My adventures have begun!
After a good flight to Dallas and connection through to Denver I arrived the best way to adjust was sticking to the local time and go out rather than give in to the body asking for sleep. So off I went to see Bruce Springsteen at the Pepsi Centre. It was 3 and half hours of fantastic entertainment.
Denver is a lovely city with views to the west of the snow top Rockies. Today I was picked up by Laura Dietert, a Graduate Research Assistant at Denver University at The Marsico Institute of Early Learning and Literacy with Douglas Clements and Julie Serama.
Laura drove me to see a preschool who are implementing the C4L Curriculum. Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum is a research-based, interdisciplinary curriculum that is comprised of six units and 32 weeks of learning and centres lessons.
C4L is skill building across all four domains of early learning (math, science, literacy, and social-emotional development. ) Children naturally explore and engage with content areas such as mathematics and science during their free play. Julie Sarama, Kimberly Brenneman, Douglas H. Clements, Nell K. Duke, and Mary Louise Hemmeter — wrote and researched the curriculum.
From their website – http://www.c4lcurriculum.com
C4L uses a project-based approach, in which children work toward a larger goal, such as playing a coral-reef scavenger hunt or converting their classroom into a museum throughout a curriculum unit. High-interest learning centers that support and extend children’s growing understandings in social-emotional skills, science, literacy, and mathematics are a fundamental part of daily lessons. Each lesson can be tailored to fit the schedule and requirements of any classroom setting. Observation opportunities and individualized instruction strategies are also built into the curriculum.
Shifting the Focus
Children are ready and eager to learn, but many early childhood educators are not equally prepared to engage them in the rich math and science experiences needed to lay the groundwork for later success in school and career. What’s more, this lack of meaningful math and science instruction in the preschool years means that school readiness in these important domains, particularly among underserved populations, is unlikely to improve.
For these reasons and more, the C4L author team recognized the need to shift the focus of prekindergarten learning, without losing ground in other core domains or underestimating the importance of literacy, language, and social-emotional development in early education.
I really loved the student science journal and the conversations with the educator with the children while completing these. The Solution Suitcase, which is part of the social-emotional skills in the curriculum, could be clearly articulated by the students. This is a tool to help the children cope with problem solving. The centre owner and director Laura Hartley said this made a huge difference with behaviour management. During the morning I saw deep learning in science, literacy and mathematics. A truly lovely experience.
Back at the university, I met many of the research team for C4L and Building Blocks Learning Trajectories. Laura and I spent quite a while sharing stories of research, practice and resources we use. We looked at videos and websites. Laura had not seen the NSW Numeracy Continuum, Nrich or Mathematic Centre (Black Douglas). I have a few I now have to look up and read – such as Debra Ball from University of Michigan, Dan Meyers TED talk and blog, MAPS Assessment and Jere Confrey.
Laura and I then talked over a lovely lunch before dropping me back to the hotel.
I then went for a walk to the Denver City Hall to see the mile high step! -had to be done…