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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Implementing Curriculum through the Planning/Observation/Individualization Cycle question is LEARNING GOALS. Everything a teacher does with the children is based on clearly defined, age-appropriate learning goals. Learning goals based on reasonable expectations for preschool or kindergarten children are the focus of the curriculum process. At all times, teachers must keep in mind learning goals in all domains (cogni- tive, physical, and social/emotional) that will support the healthy devel- opment of each child: learning goals that are just right for three- to six-year-olds. These learning goals may come from early learning stan- dards or from assessment tools. Of course, it’s ideal for assessment and curricular goals to be the same so teachers don’t have to jump back and forth between different sources with differing expectations. Learning goals are at the core of preschool and kindergarten curriculum, as the graphic below illustrates. The Planning/Observation/Individualization Cycle Planning Implementation Age-appropriate Individualization, adjustments, and accommodations goals integrated in all activities Observation Reflection Notice that the learning goals at the center of this curriculum process are age appropriate. Over the past decade, kindergarten teachers were asked to “up the ante” in their classrooms, to expect five-year-old children (often turning six) to be taught in ways that resemble what one might see in a first- or second-grade classroom. Paper and pencil tasks took the place of play centers, and learning to read became a kindergarten expectation. As higher kindergarten expectations became prevalent, parents began to COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 19