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An Integrated
Approach to
Curriculum 1
Early childhood educators are always looking for the best way to
introduce new skills and concepts to children. In the field of education today,
there are all sorts of ways to learn new strategies and remain aware of the most
recent trends in education. Teachers read books, talk to other teachers, attend
conferences, take classes, attend webinars, read blogs, and utilize social media
platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

As teachers pick
Teachers can participate
in online weekly Twitter
chats. A few popular early
childhood Twitter chats
include #ecetechchat,
#kinderchat, #1stchat,
and #TeacherFriends. In
these chats, teachers have
access to all sorts of new
ideas and resources.

and choose the best
ways to gather informa-
tion in regard to their
teaching, they establish
a personalized Profes-
sional Learning Network
(PLN). For example, if
I were to describe my
PLN, I would discuss
how I use Twitter to get
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CHAPTER ONE
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a quick answer to a question; I read printed, bound professional texts so that
I can leave notes in my margins and place sticky notes on the pages I want
to come back to; and I attend conferences to network and meet new people
face-to-face. Just as each child learns differently, so do teachers, so each teacher
develops her own PLN.

Factors Preventing an Integrated Curriculum
Approach When teachers use their PLNs to seek new teaching strategies, they acquire
new and innovative ways of teaching to support learning that is unique to
their contexts. As they discover ideas, teachers can get particularly energized
when they learn how to better integrate their units across the curriculum. Even
though most teachers recognize the importance of integrating units, a number
of factors can distract them from doing so, including these:
• decreased energy and motivation after professional development
• job-related stress
• focused content explored in a given area
Decreased Energy and Motivation after Professional
Development One of the books I have used most, both in my classroom and when working
with other teachers, is The Power of Guidance: Teaching Social-Emotional Skills
in Early Childhood Classrooms by Dan Gartrell (2004). This book is chock-full
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