preschool curriculum guide
Sep 13 2023

13 Best Preschool & Pre-K Curriculum: A Complete Guide for Home & School

Positive Action Staff
Parents, teachers, and administrators can get overwhelmed when choosing the best preschool program. They want to give children a solid foundation before kindergarten without stripping away their early childhood.

It's important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to the best preschool curriculum. What matters most is finding one that aligns most closely with the needs and preferences of your children. This article will serve as a guide to options for a preschool and pre-K curriculum for home or school.

Top 13 Preschool Curriculum Programs

1. Positive Action Pre-K Kits

preschool kits

Positive Action is a great preschool curriculum for school environments and can be adapted for homeschooling. It reads like a story with two recurring characters, the hand puppet hedgehogs Mimi and Squeak.

This SEL program, aptly named for its emphasis on deriving joy and fulfillment from engaging in positive actions, integrates elements such as music, cheers, and interactive "clap-and-say" poems into its curriculum.

In Unit 1, students learn how their thoughts and actions influence the way they think and feel about themselves. This knowledge fuels the topic of the next unit: self-love. Here, children learn to nurture both body and mind through positive actions leading to optimal health.

Unit 3 then shifts focus toward resource management. In it, children learn to appreciate and wisely use their energy, time, emotions, possessions, and other resources — a practice that fosters well-being. Unit 4 provides training on interpersonal skills where kids learn how to effectively communicate and socialize with others.

Further strengthening positive character traits is Unit 5 which foregrounds honesty followed by a robust finale in form of Unit 6 which offers guidance for setting achievable goals along with strategies to realize them.

For a $400 investment, you’re getting an instruction manual with lesson plans and teaching tips, 130 scripted lessons (5-10 mins), an app for Pre-Kindergarten, 24 visual aids, 8 activity sheets, 13 full-color posters, 30 certifications of completion, and other helpful materials.

2. Before Five in a Row

This homeschool preschool curriculum is well-suited for children between the ages of 2 and 4. It’s divided into books, units, and readiness activities. And you’ll find it full of creative ideas that’ll make learning a never-ending adventure. The manual’s back gives you art, song, fingerplay, and other fun ideas.

If your desired approach towards teaching is by exposing your little ones to beautiful literature and viewing daily activities as learning opportunities, this is for you. You can discuss the stories, books, and characters with your kids and even play out scenes.

With activities, the preschool curriculum is a good option if you don’t like over-planning or having an excess of prescribed activities.

The Preschool Planning Page is to thank for that because it has preschool activity ideas for every day of the week with a list of the needed materials. You can merely get your kids and read and play with them. This keeps it all simple and entertaining.

3. Horizons

Brought to you by Alpha Omega Publications, this homeschooling preschool curriculum has a more workbook style and academic approach, covering social studies, math, science, phonics, PE, outdoor activities, arts and crafts, creative cooking, field trips, and language arts.

It’s suitable if you want a preschool program with plenty of worksheets, subject-specific exercises, and some hands-on activities.

The Horizons Preschool Curriculum Kit provides you with 40 weeks of lessons and activities. It’s comprised of 180 lessons, spread over 2 student books, 2 teacher’s guides, a resource packet, and a sing-along music CD. Families will find the teaching tips in the teacher’s guide especially helpful, thanks to the instructions of its lesson plans for teaching lessons.

Not to mention, the package also includes basic flashcards, and you can purchase a separate multimedia package for a more interactive learning environment.

4. Oak Meadow

Oak Meadow is the preschool curriculum for homeschooling, which prioritizes imagination and creativity. That entails playing, singing, walks, activities, fingerplay, sand and water play, nature walks, and story-telling. Furthermore, it lays the foundations of learning, and those principles persist with your children throughout their schooling years.

You can invest $159 in the preschool curriculum, and you’ll receive The Heart of Learning, Learning Processes, Preschool Paint Kit, Toddlers Sing CD, and Beeswax crayons (block). This preschool curriculum is eligible for homeschooling, distance learning with teacher support, and academic credit.

In addition, Oak Meadow has been in the field of providing families with learning materials since 1975. Some teachers and parents agreed that the passion children had in learning environments was fading, and they resolved to do something about it, thus creating Oak Meadow. And it has since become a NEASC-accredited school.

5. Time4Learning

This online homeschooling preschool curriculum is targeted towards pre-readers and pre-K children. The award-winning Time4Learning promotes an interactive and engaging learning environment using straightforward verbal directions and appealing graphics.

In addition, it delves into various themes, like shapes, colors, foods, and tools. They’re taught using songs and stories and tied with worksheets.

Also, the preschool curriculum integrates diverse skill development activities, including pre-reading literacy, math foundation, science, art, music, and creative expression. The math and language arts topics are in agreement with state standards. And art, science, and social studies are bonus topics.

