, time-tested method, and constructivist transform the transcribed program to training (Brown, 1988). Instructive activities like computer program interactions, field trips, and conducting experiments also form part of the curriculum (Gestwicki, 2011). Teachers must abide by the curriculum guide when choosing a syllabus in spite of the techniques applied. The criteria take into consideration the method quality, effectiveness, nature of learning experience, flexible, and relevance. Learning program encompasses the whole scope of formative deed taking place at school and undirected practice, which leads to a purposeful formation of mature society members.
Finally, curriculum evaluation as an element of an effective program identifies the effectiveness, quality, processes, and the outcomes of the curriculum. Gestwicki (2011) defines assessment as a process of evaluating the progress towards achieving the educational objectives by the instruction and program of the curriculum. Summative evaluation gives a summary of the finding on the quality of a syllabus, usually at the end of the course. While formative evaluation that provide the designer with evidence for the on-going modifications during the program. The determinative assessment takes place throughout the planning and implementation stage of the program (Oliva, 2001). It helps classify achievements by students to make judgments about the value of the education process. The objectives and goals of a definite lesson should be clear for efficient evaluation.
The relevant teaching strategies for early childhood education include goal setting, cooperative learning structure, and assessment for learning. Setting goals in early stages requires very simple technique including two-way conversation and anchor charts to involve children in the entire process. They become encouraged and motivated to take the possession of their wisdom. Provision of frequent feedback helps children to reach their goals. Cooperative learning involves student-centered approach, which stimulates active communication among children as it allows for group discussion (Bean, 2004). Formative assessment strategy collects satisfactory information for modifying directives to meet students’ necessities (Oliva, 2001).
The application of the teaching policies is relevant to the varied population because learning is a continuous process. They provide a chance for students to relate lessons obtained from classroom to real-life situations. The instructional plan engages students in active discussion about problems they encounter in practical occasions thus inspiring critical thinking and varied perspectives (Gestwicki, 2011). A group of individual can develop studying communities where exchanges of ideas and items occur, hence gets motivated to combine their effort to achieve common goals. Syllabus evaluation criteria for individual and group work helps provide instant learning feedback.
Bean, R.M. (2004). Promoting effective literacy instruction: The challenge for literacy coaches. The California Reader
Brown, T. J. (1988). High impact teaching: Strategies for educating minority youth. Lanham: Univ. Press of America.
Gestwicki, C. (2011). Developmentally appropriate practice: Curriculum and development in early education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Oliva, P. (2001). Developing the curriculum. New York: Longman.