Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Curriculum Statement

Quality programs recognize the importance of carefully planned activities and instruction that guide children's development and learning. These programs create developmentally appropriate environments through plans that outline what children will learn, how they will learn it, and how adults will facilitate that learning.

Selecting a developmentally and age appropriate curriculum lays a strong foundation for a quality learning environment where all children can learn, grow, and experience success.

a male teacher showing a book to his young students
Curriculum and Quality Learning Environments

This section helps Family Child Care or Child Care Center programs meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Curriculum: DAP 4.3. It helps you review, revise, or create a statement that explains how your program uses Healthy Beginnings, Maryland Early Learning Standards, or a state recommended or recognized curriculum to guide your lesson planning process.

NOTE:This section applies to Family Child Care and Child Care Center programs only. There is no Curriculum requirement for School-Age Only programs.

Select the Requirements tab to learn about key information to include in your documentation.

Requirements

Let's look at the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Curriculum: DAP 4.3. Key requirements are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot to find information about what to include in your curriculum statement.

Select the option that applies to your program type:

 

  Child Care Center
DAP 4.3: Curriculum MSDE Healthy Beginnings, Maryland Early Learning Standards, or state-recommended or recognized curriculum guides the lesson planning process. Documentation to submit: Curriculum Statement

  Family Child Care
DAP 4.3: Curriculum MSDE Healthy Beginnings, Maryland Early Learning Standards, or state-recommended or recognized curriculum guides the lesson planning process. Documentation to submit: Curriculum Statement

  School-Age Only
DAP 4.3: Curriculum There is no curriculum requirement for School-Age Only programs.

 

Instructions

To meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Curriculum: DAP 4.3, you will provide a statement describing your program's use of a curriculum that guides your lesson planning process. Your statement should describe the use of one of the following curricula:

The Policy or Statement Builder a step-by-step guide for creating your statement.






MSDE Healthy Beginnings

Healthy Beginnings is a resource to help you nurture every child's potential for learning and growth that begins at birth. Specifically designed for caregivers of infants and toddlers from birth through age three, Healthy Beginnings gives you information on child care and child development. The Healthy Beginnings Activity Planner offers fun and developmentally appropriate activities that build young children's skills and promote their learning.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your curriculum statement describes how you use Healthy Beginnings as a guide to plan activities and monitor the development of the infants and toddlers in your program. If you describe your curriculum and planning process in your program's handbook, you may upload your handbook as documentation.

 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

You are on the right track if children in your program are between the ages of birth and three and you use Healthy Beginnings to guide curriculum and activity planning. Include how you observe the children in your program regularly and use Healthy Beginnings to determine if they are on track developmentally and what additional supports and materials may be needed.

 

Where can you learn more?

The Healthy Beginnings website includes developmental domain charts, an activity planner, and a downloadable guidebook. The guidebook provides specific examples of developmental milestones at work and strategies for supporting young children's learning and development. The website also includes a downloadable companion guide to Healthy Beginnings, Creative Connections: Young Children and the Art.

  Maryland Healthy Beginnings

Healthy Beginnings:

Healthy Beginnings is a resource to help you nurture the tremendous potential for learning and growth that every child has... that every child is born with. Specifically designed for caregivers of infants and toddlers from birth through age three, Healthy Beginnings gives you knowledge and support around child care and child development, while our Activity Planner provides you with fun, developmentally appropriate activities that build young children's skills and promote all kinds of learning.






Maryland Early Learning Standards

Maryland's Early Learning Standards define key aspects of development and learning that are the foundation for a child's success in school and beyond. While individual children's progress will vary, the standards help child care providers, prekindergarten through grade 2 teachers, and public school administrators share common goals for children's learning and development across 8 domains: Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health, Physical Education, Fine Arts, and Social Foundations.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your documentation is a statement that explains how the Maryland's Early Learning Standards are used to guide your lesson planning and activities. If you describe your curriculum and planning process in your program's handbook, you may upload your handbook as documentation.

 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

Your program uses Maryland's Early Learning Standards to help guide your lesson planning along with consideration of the ages and developmental needs of the children in your program.

 

Where can you learn more?

Information on Maryland's Early Learning Standards and learning domains is available through Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education:

  Maryland's Early Learning Standards

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State Recommended or Recognized Curriculum

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Early Childhood Curriculum Project provides guidance to child care and other non-public early childhood programs about curricular resources. The project is designed to work as a support for preschool-aged children before they start their school careers. There are State recommended or recognized curricula for children birth through the preschool years.

 

What does the documentation look like?

You will submit a statement that describes how you use a State recommended or recognized curriculum that matches the ages of the children enrolled in your program. In some cases, more than one curriculum may be used to ensure all age groups are supported. Keep in mind that all curricula you choose must meet MSDE requirements.

 

How can you tell if you're on the right track?

Your statement explains which State recommended or recognized curricula your program uses to help guide your lesson planning. It includes how the curriculum matches the ages and developmental needs of the children in your program.

 

Where can you learn more?

This website from Maryland State Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Development provides helpful information about curriculum choices for early childhood programs, including a listing of state-recommended or recognized curricula for different age groups.

  Early Childhood Curriculum Project

Early Childhood Curriculum Project

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Early Childhood Curriculum Project provides guidance to child care and other non-public early childhood programs about curricular resources. The project is designed to work as a support for pre-school aged children before they start their school careers.

Your local Child Care Resource and Referral Center has sample copies of curriculum materials available for you to explore. These materials include curriculum guides, books, props, and assessments. Contact your resource center to arrange a visit for exploring curricula. Technical Assistance Specialists are also available to help you reflect on your program and determine which curriculum best suits your needs.

  Maryland Child Care Resource Network:

Maryland's Child Care Resource Network | Maryland Family Network

Every community in Maryland is served by one of twelve regional Child Care Resource Centers (CCRCs). Together, these Centers make up the Maryland Child Care Resource Network (MCCRN), which provides leadership and services designed to improve the quality, availability, and affordability of child care in communities across the state.






Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you describe how your program's curriculum is used in your lesson planning process. You have the option of emailing your responses to yourself and editing your final statement before uploading it to the Maryland EXCELS System. You are encouraged to type your responses in full sentences to make it easier to edit your final statement.

 

Build-A-Statement: Curriculum

Final Touches

Check your curriculum statement as you prepare to upload it to the Maryland EXCELS System. Remember, curriculum information may be a statement or part of your program's handbook.

 

Check to be documentation includes:

A statement describing that your lesson planning is guided by one of the following:

 
 
 

If your program includes children of multiple ages, be sure to describe the curriculum and planning process you use with each age group.

 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system (example: curriculum.docx).
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version of your written statement (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Identified section within your handbook related to curriculum and lesson planning (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your statement, look ahead, and think about a plan for ongoing improvement.

 

Step 1: Prepare to Upload Your Document

  • Locate your username and password for logging into your Maryland EXCELS account
  • Locate where you saved your written document on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

If your program currently implements an MSDE recommended or recognized curriculum, it may meet the requirements of higher Maryland EXCELS quality ratings. Review requirements for DAP 4.4 and DAP 4.5 to see how close your program is to meeting these requirements.

Plan for Improvement

Curriculum is ever-evolving. Periodically, review your curriculum choices to make sure they meet current guidelines, reflect up-to-date information and still align with the needs of the children enrolled in your program. Remember to review and update your program's documentation. Upload any changes to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (DAP 4.3)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your curriculum statement.

screenshot of Maryland EXCELS upload screen with a comment box
Upload Documentation