Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Schachter, R. E., Piasta, S. B., & Justice, L. (2020). Choosing quality early childhood curricula. NHSA Dialog: Research to Practice, 23(2), 95-101.


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This article summarizes a study investigating the curricula and features of those curricula used by 497 early childhood educators across one Midwestern state. Curricula were identified and coded for quality features derived from the research, theory, and policy literatures. Results indicated that most educators utilized Creative Curriculum or High Scope (over 60%); however, these and many other curricula did not include all the key quality features. Importantly, most educators were utilizing curricula with no evidence of effectiveness for supporting children’s outcomes. Furthermore, limitations in the presence of key curricula features may indicate that curricula generally are not adequately supporting early childhood educators. We conclude with a series of questions for educators and programs to consider when selecting their curriculum.