Primary and Secondary Resources

Primary and Secondary Resources

Cover of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly journal.Elsevier

Teachers must keep up with current research of all kinds but especially as it relates to the curricula they use.

Primary resources are works produced by the authors of a curriculum model or approach that describe the theoretical premises, philosophy, and tenets that guide the teacher to implement the curriculum with fidelity to its principles. For example, The Hundred Languages of Children, initially published in 1994 by Edwards, Gandini, and Forman (revised in 1998), and the writings of Loris Malaguzzi are considered essential resources for Reggio Emilia educators.

Secondary resources can also be very useful but do not originate from the founders or authors of a program. For example, secondary Reggio Emilia resources would include such things as books and articles published by authors outside of Reggio Emilia, and media such as blogs and program websites. These resources provide helpful insights into the ways in which teacher educators, program directors, and teachers interpret the Reggio Emilia approach for American schools and classrooms.

Waldorf educators rely on the writings of Rudolph Steiner to make sure that the classroom environment and activities they plan are consistent with the programs original vision and purpose. Similarly, officially sponsored training programs for Montessori teachers are based on and informed by the ideas expressed by Maria Montessori in the books she wrote over a span of many years.

Remember that planning for any curriculum includes keeping abreast of current studies (Chapter 2) and the ongoing development of the theories that support them. For example, in the second edition of their book, Bodrova and Leong (2006) described how Tools of the Mind was conceived from a Vygotskian perspective on social constructivism and continues to evolve. They have produced many subsequent publications and media presentations reporting on the achievement effects of implementation in various settings and how those results impact their ongoing conceptualization of the curriculum. Teachers using the Tools curriculum would certainly want to incorporate those evolving ideas as they plan activities.

The NAEYC publications describing developmentally appropriate principles and practices also serve as primary resources for early childhood educators (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009). Since DAP is not a specific curriculum but offers guidelines for how to think about curriculum, it provides the overarching frame of reference from which all planning decisions should be made.

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