Quality instruction in early childhood focuses on play-based learning that combines both teacher-directed and child-directed activities. Unfortunately, many classrooms that support at-risk children often lack a core curriculum that aligns to developmental milestones and state guidelines. Our activity collections help teachers design themes that connect and reinforce concepts and prepare classrooms for intentional activities across multiple areas of development.
Activities support language, literacy, social-emotional, mathematics, and science skills. Each activity is matched to a specific age group (from 0 months through six years). Infant and toddler classroom activities are very flexible, focus on promoting the quality of language and sensitivity of the caregiver, and provide useful tips and suggestions for helping children understand new words and concepts. PreK/kindergarten activities incorporate the same goals but are structured around a standard lesson cycle, with teacher tips and extensions to enrich implementation. Scripting is included, providing example dialogue for what a teacher might say to introduce the activity, model the objective, scaffold children’s responses, and so on. Finally, our family collection includes activities that are designed or adapted for parents and caregivers to support skill growth using everyday materials in the home environment. English and Spanish versions of all activities are now available!
Many activities also include a demonstration video for teachers/caregivers to see the activity implemented with high quality. CLI partners with local schools, childcare centers, and families to film the activities in authentic contexts. Each video is then edited and overlaid with annotations that help viewers track the quality caregiving and/or instructional strategies used. The videos themselves serve as powerful professional development resources that complement other online and face-to-face trainings and are used extensively in CLI’s statewide intervention as a tool in teacher coaching.
Finally, all the activity pieces are put together in a web-based platform that is linked directly from the progress monitoring system and will incorporate the lesson planning tools in our next phase of development. This integration with other research-based tools provides a comprehensive set of instructional supports at no cost to eligible programs–a unique effort among initiatives aiming to support at-risk children in under-served communities.