What is Creative Curriculum®?

YMCA uses a research-based approach for their day care and preschool programs.

Today the definition of “ready” for kindergarten is changing.

Not too long-ago your child was ready for kindergarten if they were healthy, considerate of others, can communicate their needs verbally, follow directions, pay attention and share. However, most states have specific guidelines to determine a child’s kindergarten readiness. According to the National Research Council, it is important for preschool to instill in your child a sufficient foundation for learning. 

Building a strong foundation for learning at the YMCA

One curriculum is showing positive results when it comes to building that learning foundation: The Creative Curriculum®. According to an independent research study, The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool had significantly higher literacy and mathematics scores than children in classrooms where another curriculum was used.

The YMCA day care and preschool programs use The Creative Curriculum® as the foundation for creating the best programs for children. This research-based, age-appropriate approach is challenging, engaging, culturally and linguistically responsive and promotes positive outcomes for children.

The curriculum empowers teachers to understand not only the what and how to teach, but why particular practices are effective. Knowing the theory behind child development helps teachers adapt to each child’s learning strengths.

The Creative Curriculum® has five fundamental principles that guide preschool program:

  • Positive interactions and relationships with adults provide a critical foundation for successful learning
  • Social-emotional competence is a significant factor in school success
  • Constructive, purposeful play supports essential learning
  • The physical environment affects the type and quality of learning interactions
  • Teacher/family partnerships promote development and learning

The result of these fundamental principles is a comprehensive curriculum with a clear organizational structure and a particular focus on routines and learning experiences. Developmentally appropriate challenges foster joyful and purposeful learning while they address specific needs.

YMCA goes beyond the curriculum to support the whole human

Supporting the whole human is important for kids to develop, learn and thrive. This is why the YMCA developed the Healthy Kids Initiative. Using Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards, your child is exposed to all types of healthy eating, nutrition and physical activities to help them develop lifelong habits, and have fun while doing it.

At YMCA we have three initiatives to keep kids and their families excited and learning about healthy choices:

  • Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH): Walk, run, jump, dance and move through fun and play. CATCH brings nutrition, physical activity and relationship building to the classroom.
  • Food Philosophy: When we feel our best, we thrive. Our Food Philosophy ensures we always offer nutritious food options to teach your kids healthy food habits.
  • Farm to YMCA: Children will learn about more than eating when it comes to food. They’ll also get to dig in with hands-on gardening and cooking activities.

Can’t find a program that uses The Creative Curriculum®?

No matter what program you choose for your child, you want to find a program that is based on research and is continually evaluated for effectiveness. Accreditation is a good indicator of a high-quality early childhood education program. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education (NAECS/ SDE) outlines effective curriculum features in early childhood education programs. Curriculums should be:

  • Thoughtful planned
  • Challenging and engaging
  • Developmentally appropriate
  • Culturally and linguistically responsive
  • Critical development and learning areas

Some states might also have their own grading systems for early childhood education program quality. For example, Minnesota has Parent Aware Star Ratings to help parents find high-quality early childhood programs in Minnesota. Participating programs receive ratings between one and four stars, four being the highest quality.

YMCA day care and preschool are NAEYC-accredited and Parent Aware 4-Start programs. Our goal is to provide well-rounded experiences that nurture and enhance your child’s development. The purposeful, educational activities your child experiences stimulate critical thinking skills, develop creativity and enhance learning. Children are stimulated physically, emotionally, developmentally and socially, preparing them for future success. 

Comparing Child Outcomes: Examining the Impact of Creative Curriculum® for Preschool. 2013. https://teachingstrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/TS-Comparing-Child-Outcomes-2013.pdf

Research Foundation: The Creative Curriculum®. 2010. https://teachingstrategies.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Research-Foundation-Creative-Curriculum-1.pdf