1.2 Preschool Curriculum: Can you define the concept of a curriculum?

1.1 Define the concept of a curriculum

Definitions of Curriculum

The term curriculum is a vague and complex notion.  Curriculum theorists do not agree on any definition. Generally speaking, curriculum refers to a course of study.  The term curriculum originates from a Latin word “curere’’ which means “Run”. In this sense curriculum means a course to be run for reaching a certain goal or destination.

Curriculum means different things to different people.  Some of the definitions given by different curricularists are as follows;

  1. Cunningham (1888) says. “Curriculum is a tool in the hands of the artist (teacher) to mould his material (pupils) according to his ideals (aims and objectives) in his studio (school)
  2. Saylor (1988), Curriculum is “A plan for providing sets of learning opportunities for persons to be educated.”
  3. Pratt (1988), Curriculum is an organized set of educational or training-intentions.”
  4. Wiles (1988), Views, “curriculum as a plan for learning whereby objectives determine what learning is important.”
  5. Macdonald (1965) defines a curriculum as a plan for action. i.e a plan which guides instruction.
  6. Shepherd (1988). “The curriculum consist of on going experiences of children under the guidance of the school
  7. Eisner (1988), “points out that “curriculum is a programme a school offers to its students.”
  8. According to Taba (1962) “A curriculum is a plan of learning.
  9. “A curriculum can be defined as the planned educational activities and experiences offered by a school which can take place anywhere at any time.” (Todd in 1965)


Thus, on the basis of the above definitions, one may conclude that curriculum, in its comprehensive sense refers to all the activities and experiences that we plan and organize for children inside and outside school for realizing the aims of education. How we perceive curriculum is important, because our conception of curriculum reflects and shapes how we think and act on education provided to students. The concept of curriculum can be perceived as a connective link between teacher and student, organized in such a way to achieve goals previously set by the teacher, the learning organization or by the curriculum specialists. Generally educators use the term curriculum to refer to various activities which involve learners, teachers and schools.  These activities may be described as:

  1. The sum total of experiences a child goes through as he follows the activities prescribed by the school.
  2. All courses or subjects that a school offers to its learners.
  3. The organization of subjects matter and activities within a course or unit offered by a school for example home science.



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