At Two Wishes Child Care, we use a variety of curricula to ensure that the children in our care blossom from roots to wings. Curriculum is the organized framework that describes and explains the materials children are using, the relationships between caregivers and children, the environment through which children are learning the content children are learning, the processes through which they achieve the curricular goals, the activities children are doing, and the routines of the program. Some curricula is very specific to a certain domain (such as a math curriculum), while other curricula explores the larger picture.


Our foundation is based on The Creative Curriculum for Family Child Care by Teaching Strategies. This developmentally appropriate curriculum sets up a strong, high-quality, research-based foundation for family child care programs. From the manual, “It describes the ‘what, why, how, when, and where’ of providing care and education for children birth to age 12.” As Teaching Strategies explains, Creative Curriculum provides the road map for family child are providers. Creative Curriculum ensures that providers:

  • Provide responsive, loving care.
  • Use routines.
  • Talk to all children on-on-one as well as in groups.
  • Use relationships to guide children’s learning.
  • Comfort and otherwise respond intentionally to children, especially those that are under stress.
  • Provide all children with opportunities to play.
  • Provide at least an hour of free, unstructured play daily.
  • Observe children’s interests and build on them.
  • Encourage children to engage in make-believe pay.
  • Provide long periods of unstructured, imaginative play.
  • Teach the whole child.
  • Give children many choices and chances to investigate how things work.
  • Encourage children to solve problems and take appropriate risks.
  • Model self-talk that supports children’s cognitive development.
  • Surround children with language.
  • Offer opportunities for children to work together.
  • Develop positive relationships with family.
  • Communicate with families regularly.
  • Encourage children’s families to volunteer in the program.
  • Reach out to all family members.

Here at Two Wishes Child Care, we also firmly believe in the Strengthening Families approach developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The key to the Strengthening Families approach is building parent partnerships. We strive to help families develop the five protective factors and support a two- or three-generation approach to child care. The five protective factors are:

  • Parental Resilience
  • Social Connections
  • Concrete Supports in Times of Need
  • Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
  • Social and Emotional Competence of Children

Other Curricula, Lessons, and Educational Tools

We use a variety of educational tools to deepen and broaden our knowledge, enhance our skills, and inform our policies in early childhood education. These tools cover all early childhood education domains to help us produce well-rounded children.

Coordinated Approach to Child Health [CATCH]

CATCH Early Childhood is a physical education curriculum with over 500 activities that promote moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The vision is: “to provide children with a variety of robust physical activity experiences which nurture their love of movement. CATCH Early Childhood PE achieves this vision by: offering a wide variety of movement experiences and opportunities, providing children a safe place to be themselves and develop skills at their own pace, promoting physical development by giving children opportunities to practice and refine their motor skills, and, developing fitness by engaging children in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity” (card 5).

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Jaime over at Cosmic Kids Yoga does a fantastic job in leading children through amazing, physically-active adventures. The free YouTube videos are available to anyone with an Internet connection and there are even lesson plans available for sale for those who don’t use electronics in their program.

Dig In! Hands-on Soil Excavations

Published by the National Science Teachers Association, Dig In! is a practical book that guides children in learning about soil formation, habitats and land use, animals that depend on soil, plants that grow in soil, soil science, and soil conservation. Included are lesson plans and activities, background information, assessment methods, and suggestions for further exploration.

Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth

Over 100 environmentally-friendly activities fill Early Childhood Activities for a Greener Earth published by Redleaf Press.  This book is “intended to provide a foundation for educating young children on the environment through experience and play” (pg. 1). The overarching categories are: exploring nature; the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle; the food we eat; water, water, everywhere;  air is all around us; weather, climate, and energy; indoor environments and children’s health.

Early Learning Success

Early Learning Success develops whole-child developmentally-appropriate unit studies for early childhood education: “The Early Learning Success curriculum is a comprehensive framework that uses early learning standards to support each child in their individual development.”

Gardening with Young Children

The curriculum Gardening with Young Children published by Redleaf Press supports learning across all the early childhood domains. While only forty-one of the pages directly describe activities, the entire book explains how to set up a gardening-rich environment and adapting the learning experiences to infants and toddlers.

