Home » Catalog » Complementary Curriculum Approach: Transform Your Practice Through Intentional Teaching

Complementary Curriculum Approach: Transform Your Practice Through Intentional Teaching

by Lisa Porter Kuh, Ph.D and Iris Chin Ponte, Ph.D
ITEM #: 3600584
Canadian customers can now save on shipping by ordering through the distributor, Login Canada.

The Complementary Curriculum Approach invites teachers to support children’s play and cultivate classroom environments with rich, interesting learning experiences at the core. Four strategic and powerful teaching intentions are presented. The goal is that teachers will invigorate their practice and enhance their own time and energy by using these fresh, interrelated tools.


“Drawing on the wisdom of pioneers in early childhood education and development, they take that wisdom and use it as ingredients to produce the feast in the classroom they call a “complementary curriculum”, all to “Create the beautiful spaces, offer the energizing choices, and seize the opportunities for playful learning that brought you into the field.” - their words that define their own beautiful mission”
- W. George Scarlett, Ph.D., Sr. Lecturer and Tisch Sr. Fellow, Tufts University

“The Complementary Curriculum Approach takes educational theories and practices that have strong foundations and uses a fresh look to bring them together to better meet the social-emotional and cognitive needs of all children by providing them with agency and choice.”
- Debbie LeeKeenan, Lecturer, author, consultant, AntibiasLeadersECE.com

“The Complementary Curriculum Approach shows us how to balance the best methodologies and integrate curriculum to truly create high-quality early childhood experiences like never before. This is a foundational text that needs to be on every educator’s bookshelf alongside the The Hundred Languages of Children, The Absorbent Mind, Mind and Society and Democracy and Education. Kuh and Chin Ponte serve to synthesize the history and future of education for our times just as Montessori, Vygotsky, Dewey and Malaguzzi did for theirs.”
- Cady Audette and Kelly Pellagrini, co-directors at Charlestown Nursery School

"Dripping with evocative stories from early childhood classrooms, Iris and Lisa draw on their history as educators and coaches to respond to the everyday frustrations teachers experience as they seek to create a "settled classroom" in which children's engagement and joy abounds. In this book, the authors show us how key theories and approaches in our field can complement each other to reveal powerful and practical solutions driven by clear intentions, rather than desperation."
- John Nimmo EdD, Associate Professor / Co-Coordinator, Early Childhood Education Programs Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Portland State University

Table of Contents:

The Search for the Settled Classroom
  • Discovering a New Mindset
  • Teaching with Intention Means Teaching for Equity
  • The Power of Intention: Examining our Beliefs about Teaching and Learning
  • The Four Intentions: The Foundation of Complementary Curriculum Approach
  • Making the Four Intentions Visible

Early Childhood Legacies
The Influences that Shape Complementary Curriculum
  • Early Education Legacies: What Can They Reteach Us?
  • Bringing the Theories Together

The Prepared Environment
Old Norms, New Visions
  • What our Early Education Legacies Say about Learning Environments
  • Preparing the Settled Classroom: Beauty and Organization
  • Making Intentional Choices: Walls, Floors and Furnishings
  • Personalizing the Learning Environment: Rethinking Commercially Produced Elements
  • Conclusion: Environments Ready for Learning

The First Intention
Compelling Materials
  • Compelling Materials: Design Principles and Logistics
  • Four Key Ways to Offer Materials to Children
  • Conclusion: Integrating Compelling Materials

The Second Intention
Explicit Presentation
  • Setting the Stage
  • The Art of Explicit Presentation
  • Explicit Presentation for Individual Children
  • Explicit Presentation for Small Groups of Children
  • Explicit Presentation for Your Whole Group of Children
  • Categories of Presentations
  • Conclusion: Incorporating Presentations

The Third Intention
Responsive Scaffolding
  • Scaffolding as a Foundation for Learning
  • Supporting Children through Scaffolding
  • Everyday Responsive Scaffolding Strategies in the Classroom
  • Conclusion: Looking for Windows of Opportunity

The Fourth Intention
Following Children’s Interests
  • Learning from Emergent Curriculum and the Project Approach
  • Plan with Children’s Interests in Mind
  • Consideration of Materials, the Prepared Environment, and Local Resources
  • Multiple Entry Points for Learning: Preparing the Environment
  • Conclusion: Following Children’s Interests in an Intentional Way

Finding the Settled Classroom
Protecting Choice and Using Time Well
  • Why Choice Matters
  • Supporting Choice and Decision-Making: Why Time Matters
  • Conclusion: Time, Freedom and Joy
  • A Closing Message


About the Authors

Iris Chin Ponte, Ph.D. is director and classroom teacher at the Henry Frost Children’s Program in Belmont, MA. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University. Recognized as an Exchange Emerging Leader in 2015, Iris is a former Fulbright Scholar, with expertise in cross-cultural issues in education in the United States, the United Kingdom, Taiwan, China, Japan, and Newfoundland. She worked for Sesame Street Research at the Children’s Television Workshop in New York and has published in the areas of children and technology, behavior management, children’s play, outdoor environmental design, early education program leadership and birth parent reunions and heritage trips for adoptees in China. Dr. Ponte has received professional recognition from the Children’s Defense Fund, CBS, and the American Educational Research Association and was awarded the Thomas J. Watson IBM Fellowship.

Lisa Porter Kuh, Ph.D. is currently an Instructional Coach with the Bezos Academy’s network of tuition-free Montessori preschools. She was the Director of Early Education for the city of Somerville, Massachusetts and worked with public, center-based, and Head Start preschool programs to create access to high quality early education opportunities. She has over thirty years of experience with young children as a classroom teacher, teacher educator, university professor and researcher, and professional developer. She is committed to supporting teachers, children, and families in providing quality places to learn, play, and grow. She has published and presented on the impact of outdoor playspaces and classroom environments for young children, teacher professional development, the Reggio Emilia approach and documentation, Montessori education, anti-bias education, as well as literacy and math content.

ISBN: 978-0-942702-77-4