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Early Childhood Curriculum: Developmental Bases for Learning and Teaching.

Many issues surround early childhood curriculum and practices that support developmental learning and appropriate teaching. Wortham addresses the challenge of writing about these issues, while supporting teachers as decision-makers. Wortham emphasizes our current understanding of child development as a firm foundation for appropriate early childhood curriculum. Child-centered curriculum is not simply a matter of teaching children in formal group settings; indeed, it should be a consequence of the way professionals think about young children's learning.

The first two major sections of this text set forth the following themes: teachers' roles in developing curriculum for a diverse world, developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood settings and developmental characteristics of young children from birth to 8. Newcomers to early childhood and child development will find these chapters very helpful. The next section focuses on programs and practices with infants and toddlers, an age group that is often overlooked in program planning. The middle sections present development domains from ages 3 to 5 that include children's acquisition of language, cognitive growth, social understandings and emotional growth. Professionals who are developing preschool programs will find a lot of help.

The text's largest portion is devoted to programs, transitional curriculum and education content areas for children ages 5 to 18. The latter chapters consider trends and issues, environmental influences, roles for teachers and integrated experiences and curriculum. Wortham includes model programs for children ages 5 to 8 that will help readers understand the transformation of developmental theory into practice.

The end of the text introduces readers to nine early childhood educators who serve as models for promoting developmentally appropriate practices. Four appendices include learning units that integrate various topics and adhere to the principles of developmentally appropriate practice. Wortham has presented a formidable body of work that 1) promotes integrated learning activities based on child development, 2) advocates program planning that is comprehensive and continuous during a child's first eight years of life and 3) encourages early childhood professionals to consider all facets of classroom environments as a method for facilitating young children's growth and learning.

Reviewed by Michael J. Bell, Early Childhood Programs, Arizona Department of Education, Phoenix, AZ
COPYRIGHT 1995 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1995, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Bell, Michael J.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 1995
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