For Educators: In-Depth
This section contains resources for educators of young children. These resources have been designed to help you target physical, developmental, and social-emotional learning as your children engage in age-appropriate and active learning in your care setting.
The Educator resources are organized into three sections.
- Educator Activities (Topics/Skills) (ages birth to 33 months)
- MA Early Learning Curriculum (Unit/Themes) (ages 3 to 5 years)
- Professional Development Video Modules (ages birth to 33 months)
Each section is explained in detail below:
1. EDUCATOR ACTIVITIES (Topics/Skills)
For Educators of Children Ages Birth to 33 Months
These activities were written to be used by educators in family child care, center-based, or school-based settings. They are inexpensive, easy to do, and can be adapted to fit children’s needs and interests.
The Topics/Skills activities focus around seven key topic areas. These topic areas form the foundation of skills young children need as they progress into the next level of learning found in the Massachusetts Early Learning Curriculum Unit activities. The seven topic areas are:
- Music & Dance
- Talking & Listening
When you click on a topic, you will have two options to choose from: Overview and Activities. Each option is described below.
Overview contains a brief summary describing the topic and why it is important, as well as relevant child development information. Overview also includes:
- Learning Guidelines—Information on how activities align to the Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers.
- Child Development—Information on child development resources.
- Resources—A list of resources containing general early childhood education and topic-specific books and websites.
- Tips—12 summaries, available in English and Spanish, provide a quick look at issues and topics of importance to educators of young children. You can download these PDFs to reread them or share them with families and colleagues.
Tips for Educators of Children Ages Birth to 33 Months
- Put On the Music! (English) (Spanish)
- Let's Read (English) (Spanish)
- Talk! Talk! Talk! (English) (Spanish)
- Getting Ready to Write (English) (Spanish)
- Math Moments (English) (Spanish)
- Time to Play (English) (Spanish)
- Little Scientists (English) (Spanish)
- Helping Children Learn (English) (Spanish)
- Environments That Invite Learning (English) (Spanish)
- Family Partnerships (English) (Spanish)
- Infant and Toddler "Curriculum" (English) (Spanish)
- Build Relationships With Children (English) (Spanish)
There are three key activities for each age group (birth to 15 months; 12 to 33 months.) Each activity focuses on a topic/skill area and includes:
- Instructions for carrying out the activity
- Materials needed for the activity
- Information on the skills and development targeted in the activity
Each activity page also includes:
- More Ideas—A bulleted list of 10–15 additional fun and easy topic ideas to give educators more options to help children explore and grasp skills.
2. MA EARLY LEARNING CURRICULUM (Units/Themes)
For Educators of Children Ages 3 to 5 Years
The Massachusetts Early Learning Curriculum was developed for educators of children ages 3 to 5 years. This comprehensive, media-based STEM and ELA curriculum is fully aligned to standards and enables educators to provide a rich and developmentally appropriate learning environment for preschool-age children.
Whether you are a family child care, center-based, or school-based educator, the curriculum offers you the tools you need to help children build a strong foundation in science and early literacy learning.
The curriculum was created by a team of experts and is based, in part, on two award-winning educational series: PEEP and the Big Wide World (which focuses on STEM learning) and Between the Lions (which focuses on ELA learning).
- The curriculum skillfully integrates age-appropriate media while providing a wide range of print materials by using the hands-on method of science learning and an innovative approach to literacy. In addition to STEM and ELA instruction, the curriculum includes the social-emotional foundations that young children need to grow and succeed.
- The media-based activities promote active, creative engagement by children and also encourage social interaction.
- For information on using media as an educational tool in your setting, go to http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PS_technology_WEB2.pdf.
The following detailed outline will help you understand the curriculum and how to navigate your way through it.
Each of the nine units (30 weeks) of curriculum focuses on concepts and topics familiar to young children. You can use the program Scope and Sequence in each unit as a map to help you chart where specific skills are taught.
