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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 6 Introduction classrooms. These frameworks will help teachers “pull it all together” while integrating the very best curricular approaches they use every day in the classroom. Preschool and kindergarten children have unique needs and learning traits. The frameworks in this book are designed to help teachers organize the classroom and plan activities that will work with, rather than against, the needs and traits of this age group—not pushing down curricular practices that work with older children but representing those that are just right for young children. Teachers of preschool and kindergarten children often combine a variety of curricular approaches and strategies that fall under the general heading of “developmentally appropriate practices.” They incorporate as- pects of environment-based learning centers with curriculum that emerges from children’s interests. They integrate academic learning into hands-on exploration and play while paying very close attention to children’s social and emotional development. I think curriculum is truly represented by a teacher’s plans. No matter what approach or curricular model she uses, her plans for the daily sched- ule, for the materials available, for facilitating play experiences, and for leading group times are the actual implementation of curriculum. Some curricular sets may provide a model planning framework, but teachers often tell me it’s difficult to record the actual happenings in the classroom as they respond to children’s interests, observe children’s successes and challenges, and make adjustments to meet each child’s needs. Their recorded plans include only their preplanned activities and materials, not the changes they make each day based on their observations of the children in action. The frameworks presented in this book come originally from my book Focused Early Learning: A Planning Framework for Teaching Young Children (Gronlund 2003). Since the publication of Focused Early Learning, I have worked with hundreds of preschool and kindergarten teachers on the plan- ning process. Through the experiences of these colleagues, I have realized some key components that should always be part of a planning framework. I have also learned that there are different ways to structure the written planning record to reflect those key components. So several models for planning and reflection will be presented here. You can review them and decide which ones might work best for your setting and your teaching and planning style. Planning and reflection are critically important aspects of intentional teaching. It’s the process that is the focus. I hope the frame- COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL