Engaging the Mind, Body & Spirit

The Early Childhood Program (ECP) at EDS: Curriculum and Mixed-Age Classrooms

The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is an award-winning curriculum for preschool success. Using exploration and discover as a way of learning, The Creative Curriculum for Preschool enables children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills. This curriculum also allows for a seamless integration of Project Based Learning;  an engaging way of learning that is used across all grades at EDS. 

The Creative Curriculum for Preschool:

  • is based on 38 objectives for development and learning, which are fully aligned with the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework as well as early learning standards for every state.
  • presents knowledge-building volumes and daily practice resources in tandem, giving every educator the “what,” “why” and “how” of early childhood education.
  • offers daily opportunities to individualize instruction, helping teachers meet the needs of every type of learner.
  • addresses all the important areas of learning, from social-emotional and math to technology and the arts, and incorporates them throughout every part of every day.
  • offers daily, built-in opportunities for observation, helping teachers and administrators clearly see the strong relationship between curriculum and assessment.
  • offers complete support for working with English- and dual-language learners, including detailed guidance that helps to build teachers’ knowledge about best practices.
  • contains guidance for working with all learners, including advanced learners and children with disabilities.

For more information on the research behind The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, please click here.

In addition to The Creative Curriculum for Preschool, EDS strongly believes in the value of mixed-age classes. The intention of mixed-age grouping in early childhood settings is to increase the heterogeneity of the group in order to capitalize on the differences in the experience, knowledge, and abilities of the children while focusing on their developmental stages and needs. Research is clear that the social and emotional development of threes and fours is enhanced in mixed-age classrooms. Benefits of this structure include:

  • A teacher is more likely to address developmental differences amongst a group of mixed-age children as compared to a single age group.
  • Mixed-age allows for more flexible grouping, ensuring that students are placed in environments in which they will thrive.
  • Mixed-age grouping focuses on developmental readiness of children rather than simply on content mastery.
  • Looping allows for the development of a close relationship between student, parents, and teacher over two years.
  • The older children in the group tend to act as both teachers and learners; younger children see the older ones as contributors, while the older children recognize that they have something to contribute. This can have powerful learning implications for both groups.
  • Younger children are capable of participating in and contributing to far more complex activities when they are working in a mixed-age group.
  • Older children help the younger children observe classroom rules; in the process, their own “self-regulatory behavior” improves.
  • Mixed-age play allows for additional social, emotional, and cognitive growth.

“The potential benefits to children outlined above represent life skills that are not on anybody’s state achievement tests! For example, learning at an early age how to offer comfort, reading to and for those who cannot yet do so, learning how to request assistance from more competent peers, confronting and accepting the limitations that come with being very small and young all occur naturally in a mixed-age group.”                         -Dr. Lilian G. Katz