What is curriculum? It’s a map. It tells you how to get where you want to go. It will have overall goals for your age group. Through the year, the lessons will take you toward that goal. Lessons are the points of interest you pass as you travel the route on the “map.” Each lesson you pass puts you one step nearer your overall goal. In fact, each of these interest points (or lesson plans) has goals of its own that fit into the bigger picture.
Plan for all possibilities
I used the same curriculum, the same lesson plans, for eight years. Each year was different. One year I had twelve children in my class. The next year I had twenty-eight. One year my students included several foreign children. Another year I had a child in a wheelchair. One year the kids listened eagerly at group time. The next year, they were into rough-and-tumble wrestling instead of listening. I’ve taught in tiny classrooms and huge classrooms. I’ve taught in situations where I had only 45 minutes to complete the activities, and others where I had 90 minutes. Can one lesson plan cover all these possibilities? No.
When you get your lesson plan, read it and ask yourself some questions:
Does this fit my class needs?
Does this fit the time schedule I have?
Does this fit the materials available to me?
Does this fit the abilities and interests of my children?
Does this fit the space available to me?
Delete or add activities according to your answers to these questions.
Broaden your choices
How do you find activities to add? You need resource books. Good activity books broaden your choices. You may also think of some activities on your own. If you are really going to be child-sensitive, you’ll opt for more original arts and crafts as well as other types of activities.
As you think about the activities you need, remember to “Take AIM.” Make your lessons Age-appropriate, Interesting, and Meaningful.
Children want to be where the action is. Where the excitement is. Where it matters. Where you care. And they know you care when you spend the time to help them enjoy the lesson through age-appropriate, interesting, meaningful activities.