You have questions. And we have answers. See below to learn more about the Early Childhood Curriculum Project.
What is the Early Childhood Curriculum Project?
The Early Childhood Curriculum Project was established to identify early childhood curricular resources that could be State-recommended for alignment with Maryland standards in two categories:
- Curricular resources for programs for infants and toddlers (birth to age 3)
- Comprehensive curriculum (ages 3, 4, and 5)
The State recommendations provide direction specifically to Head Start, center-based child care centers, non-public pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs, and other licensed early care and education programs in selecting curricular resources that are aligned with the - Guidelines for Healthy Child Development and Care of Young Children (birth to age 3) and the Maryland Early Learning Standards.
Early childhood programs operated by local boards of education are not required to select from the State-recommended list but must certify that the local curriculum is aligned with the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards.
Are licensed early care and education programs required to use a State-recommended curricular resource for infants and toddlers and/or a comprehensive curriculum for 3, 4, 5 year-olds?
Any licensed early care and education program that seeks State or federal funding through a grant administered by the MSDE Division of Early Childhood Development (DECD) must choose one of the following:
- Implementing a State-Recommended Curricula: A program may select a State-recommended curricular resource for infants and toddlers (birth to 3) and/or a comprehensive curriculum for 3, 4, 5 year-olds as applicable.
Curriculum selection decisions need to consider the continuity of learning between the various ages of the early childhood program being implemented. If a publisher/vendor has received State recommendation of its curriculum for 4 year-olds but not for 3-year-olds, the program selecting that curriculum may use it in a mixed-age grouping of 3- and 4-year-olds. The program must, however, also provide approved documentation regarding differentiation for 3-year-olds. This accommodation does not apply to curricula that were State-recommended for 5-year-olds only.
- Implementing an Individually Developed Curriculum: If MSDE evaluates and accepts it, a program seeking funding may choose to implement a curriculum that it has developed individually for its own use. The curriculum must not be a commercially-developed curriculum or portions of a commercially-developed program that the program has purchased. In this case, the program must submit a technical report for evaluation and acceptance by MSDE according to the evaluation process that was used to identify the list of State-recommended curricula. Guidelines for the individually developed curricula option can be found here (PDF).
- Implementing a Curriculum Developed by a Local School System: A program seeking funding may choose to adopt the curriculum of the local school system within whose jurisdiction it is operating. It must certify and provide evidence of that curriculum’s implementation.
My program has received a special grant to contract with the local school system to implement the school system’s curriculum in an identified classroom and that curriculum is not on the State-recommended list. Do I have to choose a different curriculum to implement in the other classrooms of my program?
No. In this case, the program can expand the use of the local school system’s curriculum to the other classrooms that are not part of the contract with the school system. However, the program could also use a State-recommended comprehensive curriculum in these other classrooms.
Looking for more information on the State-recommended curriculum for infants and toddlers? You’ll find all the details here.
If you work with children from birth to age 3, explore Healthy Beginnings: Supporting Development and Learning from Birth through Three Years of Age (PDF) and the Maryland Early Learning Standards.
Program Options for Implementing a Curricular Resource for Infants and Toddlers and a Comprehensive Curriculum for 3, 4, and 5 year-olds
Implementation of a State-recommended curricular resource for infants and toddlers and/or a State-recommended comprehensive curriculum for ages 3, 4, 5 as applicable
Individually Developed Curriculum
Implementation of a curriculum developed by the program and evaluated and accepted by MSDE
Local Education Board Curriculum
Implementation of the local school system’s curriculum