Early Childhood Curriculum

The Maryland State Department of Education is currently reviewing the Maryland Early Standards and developing a tool to help guide users in the selection of curriculum.  

Curricula resources for young children from birth to age five in early childhood programs for child care, Head Start programs, Pre-K, and nursery schools must be aligned with The Maryland Early Learning Standards and be:  

  • A curriculum in use by the Local Education Agency for prekindergarten;
  • A Children Discovering Their World curriculum;
  • A published curriculum;
  • An individually developed curriculum; or  
  • A Curriculum of Historic Significance recognized by MSDE.        

Child care programs and state-funded prekindergarten programs seeking Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating 5 and Maryland Accreditation must use curricula that meet this criteria.

MSDE recognizes several curricula as being of historic significance and merit. These programs have also been identified because of the strength of their teacher certification and accreditation programs.


The High/Scope Educational Research Foundation is an independent non-profit organization headquartered in Ypsilanti, Michigan. High/Scope was established in 1970 to continue the work of Dr. David P. Weikart with disadvantaged children in the Ypsilanti Public Schools. In the High/Scope approach, children are active learners, supported by teachers who provide challenging opportunities for their learning. High/Scope provides a process for teacher certification and program accreditation to become a High/Scope Accredited program. Learn more about High/Scope.


Montessori education is based on the experiences and research of Maria Montessori (1870-1952), an Italian physician and educator. In this approach, children are respected as having an inner, natural guidance that supports their development, while teachers serve as guides and directors. Although the “Montessori” name is not a trademark, it is widely recognized throughout the world and is associated with more than one organization including Association Montessori Internationale and American Montessori Society, which provide teacher training/diplomas and program accreditation.


Waldorf Education, developed by Rudolf Steiner in 1919, is based on a clear understanding of human development that addresses the needs of the growing child. The Waldorf name is a trademark that is known worldwide. Waldorf schools provide teacher training/certificates and are accredited by the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). Learn more about Waldorf Education.

Individually Developed Curriculum Review

Programs/providers who are seeking to have individually developed curricula for infants and toddlers, and three, four, and five (kindergarten) year-old children reviewed and accepted by the Maryland State Department of Education in order to meet MSDE Accreditation and Maryland EXCELS standards may submit curricula and required documentation on or before May 8, 2017.  Only curricula that has been developed by the program/provider and is for the sole use of the program/provider may be submitted. There is no funding associated with this curriculum review.  If you have questions regarding this process you may email early.learningbranchesmsde@maryland.gov

Individually Developed Curriculum Submission Requirement and Documentation

Appendix A (Infants & Toddlers)

Appendix A (3-5 year olds)

Appendices B, C, D (3-5 year olds)

Appendix E (3-5 year olds)