Module 04 Course Project – Early Childhood Program Design

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A major part in effective early childhood education is determining an overall educational philosophy that will guide your practice. This philosophy may be inspired by one or many theorists in the field of education, or it may be based on one or more overarching ideas based in best practices. The early learning environment is then designed to support that philosophy, using environmental layouts and materials that facilitate learning in specific ways. Finally, a daily schedule helps to guide daily interactions and routines to ensure that the overall program philosophy is adhered to and the program operates smoothly on a daily basis.

In Part 1 of this project, you will designate a program philosophy for a particular group of learners, design a room layout to facilitate that philosophy, and list what materials should be included in that space to support learning. You will also design a schedule showing how your program is run on a daily basis.

Another part of effective early childhood education is the ability to create early learning plans and activities for designated age groups. Of the curriculum methods previously described in this module, themed lesson planning is by far the most widely used.

In Part 2 of this project, you will design a thematic curriculum/lesson plan to help you facilitate your program philosophy. You will then choose one activity from this lesson plan and describe it in further detail. The templates for these documents are provided below.

Portions of this project were designed to help you build digital fluency, or the ability to work with various electronic tools, documents, and files. This ability will be beneficial in your communications as an early childhood professional, including in the daily updates that you send to families and the electronic assessments you may work with. This project will help you gain experience with varied forms of communication and allow you to use your creativity at the same time.

Both parts of this project combined should amount to the following:

  • Approximately two-to-three typed pages that include your program philosophy and materials list
  • A separate APA-formatted title page and reference page
  • One program schedule
  • One program layout illustration
  • One thematic web
  • One activity guide

Refer to the course readings, online lectures, and Live Classroom information to inform your designs. Make use of the Rasmussen College Library resources to find scholarly information. The Library also has resources to help guide and assist you with your research, writing, and digital fluency.

Part 1: Design an Early Childhood Program

To complete this part of the assignment, do the following:

  1. In a minimum of two pages, discuss program philosophy and age(s) of children:
    1. Discuss the setting and philosophy, explaining the educator’s role in play practices and activities.
    2. Designate one age group to focus on (if designing a mixed-age program, describe the number of children and their age ranges).
    3. Include at least three sources of information to support your program philosophy. One portion of information should come from a scholarly resource (a journal or peer reviewed article). Be sure to cite your sources and list them on an APA formatted reference page.
  2. Design a visual of your classroom layout, including learning centers:

a.Include the physical room/environment plan and structure. Use Microsoft PowerPoint or other presentation software/webware to illustrate where you will place your stations and centers, clearly labeling each area. Be sure to include visual elements such as word art, clip art, or placed images.

b.List at least two materials for EACH of the following centers, or supplies to have on hand for activities in the following learning areas. (This information can go in your existing written document.)


      • Literacy
      • Math
      • Sensory
      • Art
      • Science
      • Music and movement
      • Dramatic play
      • Outdoor play
  1. Design a daily schedule:
    1. Create a sample schedule that clearly displays times for each activity/routine and details about which activities happen throughout the day.
    2. Indicate at least three points on the schedule that will require you to help transition learners from one activity to the next.
    3. Describe in detail how you will communicate to children that a change in activities is coming.
    4. Explain how each transition can help them as they move from one activity to the next.
  2. Part 2: Create a Thematic Web and an Activity Guide
    To complete this part of the assignment, first download the following two assignment templates:

    Thematic Web Template

    Activity Guide Template

    Next, do the following:

    1. Choose a curriculum theme. Be sure to choose a theme that will allow you to create developmentally appropriate activities, based on the age group(s) you focused on in Part 1.
    2. Use the thematic web template download to create a weekly lesson plan that illustrates how you will integrate your theme into different learning areas.
      • List your age group and theme in the center of the web.
      • Use the “branches” of the web to indicate six different activities you will offer. Each activity should involve a different learning center (refer to the eight possible learning centers listed in Part 1).
    3. Choose ONE of the activities listed in your thematic web/lesson plan to focus on. Describe the activity in detail by filling out the activity guide template download.

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