The Delaware Stars Curriculum and Assessment (C&A) team supports continuous quality improvement for programs using an Approved Assessment or Curriculum for Delaware Stars. The C&A Technical Assistant (TA) uses a consultative and coaching approach to collaborate with the administrator/family child care provider to strengthen current practices and to enhance the curriculum and/or assessment to align with the vision of the learning environment of the program. Using a wide array of resources, the program will build an action plan to dig deep into the next steps of using curriculum and/or assessment. This action plan will serve as a road map that will increase the understanding of children’s development and the quality of their experiences.
Comprehensive curriculum is a written plan that guides the design of children’s goals for learning and development, the experiences children will have to achieve those goals and the way in which adults, both staff and families, will support children’s learning to achieve school success. A sound, comprehensive curriculum is more than a resource guide that contains ideas and activities to do with children in your classrooms or homes. It is evidence-based or relies on what research tells us about the way in which children grow and learn and has many different parts or elements. When these elements work together, they provide early childhood professionals with a framework that helps ensure that children have standards-based, fun and challenging experiences that are developmentally, linguistically and culturally appropriate (developmentally appropriate practice-DAP).
Content in a comprehensive curriculum focuses on all domains of learning: social-emotional, physical, cognitive (intellectual), and communication (language and literacy). A curriculum that has been designed to support children’s learning in a more specific area such as literacy or mathematics, is a valuable resource that offers additional ideas to help children learn in that domain. It is considered a supplementary curriculum, and while it complements a program’s selection of a comprehensive tool, it does not replace a more expansive, broad-scope curriculum that programs must use to support children’s integrated learning and development.
Elements of Comprehensive Curriculum
The curriculum resources listed in the link below represents those published curricula that have been reviewed and approved by Delaware’s Curriculum and Assessment Task Force. Each has met the requirements of the Delaware’s Curriculum Rubric and fulfills the requirements for Delaware Stars Standard LC1.
Publishers of a curriculum that is not currently on the list, including published curricula specific to individual early learning programs, may request a review of their tool by contacting the Office of Early Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about this approval process click on each corresponding section:
Supplemental curricula for Delaware Stars programs are those resources that further grow children’s skill mastery in specific domains of the Early Learning Foundations (ELFs) and are referenced in Stars Standards LC2.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list; programs may utilize other curricula, but must provide evidence of implementation
Child Assessment Information
The National Association for the Education of Young Children defines assessment as: “the
process of gathering information about children from several forms of evidence, then organizing
and interpreting that information.”
(McAfee, O., Leong, D.J., & Bodrova, E. (2004). Basics of Assessment: A primer for early
childhood educators. NAEYC, Washington, D.C.)
Assessment is designed to document children’s growth and learning through observation. It
informs planning and instruction that support the development of an individual child. It is an
ongoing and systematic process that should be embedded as part of the daily curriculum.
Assessment opportunities should occur naturally throughout the child’s day, creating authentic
experiences to note children’s progress and development.
National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Indicators of Effective Assessment
- Ethical principles guide assessment practices.
- Assessment instruments are used for their intended purposes.
- Assessments are appropriate for ages and other characteristics of children being assessed.
- Assessment instruments are in compliance with professional criteria for quality.
- What is assessed is developmentally and educationally significant.
- Assessment evidence is used to understand and improve learning.
- Assessment evidence is gathered from realistic settings and situations that reflect children’s actual performance.
- Assessments use multiple sources of evidence gathered over time.
- Screening is always linked to follow-up.
- Use of individually administered, norm-referenced tests is limited.
- Staff and families are knowledgeable about assessment.
(NAEYC Position Statement: Early Childhood Curriculum, Assessment, and Program
- To monitor children’s development and learning
- To guide planning and decision making
- To report and communicate with others (families, state/federal agencies, etc.)
- To identify children who might benefit from special services**
**This is screening. (For more information on screening, please see Developmental Screening)
Publishers of an assessment that is not currently on the approved list, including published assessments specific to individual early learning programs, may request a review of their tool by contacting the Office of Early Learning at email@example.com.
Developmental Screening Information
- Screening is one part of a larger system of assessment for young children and is defined as:
o “The use of a brief procedure or instrument designed to identify, from within a large population of children, those who may need further assessment to verify developmental and/or health risks” (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2004).
o The primary goal of screening is to document normal aspects of a child’s health and development, while identifying potential problems that need further assessment and follow-up (Luehr & Hoxie, 1995).
o Screening is a brief procedure which indicates a child’s health and/or developmental status at a single point in time. A screening program always must include follow-up for those children who may not be meeting milestones and, therefore, would benefit from further, more in-depth assessment.
- Screening helps to determine if a child needs further services and should be completed during early phases of enrollment
(Schroeder, C., & Gooden, C. (2012). Recommended measures in early childhood screening. Kentucky Early Childhood Data System, Human Development Project, University of Kentucky.)
- Primary Reasons
o Can detect developmental needs very early
o Can be used as a basis for referral to early intervention or the school system
o Can be used to discuss child development and learning with families
- Secondary Reasons
o Assists in “teaching child development” to staff and families
o Formalizes programmatic assessment procedures
To view a list of screening choices that have already been approved by Delaware Stars