Principles of Connect4Learning

About Connect4Learning

Connect4Learning (C4L) is an interdisciplinary early childhood curriculum, the development of which was funded by the National Science Foundation. C4L aims to synthesize research-based approaches in four domains of learning: mathematics, science, literacy, and social-emotional development. The curriculum uses an interdisciplinary approach to address growing concerns that the majority of preschool instructional time is devoted to literacy at the expense of other content areas, particularly mathematics and science.

The C4L research team is composed of nationally recognized experts in early childhood education: Julie Sarama, Kimberly Brenneman, Douglas H. Clements, Nell K. Duke, and Mary Louise Hemmeter. This team followed an intensive research and development framework to guide the curriculum's development, which resulted in six instructional units for pre-kindergarten children and their teachers. This paper identifies the developmental and educational needs addressed by C4L, outlines the program's three phases of development, highlights the curriculum's structure, and proposes future avenues of exploration.

Principles of Connect4Learning

Six components of C4L's underlying framework guide teachers in overarching principles and packaged lesson plans to deliver high-quality learning experiences for our Kindergarten bound students.

  • Learning Trajectories and Goals

    Based on research and help explain what pre-kindergarteners know and don't know and how to help them build on their existing strengths. C4Ls principal goals are to teach the big ideas and key knowledge and skills of mathematics, science, literacy, and social-emotional learning.

  • Instructional Activities

    Activities and strategies teachers use to help children move to the next level of their intellectual development. The curriculum includes planned activities for each unit. Informational texts in the context of science and math learning create a more authentic approach to literacy development.

  • Units of Instruction

    Established in this interdisciplinary and project-based curriculum; 6 of which are identified: 1) Connecting with School and Friends, 2) Our Environment, 3) How Structures Are Built, 4) Exploring Museums, 5) Growing Our Garden, 6) How We've Grown

  • Thinking Processes

    These are included in the lesson plans to support children in the process of learning. These include: communicating and representing; cooperating; comparing and classifying; creating, imagining and innovating; curiosity; observing; persisting, attending, and self-regulating; reasoning and problem-solving; making sense; using tools strategically.

  • Formative Assessment

    A tool that helps educators determine what to do next to help a child move along his or her learning trajectory based on measurable criteria. Teachers monitor children's learning to determine where each child stands developmentally. Next, teachers modify their teaching in response to what they've learned.

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