Curriculum Design

Curriculum contributes to all aspects of development and provides opportunities for children to learn about the world. Your task as an early childhood educator is to involve the children with whom you work in a variety of challenging and intellectually engaging experiences that will result in their constructing and understanding of the world, developing the skills they need, and acquiring attitudes that will lead them to become caring and productive human beings.

The key part of curriculum is intentional learning experiences designed by an early childhood educator in response to what they know and observe about children. 

The following is the key to curriculum planning: 

  • Practice Intentional Teaching
  • Incorporate Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)
  • Child Centered Active Learning 

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) means the learning activities planned for children are placed at the correct level for their age and are suited to individual children’s abilities, preferences and cultures. 

NAEYC has identified the three core considerations of Developmentally Appropriate Practice: 

  1. Child Development and Learning
  2. Individually Appropriate
  3. Culturally Important 

To learn more visit the NAEYC website at


The following are approaches in the development of early childhood curriculum: 

* Montessori
* Emergent Curriculum
* Reggio Emilia Approach
* Project Approach
* HighScope
* Creative Curriculum
* Waldorf
* Play Based
* Multiple Intelligences 

For more information, contact your county's SC CCR&R Quality Coach for on-site technical assistance to explore the above curriculum approaches in your early childhood setting. 

Early Care and Education Tools

These tools may assist you in the philosophy of your program, materials and equipment selection, and designing activities to support standards and strengthen early childhood educators’ knowledge of guidelines, standards, competency requirements and tools developed for South Carolina’s children. The following are tools to fill your toolbox:  

Infant & Toddler Guidelines

Good Start, Grow Smart Early Learning Standards

Parent Guide to Standards

Common Core State Standards - English

Common Core State Standards - Math

Physical Activity Guide

Grow Healthy Physical Activity Standards

Grow Healthy Nutrition Standards