Early Childhood: Program Planning


Instructor:                    Aumony Dahl, M.Ed.

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:               8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday

Email:                          aumony_dahl@virtualeduc.com

Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:       support@virtualeduc.com



Welcome to Early Childhood: Program Planning, an interactive distance learning course designed to give you a new perspective on planning and implementing developmentally appropriate practices for young children from birth through age eight.  In this course you will learn what is meant by curriculum, assessment, evaluation, and program planning as these terms apply to early childhood education.  We will discuss several historical perspectives and theories of child development, and examine best practice for early childhood education.  We will also examine key concepts and specific activities for teaching various curricular content areas including language and literacy, mathematics and science, and the expressive arts. 


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials

Title:                            Early Childhood: Program Planning

Author:                        Aumony Dahl, M.Ed.

Publisher:                     Virtual Education Software, inc. 2008


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed as one part of a five-part series on early childhood education.  Upon completion of all five courses, you will have covered all of the CDA Competencies to prepare you to take the CDA exam (applicable in certain states).  This course specifically covers CDA Competencies 1-9, 12, and 13 (Check your individual state requirements), which all relate to the establishment of well-run, purposeful programs for young children that are responsive to individual needs and advance the development of the whole child.  This course is designed for anyone planning programs for young children--child-care providers, early childhood educators, and health care or social services providers, to name a few.


Course Objectives

·         Identify the general guidelines for early childhood curriculum, assessment, and evaluation as presented by NAEYC.

·         Explain the key components of a developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) for young children.

·         Discuss numerous ways to make adaptations, accommodations, and modifications for students with special learning needs. 

·         Explain the three principles for learning presented by the National Research Council (1999) that directly apply to classroom teaching for children of all ages.

·         Discuss research-based positions and standards for various curricular content areas.

·         Identify and plan key components of an integrated early childhood curriculum that fosters curiosity and promotes the process of inquiry.  

·         Describe a variety of ways to integrate language and literacy, mathematics and science, and social studies and expressive arts activities in meaningful ways throughout the early childhood curriculum.

·         Provide the most current requirements for earning a CDA Credential or NAEYC Accreditation. 


Course Description

This course, Program Planning, has been divided into four chapters. The first chapter will discuss numerous considerations for planning and implementing a comprehensive, research-based curriculum for young children.  Various perspectives on the history and theory behind early childhood education and child development will be examined, in addition to discussing various forms of diversity among children.  We will also discuss what curriculum is, and identify guidelines presented by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for appropriate curriculum for young children through eight years of age.  We will take an overall look at the basic steps for creating an appropriate curriculum, planning a daily schedule, and creating lesson plans and activities for early childhood programs.  In addition to focusing our attention on appropriate curricular approaches, we will touch briefly on several curricular approaches to avoid. 


While the first chapter of the course provides an overview of general considerations and approaches for early childhood curriculum, assessment, and evaluation, later chapters of the course will take a more in-depth look at appropriate curriculum for various age groups such as infants & toddlers, preschoolers, and primary school children.  Curricular considerations for integrating specific content areas such as language and literacy, math and science, and social studies and expressive arts will also be discussed.            


Each chapter contains additional handouts or attachments that cover specific topics from the chapter in greater depth.  They are provided for you to read, ponder, and apply to the early childhood education setting in which you work.  Some of the topics are intended for you, as the professional, while others are intended for you to pass on to parents, when appropriate.


Student Expectations

As a student, you will be expected to:

·         Complete all information chapters covering Program Planning, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete all chapter exams covering Program Planning, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.

·         Complete a review of any chapter on which your examination score was below 70%.

·         Retake any chapter examination, after completing an information review, to increase that final examination score to a minimum of 70% (maximum of three attempts).

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Chapter Topics

Chapter One: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Curriculum, Assessment, & Evaluation

·         What is curriculum?

·         Curricular approaches to avoid

·         NAEYC’s position on ECE curriculum, child assessment, and program planning

·         Developmentally Appropriate Practice—What is it?

·         Planning the ECE program—Planning the daily schedule, lesson plans and activity plans

·         Making adaptations and modifications for students with special needs


Chapter Two: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Language & Literacy

·         Creating the curriculum—What does research say?

·         A look at Language and Literacy: oral language, written language, reading

·         Language and literacy activities across the curriculum

·         Curricular considerations for children with special needs: sensory, cognitive, and physical impairments, cultural considerations, giftedness


Chapter Three: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Mathematics & Science

·         NCTM and NSES principles and content standards for mathematics and science

·         NCTM’s curricular focal points for each age group, pre-K through 2nd grade

·         Key mathematical concepts for young children: classification, ordering, counting, adding and subtracting, measurement, geometry

·         Key science concepts for young children: physical science, biological science

·         Assessment: A critical component of ECE and program planning

·         Integrating mathematics and science activities throughout the ECE curriculum 


Chapter Four: Developing Appropriate Programs for Young Children—A Look at Social Studies & Expressive Arts

·         A look at social studies: historical perspectives

·         National Council for Social Studies (NCSS): ten themes

·         Suggestions for thematic social studies curriculum: Categories of intertwined content

·         Social studies disciplines: history, geography, sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, values education

·         An important social studies theme: conflict resolution

·         Integrating social studies activities across the curriculum

·         A look at expressive arts: art, music, movement

·         A look at child development: cognitive development, social and emotional development, physical development

·         Considerations for infants, toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and primary children

·         Integrating expressive arts activities across the curriculum



At the end of each course chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times.  Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

This course has two required writing components.


