For directors: What you need to think about when choosing a curriculum

Selecting the right curriculum for your center is an important decision. The curriculum you select becomes the foundation of your center. It guides how your educators teach, what your children learn and creates the reason for families to continue investing in your center. As a director, there are several things you should consider during this decision-making process. 

  1. Developmental appropriateness: Developmentally appropriate curriculum has been shown to improve kindergarten readiness by 60%. Ensure that the curriculum aligns with age, developmental stage, and the individual needs of the children in your care. A curriculum that is too busy or advanced can be overwhelming to young children, while a curriculum that is too simplistic can lead to lack of learning and engagement.
  2. Philosophical alignment: Assess whether the curriculum’s educational philosophy and approach align with the values and goals of your center. A cohesive philosophy connects to your curriculum, fosters consistency and creates a more harmonious learning environment.
  3. Standards-aligned: Does the curriculum meet your state/provincial requirements? Opting for a curriculum provider that is standards-aligned ensures targeted and effective learning experiences that are aligned with recognized benchmarks and in sync with your regional educational expectations.
  4. Curriculum progression: Examine the curriculum’s progression to understand how concepts are introduced and built upon over time. A well-structured curriculum will have a progression that ensures a comprehensive and logical learning journey for young children.
  5. Hands-on and play-based learning: Play is one of the most important ways in which young children explore the world and gain knowledge and skills. Look for curricula that emphasizes hands-on, experiential and child-led learning. Active engagement through play, exploration and experimentation is essential for young children’s cognitive, social and emotional growth. 
  6. Inclusivity and diversity: Evaluate the curriculum’s representation of diverse cultures, backgrounds, abilities and perspectives. An inclusive curriculum promotes tolerance, understanding and a sense of belonging among all children and their families.
  7. Assessment and progress tracking: Consider how the curriculum incorporates assessment methods to track the individual development of each child. An effective approach to assessment allows educators to observe children during activities and  tailor instruction to meet each child’s unique needs.
  8. Teacher flexibility: Determine whether the curriculum allows room for teacher creativity and adaptation. Your educators are experts in their field and know the children in their classrooms the best; they should be given a certain level of agency over how the curriculum works in their unique classroom setting. A curriculum should ultimately serve as a guide, not a rigid script, enabling educators to individualize learning experiences.
  9. Adaptability and flexibility: A curriculum should be built to recognize the individual strengths and learning styles of young children. As no two children are alike, adaptability and flexibility are crucial in a curriculum to ensure that every child receives the support and developmental focus they need.
  10. Professional development: Explore the availability of training and support for your teaching staff with the provider you choose. A curriculum provider that offers comprehensive professional development resources can empower educators to implement the curriculum effectively.
  11. Family engagement: Consider how the curriculum involves and informs parents about their child’s growth and development. Open communication and opportunities for family engagement contribute to a more positive experience for families. 
  1. Resources and materials: Does the curriculum provider include the necessary resources and materials? Receiving materials directly saves educators time, ensures educators have everything they need when they need it, and offers greater consistency across all classrooms. If you choose an option that does not deliver learning materials, be sure to evaluate the availability and cost of necessary materials, resources and tools. A curriculum that provides clear guidelines on materials and offers cost-effective solutions can alleviate potential budget and time constraints.
  2. Long-term use: Think about the sustainability of the chosen curriculum over time. A curriculum provider that connects with its customers, listens to their feedback and evolves to changes in educational best practices ensures its impact and relevance for years to come.
  3. Creation and delivery: Consider how the company creates and delivers the curriculum. Is it being created by early childhood experts who are trained in child development, assessment and best practices? If you are using a physical curriculum, how long does it take for the lesson plans and materials to be delivered? Is it possible to set up a recurring delivery schedule for ease of use?
  4. Recommendations and reviews: Always be sure to review the curriculum’s reviews and implementation case studies so you can see how the curriculum can provide real value to your center.

By carefully weighing these considerations, early childhood directors can confidently select a curriculum that best suits the needs of their center, enhances learning outcomes and nurtures the growth of children. 

To learn more about how HiMama supports early childhood classrooms with expert-designed, research-backed and ready to use curriculum kits, click here!

Maddie Hutchison

Maddie is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a Master's in Early Childhood Studies. Her specialty is in Children's Rights and she is currently a Content Strategist for HiMama!