Maryland EXCELS Toolkit  

Lesson Planning Process

In the hustle-bustle of your daily routine, you may never take time to appreciate the careful thought and effort that goes into planning a simple activity so the children in your program experience success. You make it look easy. Yet, all providers and educators realize it is anything but easy to provide purposeful activities throughout the day, day after day.

Take a moment to think about all that goes into your lesson planning process. You know so much about the children in your program. How do you use that knowledge in planning activities? How do you make sure that each and every child’s individual needs are met? How do you translate your curriculum into daily lessons and activities?

topview of a table with stationery, manipulatives, and art tools
Planning for Success

This section guides you to think about and explain the process you follow to plan activities and learning experiences for children. You will submit a statement that describes your planning process as documentation for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Planning: DAP 5.4 (DAP 4.4 – School-Age Only).

Select the Requirements tab to learn about key requirements to include in your description of your lesson planning process.

Requirements

Let's look at the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Planning: DAP 5.4 (DAP 4.4 – School-Age Only). The following interactive shows key requirements that are marked by a bright dot. Select each dot to learn more about specific information to include in your statement.

Select the option that applies to your program type.

 

Child Care Center

Family Child Care

School-Age Only
DAP 4.4: Planning Lesson plans include age-appropriate activities reflective of children’s interests and skills and include: multiple literacy, language, science, art, health and wellness, physical fitness, and numeracy activities on a daily basis; address the developmental needs of each and every child; and include information from an IEP, if provided. Documentation to submit: Lesson Planning Process Statement

 

Instructions

To meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Planning: DAP 5.4 (DAP 4.4 – School-Age Only), your statement should clearly describe the lesson planning process you follow to make sure that your activities:

  • Are Age-appropriate
  • Are Based on essential learning domains
    • Birth – Age 3: Personal and Social Development; Language Development; Cognitive Development; Physical Development
    • Age 3 – 5: Social Foundations, Language and Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Physical Well-being and Motor Development and Fine Arts
    • School-Age: Literacy, Language, Science, Art, Health and Wellness, Physical Fitness, and Numeracy
  • Reflect the children’s interests and skills
  • Address the developmental needs of each child
  • Are informed by observations and information from families
  • Include information from a child’s IFSP or IEP, if provided by the family

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






Lesson Planning Process

Creating environments where all children are respected and thrive requires careful planning and organization, especially since no two children are exactly alike. Your lesson plans and the process you follow to create them demonstrate the time, attention, and care you devote to creating purposeful activities and learning experiences.Your careful planning results in activities across multiple domains that represent and respect the diversity among the children in your program.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your statement clearly describes a lesson planning process that includes activities that:

  • Match the children’s ages and individual developmental levels, skills, and needs
  • Cross multiple domains
  • Reflect the children’s interests
  • Are informed by observations and information from families
  • Include a child’s IFSP or IEP, if provided
 

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

Review your statement and underline specific sentences that explain how your program’s lesson planning process and activities are informed by: 1) the children’s ages, developmental levels and skills, and needs, 2) learning domains, 3) children’s interests, 4) observations and information from families, and 5) a child’s IFSP or IEP, if provided.

 

Where can you learn more?

This article provides helpful tips on creating meaningful activities and lessons for young children.

Ages and Stages in Child Care

Ages and Stages in Child Care - eXtension

Children of different ages need different types of care and nurturing. Quality child care programs help children grow in all areas of development: physical, intellectual, social, emotional, language, moral, and spiritual domains. Child care providers need to understand how children of different ages grow and learn in order to provide warm, sensitive care and positive learning experiences.






Activities Informed by a Child’s IFSP / IEP

Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) provide guidance on ways to meet the needs of individual children with special health care needs or disabilities. Remember you are a critical member of the team who helps put these plans into action. Your lesson planning process is documentation of the steps you take to support individual children and to include a child’s learning goals in your daily activities.

 

What does the documentation look like?

Your lesson plans and process clearly show ways information from a child’s IFSP or IEP are part of typical routines and activities. Some examples include:

  • Use of specialized equipment (examples: chubby crayons, pencil grips, magnifying lenses, hearing devices)
  • Opportunities for a child to practice targeted skills (examples: speech sounds, fine motor skills, independent / self-help skills)
  • Opportunities for peer-to-peer interaction (examples: reading a large print book together, free choice activities, outdoor play)
  • Adjustments to your plans to accommodate a child’s special health care needs
 

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

Your statement includes a description of your careful and thoughtful planning to ensure that a child with special needs is able to access and participate in all activities with support, as needed.

 

Where can you learn more?

Even if none of the children currently enrolled in your program receive services through an IFSP or IEP, you may find these resources interesting and helpful as you strive to meet the individual needs of all the children.

What is Inclusive Child Care?

What Is Inclusive Child Care? - eXtension

In the field of early childhood education, inclusion describes the practice of including children with disabilities in a child care setting with typically developing children of similar ages, with specialized instruction and support when needed. Federal law says that children with disabilities have a protected right to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

The IFSP: A Family Guide to Understanding the Individualized Family Service Plan

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What is the Difference Between an IFSP and an IEP?

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Policy or Statement Builder

This interactive helps you develop a statement that describes 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: Lesson Planning Process

Final Touches

Review your statement as you prepare to upload it to the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Check to be sure your documentation includes:

A clear description of your lesson planning process that shows how you take into account:

 
 
 
 
 

Save your document:

  • Use a file name that you can find easily when you upload it to the system (example: lesson-planning.docx)
  • Use any one of these formats:
    • Typed electronic version of your statement (examples: Microsoft Word, PDF)
    • Scanned versions of your statement (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)
    • Digital image / picture of your statement (examples: PDF, PNG, JPG)

Next Steps

Use the following guide to upload your documentation, 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 statement on the computer
 

Step 2: Look Ahead and Plan for Improvement

Look Ahead

Congratulations! You are ready to submit documentation to meet the requirements for Developmentally Appropriate Learning and Practice: Planning: DAP 5.4 (DAP 4.4 School-Age Only).

Did you know that if you use information from ongoing assessments of the children and include activities that build cultural competence, you may meet the requirements for DAP 5.5 (Family Child Care and Child Care Center)? If yours is a School-Age Only program that meets the requirements for DAP 4.4, your statement also meets the requirements for DAP 4.5.

Plan for Improvement

Review the requirements for DAP 5.5. Set a goal to learn more about cultural competency, anti-bias education, and different assessment methods for monitoring the children’s progress. Remember to review and update statements in the Maryland EXCELS System.

 

Step 3: Upload Your Documentation (DAP 5.4; DAP 4.4 – School-Age Only)

Log in to the Maryland EXCELS System to upload your statement that describes your lesson planning process. If none of the children currently enrolled in your program have an IFSP or IEP, or families have chosen not to share these documents with you, please leave a comment with an explanation for your Program Coordinator.

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