We draw from a variety of curricula when creatively designing instruction that engages learners and effectively meets each child’s needs. Rather that applying a “one size fits all” approach to educating children, Palm Valley Child staff are equipped with a rich selection of evidence-based curricula resources. These resources are intended to inform instructional decisions in response to ongoing assessment of children’s interests, learning styles and current mastery levels for developmental and academic objectives. The following curricula help fuel the responsive and enriching learnng that occurs at our center:
The Creative Curriculum® developed by Teaching Strategies is a research-based and research-proven set of resources that supports teachers in providing children with developmentally appropriate and active learning opportunities to facilitate growth through a whole child approach. This 25-year old curriculum is used nationwide, is fully aligned with the Florida State Early Learning Standards and is regularly updated to incorporate the latest research and best practices in the field of early childhood education. Teaching tools include a collaborative assessment program, GOLDplus®, which helps guide individualized instruction based on developmental progressions from birth through third grade. This curriculum is used in our Infants & Ones classroom, Preschool classroom and Pre-K/VPK classrooms.
This widely-used developmental screener is designed for children ages 3 months to 5 ½ years and is used in our Infant & Ones, Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten/VPK classrooms. Early assessment and pinpointing developmental progress are important components of nurturing and supporting children so that they can meet their full potential. Palm Valley Child teachers use this screener, in close collaboration with the child’s parents and other caregivers, to measure each child’s growth towards developmental benchmarks and milestones in order to identify activities to help each child grow and learn.
This assessment is appropriate for use with children from birth through seven years of age and is used for all children in our Preschool, Pre-K/VPK classrooms and kindergarten-1 and kindergarten-2 classrooms. “The Brigance IED III Standardized contains 55 norm-referenced assessments, which allow educators to compare a child’s performance to that of a nationally representative sample of children the same age. This streamlined assessment tool produces standardized scores, which can be used for benchmarking, standardized reporting and providing documentation to support referrals” (Curriculum Associates, http://www.curriculumassociates.com/products).
The Florida Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program is guided by the Florida Standards for 4-Year-Olds. These standards describe the skills students should master by the end of their VPK year in order to lay the foundation for academic success in Kindergarten. “Kindergarten readiness” refers to the mastery of these foundational skills. In Florida’s VPK program, academic learning is broken down into four categories: print knowledge, phonological awareness, oral language, vocabulary and mathematics. The VPK Assessment is administered to students in our Pre-K/VPK classrooms at the beginning, middle and end of the school year in order to establish a baseline and measure individual student progress across the four academic domains over the course of the school year. Our Pre-K/VPK teachers use the information obtained from each administration of this assessment to tailor instruction to each child’s needs, building upon individuals’ strengths to bolster skills in the areas in which they need more support.
Used by more than three million students each year, Handwriting Without Tears® uses fun, engaging, research-based and developmentally appropriate instructional methods to enable children to master handwriting so that they can write comfortably and with ease. The curriculum uses multi-sensory tools and strategies and active learning to approach handwriting with joy and to address all styles of learning. Recent findings demonstrate that the earlier children are supported in mastering handwriting, “the more likely they are to succeed in school, and write with speed and ease in all subjects” (Handwriting Without Tears, https://www.hwtears.com/hwt). This curriculum is used in our Preschool, Pre-K/VPK, and Kindergarten classrooms.
Based on Lev Vygotsky’s theories of child development and learning, Tools of the Mind integrates rigor and developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood education in a way that provides children with opportunities to learn through social interaction and with tools to actively think through and solve problems in real world situations. A key component of this curriculum is the principle of “scaffolding,” while focusing on the “zone” between what a child already knows and can already do and what they do not yet know or cannot already do. When children are appropriately challenged with modeling and just enough support (“scaffolding”), they learn independence, critical thinking and “tools of the mind.” This curriculum is used as a supplementary curriculum in all Palm Valley Child classrooms.
ELLM is “a research-based, comprehensive curriculum for 3-, 4- and 5-year-old preschool children that has proven to be effective in improving children’s early reading achievement in an experimental study. The literacy-focused curriculum builds children’s cognitive development through literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, motor experiences and physical health. ELLM/Plus is designed to expand children’s vocabularies and refine their understanding and comprehension of words they know and use “through engaging activities and interactions” with supportive adults who “encourage children’s curiosity, persistence and creativity” (ELLM, https://www.unf.edu/fie/ellm/). This curriculum is used as a supplementary curriculum in our preschool, pre-K/VPK and kindergarten classrooms.
This K-6 program for improving reading skills incorporates leveled readers and learning aids to develop strategic reading skills and motivate early readers, while meeting Common Core standards. This curriculum is used in our kindergarten-1 and kindergarten-2 classrooms.
These curriculum supplements provide an engaging and playful approach to effective instruction of letter recognition, letter sounds, letter writing and discriminating distinct sounds, all of which are important prerequisites for reading. Fast-paced, hands-on activities are designed for active student engagement in preschool though kindergarten based on the latest research on early learning. These activities are integrated into instruction to complement other literacy and reading curricula used in our Preschool, Pre-K/VPK and Kindergarten-1 and -2 classrooms.
Reading A-Z is a large selection of reading resources that teachers use to individualize instruction and ensure children have reading material that interests them while appropriately challenging each child at her reading level. Teachers use Reading A-Z tools and reading materials to support early readers’ positive attitudes about reading and to ensure steady progress in reading skills. This curriculum is used in our Pre-K/VPK classrooms and in our Kindergarten-1 and Kindergarten-2 classrooms.
A comprehensive, standards-based English/Language Arts and Math curriculum, available for Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. Lessons are adaptable and allow for teacher preference and flexibility so that what is happening in the classroom can both meet students’ needs and the standards. Educators may adapt this curriculum, using their own judgment, regarding student needs and pace of the semester and/or year.
Touchmath is a multi-sensory, standards-based, math curriculum designed to scaffold instruction from number sense to advanced math concepts related to mathematic calculations. There are also materials to teach math concepts of shapes, money, fractions, number patterns, and word problems. This curriculum suits students who need a different approach to math learning.
Wilson Reading System – WRS is an intensive Tier 3 program for students in grades 2-12 and adults with word-level deficits who are not making sufficient progress through their current intervention; have been unable to learn with other teaching strategies and require multisensory language instruction; or who require more intensive structured literacy instruction due to a language-based learning disability, such as dyslexia. As a structured literacy program based on phonological-coding research and Orton-Gillingham principles, WRS directly and systematically teaches the structure of the English language. Through the program, students learn fluent decoding and encoding skills to the level of mastery.
The Visualizing and Verbalizing® (V/V®) program develops concept imagery – the ability to create an imaged gestalt from language – as a basis for comprehension and higher order thinking. The development of concept imagery improves reading and listening comprehension, memory, oral vocabulary, critical thinking, and writing.
Paths to Achieving Literacy Success (PALS) is a teacher-directed program that has been proven to increase early literacy skills through small-group instruction and meaningful practice. PALS uses high-interest children’s fiction and is a chosen curriculum for America Reads, a U.S. Department of Education reading initiative.