Eastern Connecticut State University
Center for
Early Childhood Education
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Investigations Curriculum

Center faculty collaborated with the director and teachers of the children's program to develop the Investigations curriculum. The curriculum is based on the theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Malaguzzi, and the classroom applications of their work by Forman, Gandini, Katz, Leong, and Bedrova. The curriculum is centered around engaging projects—called "investigations"—on topics that are selected by children, teachers, and families. As children investigate a topic in learning centers, small collaborative groups, whole group activities, movement and music experiences, outdoor observation, or field trips, they acquire critical competencies identified in the Connecticut State Department of Education Curriculum and Assessment Framework and the standards of national professional organizations. Children’s progress toward achieving these competencies is assessed through anecdotal records, sampling of children’s work and play, photos and video, and interviews with parents. Four pillars—evidence-based strategies—support children’s investigations: play scaffolding (a special kind of adult support as children play), collaborative learning projects, evidence-based arrangement of learning centers, and portfolio assessment.

The underlying principles of the curriculum are as follows:

  • Preschool children actively make sense of the world through the use of prior knowledge and skills.
  • Content knowledge, critical thinking skills, and learning processes are equally important.
  • Children have a natural curiosity about the far away, long ago, nature, and the world.
  • Young children can construct content knowledge about any phenomenon as long as the can build on prior knowledge.
  • Unique content can lead to curiosity, exploration, and a sense of wonder that stretches thinking.
  • Aspects of the physical environment are important to shaping children's content knowledge as well as across disciplines.

View the Investigations Handbook

Read an article by a CFDRC teacher describing how the curriculum is implemented in the classroom.


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