Often, a great deal of effort and money is involved in selecting a preschool curriculum for classroom use. The curriculum is given to the teachers, along with some advice or professional development regarding how to use it. Then what? Many teachers will simply continue to teach the same content in the same ways they have always taught. Other teachers will try to use the new curriculum but find it difficult and give up. Sometimes a carefully selected curriculum will be discarded because it didn’t ‘work’ – that is, student outcomes did not improve. But, did the curriculum not work or did the teachers not implement the curriculum?
The term implementation fidelity refers to the extent to which a curriculum is used in the way it was originally intended to be used.
The implementation fidelity checklist for ScienceStart! is now available for anyone to use. This checklist contains 8 sections:
Only Sections 6, 7, and 8 are specific to the ScienceStart! Preschool Curriculum. Sections 1 through 5 are appropriate standards for all preschool classrooms – what should the classroom contain, how can the teacher create a climate for learning, what are the characteristics of good teaching to support the development of language and literacy skills.
In addition to being used as a classroom observation tool, this checklist can also be used by teachers as a guide for setting up the classroom. Teachers can use the checklist independently or with a classroom mentor to reflect on and guide their interactions with their students.