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Child Development Curriculum: Reviews and Comparisons

October 18th, 2023 | 9 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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If you teach child development in a CTE program, you know that choosing the right curriculum for your students is critical to their success. After all, they’ll need up-to-date resources to prepare them to work with the next generation of children and their families.

But with several different child development curriculum options available, you might be unsure which curriculum is best for you. What qualities should you look for, and how is each provider different from the others?

iCEV provides a child development curriculum, but we recognize that our solution isn’t the perfect fit for every classroom.

In this review, you’ll discover how iCEV compares with three major child development curriculum providers, including the benefits and drawbacks of each:

  1. eDynamic Learning
  2. Goodheart-Willcox
  3. Texas Tech University

When you've finished reading, you should have a more complete picture of what each curriculum provider offers to choose what’s best for your child development program.

iCEV for Child Development Curriculum

The Child Development course is part of iCEV’s extensive CTE curriculum. This curriculum is designed to introduce students to core concepts in the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) pathway so they can succeed in various fields.

With iCEV, teachers get a complete Child Development course, including pre-built lesson plans, interactive activities, and formative and summative assessments. They’ll also gain access to several other courses in the FCS area, including Child Guidance and Human Development, to provide a cohesive learning experience for students.

In addition, teachers receive access to a robust learning management system (LMS) to keep track of student activity and report on their progress.

What Are the Benefits of iCEV?

iCEV provides an extensive curriculum for teachers to satisfy standards for child development. The Child Development course comes with engaging multimedia lessons and resources designed around your instructional benchmarks.

Plus, with a single subscription, instructors receive access to a library of Family and Consumer Sciences courses complete with ready-to-use lessons, activities, and assessments.

Through varied content, students are engaged with multiple instructional methods in a blended learning environment. With iCEV, teachers can customize teaching to meet the needs of every student, including special populations.

The iCEV digital curriculum and platform are also continually updated to satisfy changes in standards and keep students prepared for future opportunities.

What Are the Drawbacks of iCEV?

While our curriculum is an excellent fit for many classrooms, it isn’t the right solution for everyone. Instructors who want to teach child development in a more traditional, text-focused format might prefer a print-based curriculum.

Likewise, educators who want to teach a single child development class might not see the value of a comprehensive CTE solution, where instructors can use multiple courses to build learners’ knowledge and skills over time. 

Finally, instructors who like to piece together lesson plans by hand may not use the entire library of premade lesson plans offered in the iCEV curriculum system.

Who Should Consider iCEV?

Ultimately, iCEV is designed to meet child development standards and help students succeed with future professional opportunities. Through tailored multimedia content and engaging activities, students learn the fundamentals of pregnancy, baby basics, health and wellness, and more.

It’s an excellent choice for educators who want to introduce learners to child development careers with a comprehensive blended learning experience. It’s not for teachers who favor more traditional instruction methods with less interactivity.

1. eDynamic Learning

For child development, eDynamic Learning divides its curriculum across two semester-long courses: Child Development 1a: Journey Through Childhood and Child Development 1b: Working with Children. Educators should consider offering students both courses in sequence to give them the most complete information on the subject.

Each course comes with an eTextbook you can print out or use through the digital curriculum’s Buzz Player. The first course introduces students to the life journey of the child, from pregnancy and birth to toddler years and preschool. Meanwhile, the second class focuses more on working with children, including child health, behavior, and educational support.

Both courses are presented on eDynamic Learning’s digital curriculum platform, which includes automatically graded assessments and interactive textbook features. eDynamic Learning integrates with many learning management systems.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum Option?

eDynamic Learning offers a solid digital learning experience through integrated assessments, an interactive textbook, and digital features like podcast-style summaries and embedded video content.

Teachers will appreciate the included lesson plans and assessments, which make managing student progress straightforward. Excellent accessibility features help ensure every student can use the curriculum.

Finally, the included materials lists, flashcards, and discussion prompts help instructors to offer a balanced learning experience.

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum Option?

A significant liability of the eDynamic Learning curriculum is that it includes two separate courses that must be in sequence. Teachers cannot change the content order in either class or switch content between the two courses. This can make things difficult for instructors who want more classroom flexibility.

The system only allows for asynchronous learning. Students learn through a variety of activities, but these are uploaded to the system through Google Drive and must be graded by hand. eDynamic Learning’s system also lacks features found in other digital curriculum systems, such as simulations, models, and gamified activities.

Finally, the curriculum materials offered aren’t as robust as those from some curriculum providers, which may leave some teachers wishing for more instructional material.

Who Should Consider This Curriculum?

eDynamic Learning offers a good two-course sequence covering child development. It’s a fine fit for teachers who want to use a digital curriculum but primarily with an asynchronous learning experience. This approach could make it a good fit for students in online schools who will be completing all of their work independently.

On the other hand, instructors who want to implement a truly blended learning experience may look elsewhere for a curriculum that includes more interactive elements that they can use synchronously and asynchronously.

