A developmental approach to the curriculum for young children takes into account the principle that what children should learn, and how they can best learn, changes with their age and the experience that comes with age. Several principles of practice emerge from this basic developmental principle. For example, as children grow older, what they learn changes from horizontal to greater vertical relevance. Similarly, the younger the learner, the more is learned through interactive and active processes rather than through passive and receptive processes. In addition, the younger the learner, the greater the urgency of helping them acquire basic social competence, which is very difficult to acquire later on. These developmental principles of practice imply that a curriculum for young children should include the opportunity to work in small groups on extended investigations of real phenomena in the children’s own environments.
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