Curiosity Corner

Imagine preschool classrooms in which children are expanding their vocabularies and building math, science, art, music, and interpersonal skills. They do it by playing games, singing songs, hearing stories and making up their own, engaging in make believe, and much more. Rich, engaging video from Sesame Street and other sources is part of their day, and then four days a week children take home DVDs with more Sesame Street and other video content to view with their parents, making a key link between home and school as parents learn how to support the themes and skills being taught in school that same day. Wouldn’t you want your own child in such a pre-K class? Wouldn’t you want everyone’s child to have this experience?

This is what the new Curiosity Corner-Second Edition (CC2) is designed to do. It provides preschool educators with print and electronic content and professional development designed to transform preschool classrooms and link them to children’s homes.

Three- and four-year-olds are natural scientists, engineers, and linguists. They are curious about everything, and have endless energy to explore and learn. As national policies are focusing on expanding preschool opportunities to prepare children for kindergarten, preschool educators have new opportunities to create rich learning environments for children at this critical stage of life.
           
Curiosity Corner uses themes, cooperative learning, center-based activities, reading circles, and video at home and school to engage, excite, and educate young children in school and beyond.

Curiosity Corner-2: Program Elements
Curiosity Corner-2 is a comprehensive program for three- and four-year- old preschoolers designed to provide a strong foundation in language and literacy, mathematics, science, listening and social skills, creative expression, and positive self-esteem through a holistic, thematic approach to instruction.

Curiosity Corner-2 provides teachers with well-structured thematic units aligned with state and national early learning guidelines. The program includes detailed instructions and provides many of the materials necessary to implement a stimulating, engaging program, while training and supporting the educators who are implementing the program. 

Click here for brochure.

How is Curiosity Corner-2 structured? 
Curiosity Corner-2 consists of 18 integrated two-week thematic units that relate to children’s lives, interests, and surroundings. Children are introduced to concepts, they engage in concrete activities related to those concepts, and then they are given time to review the concepts again. The Curiosity Corner Teacher’s Manual provides general outcomes, philosophy, a description of curriculum components, teaching strategies, Home Links, teacher support, and assessment tools. Curiosity Corner’s integrated approach is built on a daily sequence of components. 


What teacher supports are provided?
Each teacher receives a teacher’s manual. Except for basic equipment and supplies typical of a well-equipped early childhood classroom and some teacher-acquired materials, SFAF supplies the materials necessary to implement Curiosity Corner-2 in kits that include:
  • theme guides for each two-week unit;
  • theme-related children’s books;
  • manipulatives;
  • games;
  • video content on flash drives to use during circle time
  • other materials to support the theme-related activities.
Each two-week theme guide contains:
  • a rationale and introduction to the theme
  • a Learning Focus - a web indicating what learning objectives are covered in the unit
  • a Peek at the Week - an overview of the week’s activities
  • a list of materials needed for the unit
  • detailed lessons for implementing each of the components in a ten-day sequence, including the Learning Labs for the theme, thematic rhymes, and recipes
  • a Resource Corner - a bibliography of books associated with the theme
  • icons indicating where video content can be inserted. This uses material from Sesame Street and other sources to reinforce themes, vocabulary, letters/sounds, math, music, and movement
  • Parent Pages (in English and Spanish) to introduce the theme to families
  • appendices with patterns, games, and handouts related to various topics in early education
Click here for a sample lesson

Home Links
Home Links are videos that children watch at home 20 minutes each day, four days a week. Most of the content comes from beloved Sesame Street shows. The Home Links are sent home on DVD disks. Each show contains material on the theme of the week, theme-related vocabulary, letters and sounds, math, a narrated book, and music and movement. Parents are given suggested activities to do with their kids to follow up on the Home Links. Guides are provided in English and Spanish. Parents and children love Home Links. In a survey, parents said that the first thing their kids wanted to do when they got home was to view their Home Links!


Professional Development and Coaching
One key to Curiosity Corner’s success is the in-depth professional development provided by the SFAF coaches to support teachers’ implementation of the thematic units.

Year 1
  • Two days of initial training in the program for all teachers and assistants working with the preschool
  • Additional training sessions/implementation visits during the school year designed to meet the particular needs of the teachers in the cluster
  • Additional training provided at a Curiosity Corner Coaches and Facilitators Conference each fall
Year 2
  • A day-long refresher and four additional training sessions/implementation visits
  • Additional training for Curiosity Corner coaches at the SFA Experienced Sites Conferences

Scope and Sequence
The program’s focus on language and literacy is based on research that supports the promotion of oral language and emergent literacy as key factors in later academic achievement. The program provides a balanced developmental approach emphasizing language and literacy in the context of physical, emotional, and interpersonal development, math, science, social studies, music, movement, and art.