This entry begins by defining curriculum, then looking at its special meaning in early childhood education. It defines stages of curriculum development, from a set of ideas, to a book, to demonstration programs, to an observational assessment tool, and distinguishes between evidence of the validity of independent curriculum practices and evidence of the validity of complete curriculum implementation in specific programs. It tracks the history of early childhood curriculum models, from Friedrich Froebel’s kindergarten, through the Montessori method, to the development of various curriculum models with the advent of the national Head Start program in the United States. It identifies several types of early childhood curriculum models, with the basic distinction being teacher-centered versus child-centered. It summarizes five well-developed, currently prevalent models—HighScope, The Creative Curriculum, ...

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