Early Childhood Curriculum

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VDOE believes that quality teaching and learning is supported by promoting curriculum use in all settings. Using approved and effective curricula helps teachers support learning and development of critical learning skills in all early childhood programs and settings.

A high-quality curriculum defines specific, sequenced learning goals to meet all children’s individual needs, including children with disabilities, suspected delays, or other special needs, and provides developmentally-appropriate structure and sequence to classroom activities that promote children’s engagement.

Curriculum in VQB5 

VQB5 measures the quality of infant, toddler, and preschool teaching and learning based on two nationally recognized quality indicators: Interactions and Curriculum.  

Research shows that stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children, and effective use of quality curriculum promotes children’s holistic learning and development, resulting in improved school readiness. 

Curriculum is a key ingredient to helping teachers improve their interactions, providing ways to create nurturing and responsive practices and environments that foster trust and emotional security. 

The optional use of a comprehensive curriculum in alignment with Virginia’s Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS) ensures that all areas of learning and development are being covered in developmentally appropriate ways. Programs participating in VQB5 are not required to use curriculum. (ELDS Spanish Version)

For more information about Curriculum in VQB5, please refer to the VQB5 Curriculum FAQ document. (VQB5 Curriculum FAQ Spanish Version)

The Connection between CLASS and Curriculum  

Curriculum consists of the “plans for the learning experiences through which all children acquire knowledge, skills, abilities, and understanding.” 

Curriculum helps teachers provide quality interactions that promote learning. 

The following document describes how the CLASS Framework and a high-quality curriculum play complementary roles in promoting positive outcomes for young children. 

Resources to Support Curriculum Choice 

Virginia is addressing disparities in access to quality curriculum by expanding options for publicly funded birth to five programs who do not have an approved curriculum in place. Programs that do not have a curriculum that meets VDOE’s Baseline Criteria for High-Quality Birth to Five Curriculum as listed in the pre-submission checklist should not rush to purchase a new product. The resources listed below are designed to support programs in selecting a quality curriculum that meets the program’s unique needs.

  • Virginia’s Vetted and Approved Curriculum List
    • Virginia ECE programs can choose and use one of the 60+ VDOE-approved curricula. This document, updated monthly, includes a list of currently approved early childhood curriculum options.
    • There are three free/low-cost approved options: 
  • Early Childhood Curriculum Vendor "Get to Know You" Series Library - To assist Virginia early childhood providers in exploring curriculum options, VDOE hosted a "Get to Know You" Lunch & Learn series featuring representatives from Virginia-approved curriculum vendors. The archived recordings of this series give providers the opportunity to learn about and compare different curriculum options. Each recording features up to 3 vendors and an overview of curriculum in VQB5. 

  • VQB5 Curriculum Options and Access - Webinar Recording
    •  As a 2023 Fall Refresher, VDOE released a pre-recorded webinar which shares information for providers on 1) the background and purpose of Virginia’s commitment to school readiness, 2) curriculum use and expectations for sites in VQB5, 3) resources to support curriculum choice from the vetted and approved list, and 4) an overview of the curriculum review process and pending curricula timeline.
  • Child Care Financing Program - The Virginia Child Care Financing Program offers low cost loans to eligible child care programs through the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA). This financing can be used to enhance the Early Care and Education learning environment, improve quality, and support business components of a child care program.

VQB5’s Curriculum Review Process 

Virginia ECE programs can seek approval for a curriculum already in use in their site/program. 

VDOE’s multi-level process begins with an interested program leader’s review and completion of the Curriculum Pre-Submission Checklist for Birth to Five Programs

Note: Completion of the Curriculum Pre-Submission Checklist does not guarantee a comprehensive review will be conducted by VDOE. 

Supplemental Curriculum

While VQB5 currently reviews and measures the use of comprehensive curriculum, the use of a supplemental curriculum (e.g. social-emotional curriculum, literacy curriculum, or math curriculum) is another option for providers to meet the needs of their students. Supplemental curriculum can complement, enrich, and extend the content found in a comprehensive curriculum package. 

Contact Cassandra Caffee Morelock for more information about Curriculum.