A content analysis of the appropriateness of kindergarten curriculum and curricular materials for high-ability students

Date of Completion

January 1993


Education, Early Childhood|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Research in early childhood education has continually demonstrated the importance of providing training and guidance to children during their early years. Kindergarten programs are now an important part of primary education. These programs have to adapt to a changing and diverse population (e.g., change in family or in the workforce), and therefore new curriculum and new techniques for meeting the needs of students are often sought by teachers and parents. One approach to meeting these needs has been to develop curriculum according to the developmental needs of children of a specific age group. Research indicates that the developmental approach establishes a broader, individualized, learning base than other instructional approaches. Researchers, however, currently report a wide range of variability with respect to the quality of these developmentally appropriate curriculum guides and materials.^ Developmentally appropriate curriculum has been defined as curriculum that is created to meet the developmental needs of the child, rather than basing curriculum decisions solely on the chronological age of the child. Little research has been found which addresses high ability young children, and how the curriculum is modified to meet their needs, even though kindergarten curriculum has been a topic of concern for the past few years. The objective of this study was to investigate the appropriateness of kindergarten curriculum guidelines and curricular materials used in kindergarten to meet the developmental needs of high ability kindergarten students.^ A content analysis was used to assess two areas: kindergarten curriculum guidelines, from various sources such as State Departments of Education across the country and other major professional organizations; and curricular materials. A total of 114 guidelines representing 49 states were analyzed according to the Kindergarten Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum Classification Form (KDACCF, Caillard, 1993). The form was developed for this study.^ Findings of this study include the following. Documents available to kindergarten teachers or curriculum developers are inconsistent in quality, content, and format, and a misunderstanding exists between curriculum guidelines and lists of outcomes. A discrepancy exists between actual guidelines and the activities created to follow these guidelines, few curricular modifications are suggested in the guidelines or implemented in the curricular materials for young high ability students at the kindergarten level, and finally assessment, especially preassessment, is almost nonexistent. ^