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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 18 Chapter One Sarah: “I have had the opportunity to use the planning/observation process and have helped Ms. Anne sees Brandon trying to cut with scissors. As he turns them upside down, she notes his growing frustration and decides to move toward him and offer assistance. She carefully places her hand over his, turns his hand upside down, and helps him to make a snip. He smiles broadly. “You did it!” she says. others as they begin to implement such an approach. The results have always been positive and have guided me and other teachers to know the children in a different, more supportive way. The relationship is deeper, and we have been more able to meet the children’s needs.” Sue: “I realize the curriculum process has to start somewhere, with planning, but sometimes the observation precedes the planning. This is especially true when the children have initiated something unexpected or have developed a certain interest and the teacher looks for ways to incorporate this spontaneous spark.” Preschool and kindergarten teachers also make hundreds of planned accommodations to help children learn or to build relationships. They seat certain children next to each other because they recognize that the pair- ing will be successful. Or they seat children on their own laps for just the same reason. They plan a change to the manipulative area because they notice that the puzzles are not being cared for, and they hypothesize that the available puzzles are too easy for many of the children. They plan ways to support children who are struggling with a particular skill and ways to challenge children in their areas of strength. To make adjustments and accommodations in the curriculum to sup- port the learning of individual children and of the group, teachers continu- ally evaluate the following areas: • available materials • activity length • level of physical involvement (active or passive) • amount of teacher direction versus the amount of child choice • activity themes (teacher-determined or based on children’s interests) • activity goals or goals for individual children Whether spontaneous or carefully planned, all of these adjustments and accommodations are based on teachers’ deep knowledge of the chil- dren, careful observation, and thoughtful reflection about the daily hap- penings in the classroom. Then the curriculum process begins again. Once teachers have reflected on individual and group needs, they plan, imple- ment, and observe again. That’s the curriculum process in action! The Importance of Goals On what is this curriculum process—this planning/observation/individual- ization cycle—based? How will a teacher know that her plans and adjust- ments are making a difference in children’s learning? The answer to that COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL