Designing a Curriculum for Pre-school


The curriculum being considered in this paper will cater for the needs of the pre-school students. The age group presented has quite unique characteristics and interests that would have to be considered in the designing of their curriculum. The pre-school classrooms settings should observe the social, emotional, and intellectual needs of the pre-school kids who are between the ages of 3-5 years old.

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This age group of pupils appreciates having a beautiful classroom which calls for appropriate painting, picture-hanging and equipping of the classrooms. The kids would also greatly benefit from having an orderly set-up which might require color coding or have picture codes to easily recall where every item belongs. At this age, the pupils need to be engaged in different social activities in a large-group setting, small group or even at an individual level. This will determine the equipment to be availed as well as the allocation of space in the classroom (Fuligni, Howees, Huang, Hong, & Lara, 2012). The kids are interested in working on tables when carrying out tasks such as practicing writing, puzzle-solving, creating scenes with miniature figures and engaging in various games. They need a set-up and a curriculum that allows them to role-play, act, and experience with music and art.

Studies in the pre-school programs have indicated the need for school readiness that includes having academic content area learning essential in covering literacy, math, and self-regulatory behavior. Another important aspect of the early learning programs is on the children’s experiences with the curriculum. One way of looking at this is the consideration of time that the children spent in free-play versus the teacher-assigned time. The children require unique distribution of time engaging them in different tasks as it affects the classroom process quality (Fuligni, Howees, Huang, Hong, & Lara, 2012).

Theories and Philosophies Affecting the Nature of Classroom and Curriculum

Behaviorist Model

This theory was developed through the efforts of different theorists such as a: Edward Thorndike; who carried out studies with animals and led to the belief that learning was a process was linked to both physical and mental events. Burrhus Frederic Skinner also made contributions to this theory through his research into the field of operant conditioning where he proposed that repetition and positive reinforcement was influential in enhancing learning. Robert Gage impacted on the theory through his works on the influence of behaviorism where he proposed the ‘Conditions of Learning” that outlines how the steps that instructions should have if they are expected to induce learning (Cunningham, et al., 2016).

This theory provides that knowledge is without end/finite. It also proposes that learning is overt, observable and can be measured using empirical methods. This has contributed to the notion that learning is observable through the dynamism in the behavior of the learner. As per this theory, the learning goals involves an introduction of specific stimuli in a controlled setting with an aim of attaining a specific goal. The teacher is responsible for controlling the stimuli and dictates the goals that are to be achieved as per the stimuli.

This theory holds the view that learning is influenced by external factors as opposed to the intrinsic motivation. This will be reflected in the general outlook of the classroom where painting and pictures will be used triggers of motivation. Extrinsic motivation will also be used and this will include tangible rewards. In the classroom setup, small gifts such as sweets, time to play with toys and other rewards will be used. The idea of pupils receiving a reward will drive learning process.

This theory will inform on the learning and teaching approach. It proposes that learning occurs in a manageable step where every stimulus introduces is expected to yield a different result. This means the teaching process that I will adopt for the classroom will be linear where learning is expected to take place through a step-by-step approach. The learners will deal with each subject step-by-step in a scenario that will allow them to move for the known to the unknown following the simplest possible connections from diversified items of knowledge (Cunningham, et al., 2016).

Experiential Education

This was a curriculum philosophy developed through collaborative efforts of Flemish pre-school teachers and two educational consultants in 1976. It was developed as a result of several sessions where the teachers were required to critically reflect on their experiences in practicing teaching. The results were discussed and lesson from the perspective of a child and means of helping the child learn more discussed. This gradually shaped a model of pre-school education referred to as Experiential Education (EXE).

Delivering quality in care and education as the model proposes required taking a focus on the educational context, the actions of the teachers, infrastructure, equipment and tools available, the content of the activities, and teaching methods to be adopted. In this connection, I view a classroom where the teacher is in charge of enhancing interactions and coming up with strategies that encourage learning (Directorate for Education, OECD, 2004). The teachers will come up with an array of small, medium, and large sessions that promotes individualized development and different social skills. The curriculum will allow for both teacher-directed activities as well as child-initiated play. The teacher in the classroom will take an approach that considered the different learning rate of the pupils and thereby address the individual needs of every pupil.

The Experiential Education theory makes a proposition that the most efficient way of determining the quality of an education setup it to take into consideration the level of emotional well-being and involvement level. The emotional wellbeing represents the level at which the children feel at ease, act spontaneously, and portray signs of vitality and self-confidence. This requires the teaching adapted to cater for their basic needs, take care of tenderness and affection, ensure safety and clarity, promote social recognition, and instill meaning in life and moral value. Involvement, as proposed in this theory, caters for all student and affects the state of flow. The concept of a state of flow in a classroom setup is depicted by the level of concentration. Promoting involvement requires strong motivation, fascination, and total implication. In the classroom set-up, this will be attained through the use of songs, story-telling, picture stories and role-playing (Directorate for Education, OECD, 2004).

Multiple Intelligence Theory

This theory represents the works of Howard Gardner in 1983. The traditional perspective of intelligence only considered two major cognitive processes; problem-solving and language abilities. Gardner, however, proposed the theory that considers other intelligence such as musical, visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Language abilities deal with ability to use spoken and written words, logical-mathematical involves inductive and deductive thinking, visual-spatial is about the ability to mentally visualize objects and spatial dimensions, body-kinesthetic refers to the capabilities of controlling physical motion, musical-rhythmic considers the mastery of rhythms, tones, and beats, interpersonal skills is on ability to communicate with people effectively and develop relationships. Intrapersonal skills deal with understanding personal emotions, motivations, and self-reflection.

This theory prompts the teacher to use the children’s type of intelligence to carry out planning on most appropriate teaching methods. The curriculum developed will not only consider the traditionally promoted intelligence on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence but will leverage on all other forms of intelligence that the students may be found to possess.

Teaching Concepts

Visual and Performing Arts

The curriculum will place emphasis on the need for teaching the fine art to the learners. Creative arts is considered as the first language the children learn to communicate thoughts, ideas, and feelings. It offers the most effective means for the children to explain and understand their surroundings. The main concepts in this subject will be more concerned on the creative process rather than the end result or product. This will entail processes such as initiative, curiosity, engagement, persistence, reasoning, and problem-solving.

For the learners in the pre-school, the concepts to be taught in relation to fine arts will include; creative movement and dance, music, dramatic role-playing, and visual arts such as painting, sculpting and drawing. The teaching of this concepts will be connected to the environment that stimulates creativity from the learners. The creative arts in the pre-school set-up will be much linked with lessons on local communities, cultures and other content. The concepts in this subject area will help promote memory, cognition, observation, inquiry, and reflection.


The environment in the classroom that the pupils will interact with will seek to leverage on the children’s natural, spontaneous interactions with math in the world and offer them a chance to continuously work on the mathematical problems. The mathematics for the preschoolers will put the focus on the number, spatial relations and measurement and geometry. It will aim at promoting the children’s sense of numbers as a measure of quantity. This will be achieved through the practice of solving mathematical problems.

In this subject area, the learners will be taught on understanding number and counting, numerical operations, conceptualize on measurable attributes of objects and means of measuring them and developing spatial and geometric sense.


Children are known to first build their scientific knowledge by using their sense in their numerous interactions with the environment surrounding them. Children are known to be observant, inquisitive, and carrying out reflection on their investigation. In the pre-school, the learners will be encouraged to develop and sharpen their scientific ability through observation, inquiry, and experimenting.

The children will be taught in methods of observing and investigating matter and energy, living things, earth and the universe, and use technology. Learning in this subject will be achieved by offering rich and interactive opportunities where open-ended exploration and focused inquiry will be encouraged. The learners will be helped in coming to terms with the scientific concepts embedded in their day to day life. There will be the introduction of material, techniques, and technologies that offer natural paths to learning more about science.

Specific activities


The pupils in the pre-school will be taught on observing and investigating matter and energy using the following activities. Objects and materials of interest will be provided in either solid or liquid state. The pupils will be required to observe, manipulate, sort, and describe the physical properties such as size, shape, color, texture, and weight. The learners will also be introduced in the exploration of various methods of motion by exploring how various objects move and the parts used in the motion.

Another important area to be explored will be on investigating living things. The pupils will be presented with a chance to observe and investigate features of plants and animals both in their natural setting and in the classrooms. They will be introduced in observing the similarities and differences in diversified living things and their behavior such as sounds.


In teaching the body movement and dance, the learners will be taught on how to move their bodies with and without music, how to respond to changing tempo and musical rhythms through body movement. The learners will be engaged in both structured and non-structured dance and movement games aimed at helping build on motor control and body relationships.  Different dance moves such as twist, bend, leap, and stretch will be introduced.

In teaching about the visual arts, different art material such as crayons, paint and clay will be used. Their learners will be engaged in open-ended, process-based activities. The pupils will be taught in various art techniques such as rolling clay, or painting. The learners will be offered firsthand experience in improving their art skills such making an observation of a flower and attempting to draw it.


To understand the concept of numbers and counting, the learners will be introduced in the counting of up to 20. They will also be required to identify the written numbers within the classroom settings. Material such as numeral cards, puzzles, and counters will be used help students in relating to number quantities.

In teaching about numerical operations, the teachers will offer model addition for the pupils to combine and count the numbers. The learners will engage both formally and informally in joining and taking apart of small parts of concrete objects. There will also the use of addition and subtract stories using a whiteboard and in small groups.


Cunningham, T., Gannon, J., Kavanagh, M., Greene, J., Reddy, L., & Whitson, L. (2016). Theories of Learning and Curriculum Design; Key Personalities and their Relationship.

Directorate for Education, OECD. (2004). Starting Strong Curricula and Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education and Care. Retrieved from

Fuligni, A., Howees, C., Huang, Y., Hong, S., & Lara, S. (2012). Activity Settings and Daily Routines in Prescool Classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quartely, 198-209.

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