Grow It, Try It, Like It

The USDA provides the free nutrition curriculum called Grow It, Try It, Like It. “Grow It, Try It, Like It! Nutrition Education Kit Featuring MyPlate is a garden-themed nutrition education kit for child care center staff that introduces children to: three fruits – peaches, strawberries, and cantaloupe, and three vegetables – spinach, sweet potatoes, and crookneck squash. The kit includes seven booklets featuring fruits and vegetables with fun activities through the imaginary garden at Tasty Acres Farm! It also has a CD-ROM with Supplemental Information and a DVD with Cool Puppy Pup’s Picnic and Lunch Parties. Each set of lessons contains: hands-on activities, planting activities, and nutrition education activities that introduce MyPlate. Use the kit to promote learning at home with fun parent/child activities and family-sized recipes that give tips for cooking with children” (USDA website).

Language and Literacy

The Get Set for School: Language & Literacy program by Learning Without Tears is child-friendly and developmentally appropriate. It covers phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, concepts about print, comprehension, oral language, and writing through playful learning opportunities and manipulating objects. This portion of the Get Set for School program teaches through “dramatic play, singing, finger plays, manipulatives, and movement to teach children to rhyme, clap syllables, make and break compound words, and identify sounds” (Language and Literacy, pg. 7).

Learning About Nutrition Through Activities (L.A.N.A.)

From the L.A.N.A. website:

The goal of the LANA Preschool Program is to help young children learn to taste, eat and enjoy more fruits and vegetables in order to promote good health, including healthy weight and reduced risk of chronic disease.

LANA helps children learn to eat more fruits and vegetables by:

  • Increasing opportunities for children to taste and eat fruits and vegetable
  • Providing opportunities for hands-on experiences with fruits and vegetables
  • Creating a supportive environment for eating fruits and vegetables
  • Providing children with role models who eat fruits and vegetables
  • Connecting classroom or child care activities with their home environment

Muzzy Club

We use Muzzy Club to immerse children of all ages in Spanish. From the Muzzy BBC’s website: “MUZZY employs a natural immersion approach, surrounding learners with visual, aural and contextual language, modeled on the way we learned our first language. MUZZY’s multi-sensory, multi-layered communication works powerfully with all new learners. The unique MUZZY design is effective for visual/spatial, verbal, kinesthetic, musical and logical/mathematic learners. The more ways in which your child is engaged with MUZZY, the more quickly and naturally your child absorbs the new language.”

Slow and Steady: Get Me Ready

This how-to book by June R. Oberlander includes 260 weekly developmental activities for children from birth to age 5.

STEAMer Trunks

“When you join the Month-to-Month STEAMer Trunks Club, you are investing in education, STEAM skills, and emotionally-regulated children. Anyone can join our club and do these activities. The activity guide is written with the typical adult in mind so that everyone can understand and complete these activities with children within the developmental stages from three years to eight years. Each package explores a unique theme with a 10+ page activity guide covering each STEAM skill and using all seven senses, 4+ items to create a sensory bin scene, 1+ larger thematic item, a therapeutic or skill-building toy, and a suggested lesson plan.

Our activity guides contain science, technology, engineering, arts/design, and mathematics activities using both the items within the trunk and easily-sourced items available to most people. Each guide includes at least ten, and usually many more, specific activities which includes creative movement and physical activities that correlate with STEAM skills. In addition, professional educators and an occupational therapist carefully ensure that seven senses  are incorporated into each guide (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch, vestibular, and proprioception).

Each sensory scene includes a variety of objects (sometimes called “loose parts”) used to create a scene that is reminiscent of our theme. Items are carefully selected to not only be able to be used in our STEAM demonstrations and experiments, but also to include a variety of different senses and topics.  Items may be magnetic, visually appealing, textured, scented, interesting under magnification, able to be hidden under or in substrate, able to be placed inside of other items, used in practicing fine motor skills, or many other different categories!”