A Curriculum Framework for Reflective Teaching 21
What do you bring from your cultural or family
background that influences your work with chil-
dren and families?
What anti-bias practices do you want to strengthen
in yourself?
When you reflect on your observations, what do you
see as significant and why?
Your answers to these questions can help you
define the opportunities you can offer children. Even
if you are required to use a certain curriculum—or
perhaps we should say, especially when you have such
a mandate—you can claim your power to make your
days meaningful and joyful. Remembering that cur-
riculum is everything that happens in your time with
children, your keen eyes and ears must tune in to
how to support what is significant to them. In addi-
tion to principles for self-awareness, we offer ideas
for cultivating a mind-set of receptivity and an abil-
ity to notice details. In this book, you will find prin-
ciples to help you think through possible actions to
take. These include staying alert to personal or insti-
tutional assumptions that might reflect undesirable
biases, seeking the children’s point of view, extend-
ing conversations, and bringing awareness to how
you are becoming a group of responsible, competent
Martin Luther King Jr. Day Home Center
Chapter 6 Core Practice: Coach Children
to Learn about Learning
Begin by creating a classroom culture that fosters
respectful relationships and an eagerness to explore
the provocative materials you make available. Next,
develop a repertoire of possible teacher actions that
will increase your ability to co-create a curriculum
that goes beyond the superficial into the exciting pro-
cess of constructing knowledge. Co-creation is the
operative idea here. Until recently, the early childhood
education field juxtaposed two possible approaches
to curriculum: teacher-directed and child-initiated.

Proponents of one view tend to think negatively
about the other. Though our profession’s definition of
developmentally appropriate practice (Bredekamp and
Copple 2009) rejects a drill-and-recitation approach,
that was never intended to mean that teachers should
play a passive role. While teachers may not be direct-
ing children’s recitations, they are continually playing
the role of stage and prop manager, coach, model, and
improvisational artist helping children learn as they
play (Jones and Reynolds 2011).

There are many things children can learn only
with instruction and support from more experi-
enced people. Studying Vygotsky’s theories of scaf-
folding and the zone of proximal development will
help you see the vitally important role adults can play
in enhancing children’s learning (Berk and Winsler
1995). When young children demonstrate an excite-
ment about the learning process, how do teach-
ers use their skills and knowledge to support them
without taking over? The challenge is to foster eager
learning dispositions in children, helping them gain
skills and resources in order to understand and take
more responsibility for their own learning. Chap-
ter 6 offers specific principles to help you and the
children see that learning is a process with specific
strategies you both can use. Teachers become aware
of cognitive learning styles, often culturally influ-
enced, and try to match these in a culturally appro-
priate way (Hammond 2015). They provide direct
coaching when particular skills, tools, or know-how
would be useful to the children. With careful obser-
vation and listening, you can formulate questions
that help children uncover their curiosities, theories,
and own questions. You show them how to turn to