Local Nonprofit Launches New, Free Curriculum For Toddlers And Caregivers

Photo: Chaiel Schaffel/WBZ NewsRadio

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — A local nonprofit has created a new learning curriculum for toddlers in an effort to fill the gaps in pre-K childcare and education.

“We don’t have a system. We have sort of independent small businesses that run childcare programs, and it’s up to the family,” explained Binal Patel, chief program officer at Neighborhood Villages.

Her organization hopes to help give caregivers of young children under the age of 3 more support and inspiration when it comes to learning, play, and care.

Photo: Chaiel Schaffel/WBZ NewsRadio

“The partner programs that we work with were telling us when it comes to toddlers, we’re looking on Pinterest [and] on Instagram. We need ideas,” shared Patel.

The curriculum, called Learning Through Exploration, was designed to give toddlers "playful, engaging, and joyful learning experiences” and support teachers with observation, documentation, implementation, and family engagement techniques as well as children’s literature recommendations.

Accessibility is also a large part of the program’s mission. “It’s free for anybody to download and anybody to use," said Patel.

Daycare groups can use Neighborhood Villages’ curriculum to help guide their programming for children under the age of 3.

Photo: Chaiel Schaffel/WBZ NewsRadio

Neighborhood Villages unveiled the new lessons at the Boston Children’s Museum on Tuesday.

“High school and middle school is very challenging. But have you been in a room with nine toddlers for nine hours?” Patel asked the audience.

She described the curriculum. “It’s not babysitting, it’s not care, and it’s not just play. It’s learning," calling this curriculum the first of its kind.

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Patel also explained the importance of educating and supporting children from a young age.

“We have tons of research and data that shows that the brain development that happens between 0 to 5 really determines who you are and who you will become as an adult.”

The curriculum is funded and supported by the LEGO Foundation, along with other partners such as the Boston Public Schools Department of Early Childhood, Horizons for Homeless Children, East Boston Social Centers, Epiphany School, Nurtury, and Ellis Early Learning.

Neighborhood Villages advocates for early education and childcare policy reform, designing and implementing solutions to address challenges that care providers and families face.

WBZ NewsRadio's Chaiel Schaffel (@CSchaffelWBZ) reports.

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