2. Goodheart-Willcox

Goodheart-Willcox (G-W) is a notable career and technical education publisher. For child development, they offer the textbook Child Development: Early Stages Through Adolescence. Now in its tenth edition, the book is written by Celia Anita Decker, Julia McClannon, and Michelle McCoy.

Goodheart-Willcox’s Child Development thoroughly introduces child development and the various skills associated with effective parenting and early childhood education. The resource summarizes and communicates ideas from significant child development theorists.

Students can access the materials in an eTextbook format, which allows for note-taking and interactive elements, such as videos. Goodheart-Willcox integrates with several learning management systems (LMS) to help teachers use the curriculum.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum Option?

Child Development: Early Stages Through Adolescence is a comprehensive textbook covering critical subject areas. The materials are adapted to different audiences, making them easy for English Language Learners (ELLs) to use.

Teachers will appreciate included slide presentations, pre-test and post-test options, bell ringers, projects and activities, and grading rubrics. However, the biggest strength of this resource is that the curriculum is mapped to courses of 12, 18, and 36 weeks, making it easier for teachers to adapt the textbook regardless of whether they need to cover a trimester, semester, or year-long course.

Finally, the LMS integrations and self-grading features make it easier to use with a digital grading system than other text-based resources.

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum Option?

Despite its merits, the biggest limitation of the Child Development textbook is that it only provides limited ways of engaging students with content. Although the written material is extensive, students have minimal engagement with multimedia content and interactive activities to help them develop the knowledge and skills they’ll need for success.

Teachers might also find that lesson plans are organized only by book chapters rather than by class period, which could make it more challenging to plan out a unit. Lastly, some activities, such as bell ringers, can take longer to complete than the time recommended in the textbook.

Who Should Consider This Curriculum?

Ultimately, Goodheart-Willcox provides a reliable text for instructors who prefer a traditional resource for their Child Development class. With its high-quality content and helpful planning tools, teachers who prefer a conventional lecture and reading format can be successful with this resource.

However, as a physical book, Child Development doesn’t provide students with a high level of interactivity. Educators who want to teach their students with a blended learning approach will be better served using a digital curriculum that engages students with a variety of learning techniques.

3. The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences at Texas Tech University

The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences is a division of Texas Tech University that produces FCS curriculum resources for teachers and students across the United States. Currently, the Center offers curriculum materials for three dozen courses in FCS and related CTE subjects.

For child development, the Center provides a selection of projects and activities to enhance learners’ understanding of concepts related to child development and early childhood education. The resources are designed as a supplemental instructional package to improve instructors’ flexibility in teaching a complete child development course.

When used with additional resources from another curriculum provider, the Texas Tech resources can help improve each student’s experience in an education and training class.

What Are the Benefits of This Curriculum Option?

Texas Tech University is well-known for its educational materials for CTE programs, and the Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences is no exception. The organization has brought together a good selection of projects and activities to enhance and improve a child development course.

Educators can choose from a wide variety of assignments, which gives instructors flexibility to assign the resources that make the most sense to use in their classes. It’s also one of the most cost-effective curriculum resources available. Teachers can access these supplemental materials at a price lower than buying a new textbook or subscribing to a full digital curriculum.

Teachers with some child development resources or a textbook may use these resources alongside other classroom materials to make traditional classroom instruction more engaging.

What Are the Drawbacks of This Curriculum Option?

Although the Center offers a variety of instructional resources for teachers, it doesn’t mean that each project is easy to implement in the classroom. Some links to individual projects and activities may not work, leaving teachers scrambling for replacement activities. The activities also generally don’t include video or multimedia elements, which can make them less engaging than other resources.

While the materials can integrate with the Blackboard LMS, the Center doesn’t offer integrations with other learning management systems, which could be an obstacle for some instructors.

Finally, it’s important to note that these resources are designed to supplement other instructional materials and are not a standalone child development course. Teachers will need to look elsewhere for materials to meet their standards fully.

Who Should Consider This Curriculum?

Through the Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences, Texas Tech University offers a solid package of supplemental activities and projects for a child development course. These resources are a great addition to an existing curriculum but struggle to stand independently as a separate instructional course.

For this reason, teachers who already have some child development materials but could use additional resources will see the most value from this provider. Instructors starting from scratch or needing a completely new curriculum might be better off with a different solution.

Which Child Development Curriculum is Right for You?

Selecting a suitable curriculum for your child development class can be difficult. Since finding the right resource can make all the difference, you’ll want to choose materials that set your students up for success as early childhood professionals.

Which curriculum you choose will ultimately depend on your specific classroom needs. What is your teaching style, and what types of content do your students best engage with? Do your standards require you to cover particular material?

Based on your responses to these questions, you might favor one of these curriculum solutions more than the others.

But if you're looking for a comprehensive child development course to meet your standards and set your students up for success, consider iCEV. You can use this interactive course to give your students an engaging learning experience that prepares them for their future careers.

Could iCEV be the right fit for your students? Sign up for a free trial to receive full access to the curriculum and determine if it suits your program.

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