To save your essays:


When you select the question or article you wish to write on, simple text or text edit will

automatically be launched. When you are finished, simply click SAVE. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


1)       Essay Requirement:  Critical Thinking Questions

There is a Critical Thinking Question for each chapter. You will do research on the question and write a brief essay relating it to the course content (and your personal experiences when possible).  To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Critical Thinking Question that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  You must write a minimum of 500 words per essay. 

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


2) Essay Requirement:  Journal Articles

This task requires you to write a review of three journal articles of your choice on a topic related to this course.  You may choose your topic by entering the Key Words (click on the Key Words button) into a search engine of your choice (Google, Dogpile, Yahoo, etc.). Choose three relevant articles and write a 200-word review of each. You may also access the ERIC system and choose a related topic from a journal listed in that system.  Or you can access www.scholar.google.com or www.findarticles.com .Write a critical summary of the information given in each article, explaining how the information relates to, supports, or refutes information given in this course. Conclude your paper with your thoughts and impressions. (200 words per journal article minimum, 400 words maximum.) Be sure to provide the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the instructor to access and review that article.


To write your essays, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the Journal Article that you would like to complete; this will bring up a screen where you can write your review. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  You may go back at any point to edit your essays.  For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.

You must SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.


Instructor Description

Early Childhood: Program Planning has been developed by Aumony Dahl, MS/ED, the instructor of record. Aumony received her Master’s degree in Exceptional Children from Western Washington University.  She is certified to teach in K-12 Special Education with an additional endorsement in Early Childhood Special Education.  Aumony began her career working as an elementary special education teacher for several years.  She is currently an instructor in the Special Education Department at Western Washington University—teaching a variety of classes on topics related to early childhood special education, students with complex special needs, assessment and evaluation, and program planning.  Aumony also enjoys her role as a supervisor for practicum students who are training to become teachers.  In addition to this course, Aumony is the author of another course in this Early Childhood series called Early Childhood: Family-Centered Services.  


Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing Aumony at aumony_dahl@virtualeduc.com or calling her at 509-891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST. Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted, and how to submit your completed information.


Bibliography (Suggested Readings)


Arnold, L. (1980). Preparing young children for science. New York: Schocken.


Bredekamp, S., & Copple, C. (1997).   Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (rev. ed.), Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Calkins, L (1986). The art of teaching writing. Exeter, NH: Heinemann. New York: Longman.


Chaille, C., & Britain, L. (1997). The young child as scientist: A constructivist approach to early childhood science education (2nd ed.).


Clay, M. (1998). By different paths to common outcomes. York, ME: Stenhouse.


Colbert, C. (1997). Visual arts in the developmentally appropriate integrated curriculum.  In C. Hart, D. Burts, & R. Charlesworth (Eds.), Integrated curriculum and developmentally appropriate practice.  Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.


Gabbard, C. (1992). Lifelong motor development. Dubuque, IA: Brown.


Good, R. (1977). How children learn science. New York: Macmillan.


Jones, E. (1970). In Dittmann, L. (Ed.), Curriculum is what happens.  Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Jones, E., & Nimmo, J. (1994). Emergent curriculum. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.


Kostelnik, M., Soderman, A., & Whiren, A. (1999). Developmentally appropriate curriculum: Best practices in early childhood education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.


Kreidler, W. (1984). Creative conflict resolution. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman.


Krogh, S., & Slentz, K. (2001). The early childhood curriculum. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Morrow, L. (1993). Literacy development in the early years. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). (1998). Learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Young Children, 53(4)30-46.


Raths, L. Harmin, M., & Simon, S. (1966). Values and teaching. Columbus, OH: Merrill.


Schirrmacher, R. (1998). Art and creative development for young children. Albany, NY: Delmar.


Sunal, C. (1990). Early childhood social studies. Columbus, OH: Merrill.


Taylor, B. (1999). Science everywhere: Opportunities for very young children. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Other Resources


      National Arts Education Association, www.naea-reston.org

      National Association for the Education of Young Children, www.naeyc.org

      National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, www.nctm.org

      National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center, www.nectac.org

      National Education Association, www.nea.org

      National Research Council, www.nationalacademies.org/nrc

      National Science Education Standards, www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/nses  

      U.S. Department of Education, http://www.ed.gov


Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.

Updated 11/16/10 JN