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First curriculum for CDC centers

Defense Departments implements early childhood education curriculum

Several Child Development Centers pilot-tested the new early childhood education curriculum the Defense Department implemented. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Naomi Shipley

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The Defense Department has implemented an early childhood education curriculum called, Early Learning Matters. This is the first early childhood education curriculum developed for DOD's child development program. The department created this curriculum in collaboration with early childhood experts at Purdue University.

Several military child development centers pilot-tested the curriculum. Service branches are voluntarily implementing the program across the department.

"The Defense Department is committed to providing the highest level of care for our military children. The Early Learning Matters curriculum allows us to provide children with an environment that promotes development and school readiness beginning at the earliest ages," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Patricia Montes Barron. "The design allows child development program personnel to customize the learning experience to each child based on their individual developmental needs."

The Early Learning Matters activity plans are staff guided and allow for child-directed play and experiential learning. These activities meet national accreditation standards set by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The curriculum also comes with a wide range of resources and support for child care providers and parents. These include training and child-friendly materials.

The Early Learning Matters Academy staff at Purdue University offers subject matter expertise in initial, refresher, and specialized training, and consultations for installation personnel using this curriculum.

"By using a standard curriculum, Early Learning Matters gives military families a consistent and effective early childhood education program - no matter where they're stationed or how many times they move," said Stacey Young, director of Military Family Readiness Policy in the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy.

Military families can reach out to their installation child development center to learn more about the Early Learning Matters curriculum.

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