Curriculum Development Process

Teachers worked collaboratively to brainstorm ideas for place-based topics appropriate for their school and based on their students’ interests or community concerns. This often began with an overarching place-based theme. For example, some participating schools chose oceans or gardening. For each unit topic, teachers used concept mapping or webbing to develop the sub-unit topics and to brainstorm possible activities/lessons related to these topics.



1. Brainstorm topic ideas and related ideas

  • Capture ideas on a concept map
  • Questions to consider:
  1. How is this place-based?
  2. Was this based on interests? Whose (student interest, community concerns)?
  3. What are the available resources (school, community, students’ families, experts, etc.)?

2. Identify the unit topic

3. Develop justification for the topic choice

  • Include such things as the concepts and skills that can be learned, the school’s mission, values, student/teacher interest, place-based connection, other meaningful connections, etc.



4. Brainstorm further ideas and possible subtopics

5. Identify subtopics

6. Develop justification for the inclusion of each subtopic

  • Include place-based connections, general learning objectives, reasons it is a worthwhile subtopic, etc.

7. Identify resources available and needed for each subtopic

8. Identify the learning objectives for each subtopic

  • This includes science skills and processes

9. Consider how you might assess children’s prior knowledge and skill level for each learning objective

  • This is often embedded within the selected activities



10. Brainstorm developmentally appropriate, place-based activities to meet the learning goals

11. Select potential activities

12. Write a brief description of each activity

  • Include:
  1. What the children will do
  2. Place-based connections
  3. Resources needed
  4. Suggestions for pre/post assessment of learning
  5. Connections to other areas (Literacy, Math, Social Studies/Culture, Art, Music, Physical Development, Social Development, etc.)

13. Complete the Mohala Activity Plan Template for each activity

  • Incorporate the CREDE Standards: JPA, LLD, CTX, CT, IC, MD, CDA
  • Number learning objectives identified in number 8 above
  • Use local school/program values and Preschool Standards, HCPS III, CCSS, NGSS, NRC Framework, NAEYC Accreditation Criteria for Science, or other as appropriate