Classroom Tips

How to write a curriculum | Development and design steps

There is a lot of organization that goes into education. No matter the topic you teach, preparing your curriculum and individual lesson plans is paramount to success. Whether you are just starting a children’s activity business or you are planning your tenth semester, you’ll need to allocate enough time to get everything ready.

At Sawyer, we are on a mission to make lives easier for children’s activity and education business owners. With support on the administrative side from our tools and features, educators can spend more time changing the lives of their students. To help you prepare for the next semester of classes, we’ve outlined how to write a curriculum with information on curriculum development and design steps to follow.

How to write a curriculum

Sitting down to write a curriculum might feel overwhelming. However, it is actually one of the most exciting and fun parts about teaching! Planning your curriculum puts you in a great position to establish your goals, write lesson plans, and come up with exciting hands-on activities for your students. Use these curriculum development and design tips to get your planning off on the right foot.

Curriculum development and design tips

1. Establish your goals

Before you begin developing your curriculum, you need to determine your goals for the semester. Your goals will likely depend on what you teach and the age of your students. Make sure you choose realistic goals so that you can set yourself, fellow teachers, and students up for success. 

Examples of goals

  • If you are teaching kids to code in an elementary school after school program, a potential goal could be each student makes their own game in Scratch. Throughout the semester, your lessons will teach the necessary skills to accomplish this goal by the end of the course.
  • If you are teaching musical theatre to kids, a realistic goal would be for the children to put on a musical performance at the end of the semester.
  • If you are teaching art to children, your goal could be to focus on art history and give the children opportunities to adapt famous works to make them their own.

2. Sketch out the semester

Once you have determined your goal for the session, camp, or semester and considered what your students can accomplish based on their age and experience, you can begin to sketch the course out. How many sessions do you have to accomplish your goal? How long are your sessions? This information is important as you begin to write your curriculum, and later, your lesson plans.

One of the most important elements of successful teaching is giving students enough time and examples to fully understand the material before advancing to more complicated topics. If you do not allow enough time for the students to get comfortable with the more basic steps, they will not be able to move on. When you sketch out the semester, label each session with the general topic you will cover then so you know you’re covering your basis.

3. Review previous curricula and lesson plans

If this is not your first time teaching, help yourself by going through what has worked (and not worked!) in the past. Where have students struggled when learning this topic? What lessons and activities really drove the points home? Use these experiences to inform your new curriculum. If you are a new teacher to this topic, use the Internet to see what others have done to teach it or speak with other educators to get their advice.

Photo of how to write a curriculum

4. Write lesson plans

Once you have your curriculum structured, it’s time to write the lesson plans for each class. When you organize your lessons, determine the materials needed for the activities that you will do with your students during each session. Each lesson should also have a micro goal, which will help you accomplish the overarching goal for the semester. You should also include information about how you will assess and evaluate your success for each class. Use our guide for more details on how to write a lesson plan, including templates and examples.

5. Put it all together

Organization is key. You have just mapped out the entire semester’s worth of classes and goals, so utilize a curriculum template to keep yourself organized. With this type of document, you can write each unit or topic, the focus of each lesson, guiding questions for your class, and more. You can also make your own curriculum template using Google Sheets or Excel. Once you’re ready to go live, use Sawyer’s scheduling tools to display your classes and get bookings. 

With our tips and steps, you should have a good sense of how to write a curriculum so that you can plan your semesters and classes more easily. If you are looking for guidance on starting, managing, and growing your children’s activity or education business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. Schedule a free demo or check out our resources to learn more.

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