The curriculum was created so it could be used in a number of ways—however it best suits your needs. For example:
- Use the full 30-week curriculum in order, from Unit 1 through Unit 9. Each unit builds on the skills and knowledge learned in the previous unit(s).
- Adapt the order in which you teach each unit, or each activity, to fit your program’s needs.
- Use only particular activities or units in order to fill in gaps in your existing curriculum.
Massachusetts Early Learning Curriculum Unit Titles:
- Unit 1—Family, Friends, and More
- Unit 2—Colors All Around
- Unit 3—Stop and Listen
- Unit 4—Making Music
- Unit 5—Ramps and Rolling
- Unit 6—Building Structures
- Unit 7—Watch It Grow
- Unit 8—Plants We Eat
- Unit 9—Wonderful Water
When you click on a Unit/Theme title, you will have three options to choose from: Overview, Curriculum, and Unit Playlist. The options are described below.
Overview contains the following components:
- Unit Introduction—A brief description of the unit concepts, texts, target letters, letter sounds, and words in the unit.
- Unit Learning Goals—A complete list of STEM, ELA, and social-emotional learning goals covered in the unit.
- Learning Centers—A description of what is included in the Learning Centers and tips on effective teaching in the centers.
- Learning Routines—A description of daily routines that focus on individual letters and letter sounds.
- Letter Sort: focus on uppercase and lowercase letters
- Target Letter and Word: focus on target letters and words
- Sandpaper Writing: focus on tracing and writing target letters
- Letters in Our Names: focus on finding target letters in children’s names.
- Tell Me What You Hear: focus on words that begin with a target letter sound.
- Materials—A list of materials, book titles, media assets (with running times), songs and poems, and interactive game titles.
- ELA Educator Preparation—A list of ideas on setting up your room to get ready for specific topic/theme units.
- STEM Educator Preparation—A review of key science concepts covered in the unit, hands-on teacher activities, and ideas for setting up your space to target specific topics or themes.
- Classroom Close-ups—Teacher testimonials that give a glimpse of what Peep science explorations look like in an actual preschool environment.
- Recommended Books and Media—A list of recommended trade books and media that target unit concepts and topics.
- Resources (PDFs)—Scope and Sequence that charts the skills covered in the 30 weeks of curriculum.
Each unit has 2–4 weeks of curriculum activities and corresponding content-specific media and print assets. All activities are fully aligned to the following sets of standards:
- Massachusetts Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts and Literacy (which includes the Common Core state standards), 2011
- Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Standards (STE), 2013
- Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences, 2003
- The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, rev 2011
- Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers, 2010
- Massachusetts Quality Rating System (QRIS), 2010 (Note: The Massachusetts Early Learning Curriculum is aligned to the QRIS, although the QRIS is not specifically noted in each activity.)
Each week of curriculum was created to give children a basic understanding of a specific concept(s) and to provide a roadmap for educators to teach the skills children need to:
- Form ideas about how things work
- Perform simple investigations
- Share and record ideas
- Become readers and writers
- Learn and use content vocabulary
- Develop social relationships
- Develop a healthy respect for themselves and the world around them
When you enter the curriculum section of a unit you will find links to each week in the upper right corner. Each week includes:
- Getting Started—A brief description of the concepts, skills, read-alouds, and target words and letters.
- Learning Goals—A complete list of STEM, ELA, and social-emotional learning goals.
- Classroom Close-ups—Teacher testimonials that give a glimpse of content-specific Peep science explorations in a preschool environment.
- Daily Routines—Explicit instruction and modeling for five days of whole- and small-group activities that build off one another. The curriculum structure is built around the following set of daily routines, which can easily be adapted to suit your particular program or daily needs:
- Morning Meeting
- Discovery Time
- Let’s Read
- Let’s Watch
- Letters, Sounds, and Words
- Let’s Write
- Family Connection
Each activity in the rountines include:
- STEM key concepts
- ELA focus skills
Because learning environments and groups vary among care settings, you will also find that some activities include one or more of the following:
- Adaptation: Strategies for adapting activities to group size, age differences, developmental levels, etc.
