chapter  11
The environment as curriculum
Pages 27

Curriculum might be defined in various ways. To some, curriculum refers to what is taught. This concept of curriculum focuses on ‘what is offered’ versus ‘what is experienced’. While ‘what is offered’ (i.e. ‘a range of studies’) may be an appropriate way to define curriculum for older students, it does not reflect the nature of young children and the ways in which they learn. For young children, defining curriculum in terms of the environment as they experience it would be more appropriate. This definition is consistent with the early childhood special education literature, where curriculum has been described as ‘the sum of that child’s interactions (experiences) with the environment’ (Wolery and Sainato, 1996, p. 132). It has also been referred to as ‘curriculum-is-what-happens’ (McCracken, 1993).