I don’t think “a preschool program for villages” makes a very good title. I thumb through my mental thesaurus for single words that have a positive connotation for education. As I think of each one, I immediately do a Google search to see it’s taken. Of course it’s taken—it’s a great word! This happens over and over, but I do not give up.
Then, I try “Inspire” and don’t find any program, curriculum, or organization using that word for preschool. How about, “Inspire Early Learning Program.” Yes, that will work.
I then set out to develop a set of standards and benchmarks that would be (1) appropriate for an international application. It’s important for them to be (2) clear and accessible (common language) by those who may not have an academic background. (3) There can’t be too many or they will likely not see implementation. And finally (4) they should focus on the most basic building blocks first.
With all that in mind, I began reading and correlating state early learning standards and the Head Start standards. I have sifted through over 20 sets of state standards.
This has led me after several weeks of work to arrive at 25 standards across five domains. But the words, “standard” and “domain” are a bit technical for the average village preschool teacher. Let’s make them more common in language. Hence were born the 5 Areas of Development and 25 Goals. Each also comes with an “I” statement to help with clarity and application.
These represent the heart of the Inspire Early Learning Program. Each was carefully crafted considering the four qualities mentioned above.
Now, it’s on to the actual framework of teaching. I have to consider such things as what is simple to implement using volunteers or para-professionals? What are the most applicable research-based and effective methods and strategies in an international setting? What can one do with little or no budget? How can I promote creativity when resources and materials are scarce? All of these questions will guide the next phase of developing the program.