Integrating Early Literacy and Other Content Curriculum in an Era of Increased Accountability: A Review of the Literature

Learning Across the Early Childhood Curriculum

ISBN: 978-1-78190-700-9

ISSN: 0270-4021

Publication date: 28 June 2013


From John Dewey to Herbert Kohl, many theorists and practitioners have explored the use of a developmentalist model as a way to harness the natural instincts and interests of young children to foster meaningful learning. Yet, the concept of meaningful learning in early childhood education today is quickly shifting away from the developmentalist model and its emphasis on authentic learning, toward a social-efficiency model that emphasizes the use of state curriculum standards, standardized assessments, and evidence-based instructional approaches. As the early childhood curriculum pendulum swings, early childhood programs find themselves at risk for becoming more “business like” and less representative of the kind of reflective and risk-taking environments Dewey envisioned leaving educators struggling to use child-centered practices in an era of increased accountability. Considering some of the significant challenges facing early childhood programs and educators, it is critically important for the field of early childhood to begin examining the ways in which the curriculum and instructional procedures being utilized may, or may not, be illustrative of Dewey’s vision of active, dynamic, and integrated early learning experiences and, to what degree. One way to promote meaningful instructional integration is to consider the natural connections that exist across content areas. A logical beginning is to use literacy as an anchor for meaningful learning across the preschool curriculum. In this chapter the authors engage in a review of the literature as it relates to the integration of early literacy and content curriculum and discuss implications for future practice.



Anderson, E. and Fenty, N. (2013), "Integrating Early Literacy and Other Content Curriculum in an Era of Increased Accountability: A Review of the Literature", Learning Across the Early Childhood Curriculum (Advances in Early Education and Day Care, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 153-177.

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