- Educator Prep: Suggestions for preparing an activity
- Educator Tip: Reminders of content-specific things to be aware of (e.g., color blindness in the Color unit, fear of worms in Plant unit)
- English Language Learners: Modifications for ELL instruction
- Safety Tip: Reminders for outdoor/indoor explorations
- Social-Emotional Tip: Ways to enhance social-emotional learning
- Take It Further: Ideas for expanding learning
- Learning Centers—Each week of curriculum includes nine learning-specific centers. Educators are encouraged to demonstrate and model activities, invite children to explore the materials on their own and in small groups, and encourage children to interact with one another and collaborate in their play.
- Resources (PDFs)—Weekly PDFs to download and print out for planning and instructional needs, including:
- Weekly Planner: A weekly chart of activities, skills, songs, read-aloud books, media assets, and key vocabulary
- Weekly Materials: A complete list of materials, books, media assets with running times, and a playlist
- Songs and Poems: Song lyrics, poems, and chants to practice and learn before you introduce them to children
- Between the Lions Charts: Many weeks include Between the Lions charts to download (alphabet charts, library cards, etc.)
- Family Connection Letter: A letter for families with a brief overview of the skills and concepts children will be covering in the upcoming week (available in English and Spanish)
Unit Playlist (Media Assets)
The Unit Playlist can be found in the section for Children.
Each playlist is a collection of videos and interactive games used throughout a unit. The playlist gives you easy access to fun, interactive, and educational resources focusing on the concepts and topics of a curriculum unit. Included on each playlist are the following media:
- Full length videos from PEEP and BTL
- Live-action videos from PEEP that show real children exploring STEM concepts
- Video clips from BTL focusing on ELA concepts, letters, and letter sounds
- Video poem and songs
- Interactive games
Educators can choose to have children watch or listen to the media on their own or as part of a group activity.
For information on using media as an educational tool in your setting, go to http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PS_technology_WEB2.pdf.
3. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT VIDEO MODULES
Educators of Children Ages Birth to 5 Years
These 17 engaging and content-rich trainings are designed to help family child care, center-based, and school-based educators learn, understand, and implement various best practices used in childhood education. These trainings can be used by individuals or facilitated groups. Each session includes an introduction to the topic as well as video of educators in action.
The modules are listed below. For educators of children ages birth to 33 months, the trainings are organized by age; for educators of children ages 3 to 5 years, they are topic-specific.
Modules for Educators of Children Ages Birth to 33 Months
- The Roots of Early Learning (birth to 33 months)
- Supporting Young Infants’ Learning (birth to 8 months)
- Supporting Older Infants’ Learning (6 to 15 months)
- Supporting Young Toddlers’ Learning (12 to 24 months)
- Supporting Older Toddlers’ Learning (22 to 33 months)
Modules for Educators of Children Ages 3 to 5 Years
- Building a Community of Readers and Writers
- Creating the Learning Environment
- Engaging Children in Math
- Engaging Children in Meaningful Conversation
- Engaging Children in STEM
- Getting Families Involved
- Having Fun with Phonemic Awareness
- Honoring Diversity
- Individualizing Instruction
- Integrating Media and Technology into Curriculum
- Leading Children in Hands-on Exploration
- Providing Developmentally Appropriate Learning
The modules can be viewed in any order. You may choose to participate in all or only some of the trainings. Resources are provided for individual use and for facilitated groups.
- For individuals, resources for a 45- to 60-minute self-paced training are provided and include questions, background information on best practices, and self-assessment materials.
- For facilitated groups, a Facilitator’s Guide helps trainers offer a 90- to 120-minute training. The guide contains tips on leading a training, background information on best practices, talking points, activities, and handouts.