Also, this Pre-K program approaches learning with the understanding that play and education should be merged naturally, making learning fun and stimulating. When you choose Time4Learning, you get 1000+ animated lessons, graded activities, and printable worksheets.

6. Winter Promise

Winter Promise is a Charlotte Mason preschool curriculum. Like Before Five in a Row and perhaps, even more, it emphasizes the role that literature plays in influencing young children. In other words, it’s a literature-based curriculum for homeschooled preschoolers.

This preschool program could be an excellent match for parents who want to create a learning environment to learn along with their children rather than instruct them. It also gives you plenty of face-to-face interactions with your children, as it requires no prep on your part and is reliant on hands-on learning.

The program manages to cover the needed topics with no busy work. With the program, you’ll find a vibrant activity set, which includes activity kits, ideas, and books. And you’ll find its weekly planner and other resources useful.

Last but not least, Winter Promise has numerous curricula for a specific grade, theme, language arts, note booking and timeline, chess, and science.

7. The Peaceful Press Preschool

The Peaceful Press Preschool is yet another Charlotte-Mason-based preschool curriculum for homeschoolers.

It’s categorized as a living education curriculum. In other words, it prioritizes reading, creativity, engaging with nature, and experiencing the world. It’s also project and literature-based. The preschool curriculum is scheduled for 26 weeks.

It contains a parent guide to daily activities, numbers, craft patterns, and a printable pack featuring the alphabet. With play-based activities, your child can learn his numbers, sounds, and letters. And it stands out with its weekly themed recipes for each lesson, which can be fun.

If you're looking to spend time with your little children, The Peaceful Pres Preschool provides products that aren’t too complicated to use and gives your family the quality time you want. The program will keep your children occupied 4 days a week, Fridays being used for optional field trips and corresponding.

8. Mother Goose Time

A quality, research-based, creative curriculum for preschoolers is Mother Goose Time. Its teachings use songs, art, logic, and hands-on learning. And to top it off, it’s fit to be used by teachers in child-care centers and parents at home. Mother Goose Time is developmentally appropriate for young children that are 2.5 to 5 years old.

The Preschool Kit is very handy with pretty much everything you’ll need to do the projects and activities. The supplies are separated into daily packets.

To illustrate, every lesson is packaged independently, and you can get students and children to work on the crafts, worksheets, activities, and other resources. So, the teacher or family finds it hassle-free and time-saving with zero prep time.

Moreover, there’s a monthly fun theme with premium colorful materials and a CD filled with happy professional music.

9. FunShine Express

FunShine Express is a preschool curriculum aligned to early learning standards, designed to be used in the classroom.

When subscribing to the monthly digital plan, teachers receive ready-for-use lesson plans. That includes resources for teachers, material for circle time, physical health, art, and other life skills. And learners can play rearrange games with click-and-drag motions.

Most importantly, this preschool program allows teachers to customize the curriculum to fit their students by editing or writing activities and searching thousands of additional activities. Of course, you can choose not to do some activities to provide the kids with more relaxed learning experiences.

Furthermore, there’s a built-in assessment feature. A teacher can record observations during activities, assign performance levels, upload videos and photos, and even print or merely view the individual assessment records for a student. And the best part is that this plan is only $25 per month for each classroom.

10. Little Learning Box Program

Little Learning Box is a preschool curriculum for classroom use curated for young children, 2 to 4-year-olds specifically. Children will find the activities interesting, and teachers will find them easy-to-use.

This is a 3-day program, and the box has 12 days of supplies, along with an additional “special” day, too; therefore, the box should last you a month.

This curriculum includes letter, shape, and number practice sheets, math board with counters, manipulative math cards, “fun”damental cards for numbers, letters, shapes, colors, and patterns, 1 theme mini-book, letter and number cutouts, shape puzzle or collage, shape mini-book, and other products.

Additionally, teachers can purchase an additional Teacher Pack, which comes with a curriculum guide, teacher weekly/theme bags, and a set of monthly displays.

And as is the custom, each month has a theme, such as family, senses, or cooking. And each day is planned with projects, books as in the book list, crafts, and activities so that young children improve their skills.

11. A Year of Playing Skillfully

A Year of Playing Skillfully is a wonder-based preschool curriculum for childhood development in printed book or eBook form. Also, it can be used in a classroom, daycare center, or at home.

It’s suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 7. That means adults can group kindergarten with early elementary children.

This curriculum provides children with invaluable learning opportunities to develop multiple skills, social motor, emotional, or rational skills. That’s achieved through an exploration of character traits and themes, which fit their age groups.

As a research-based learning preschool curriculum, A Year of Playing Skilfully helps children develop skills in several fields, like language and literacy, art and rhymes, science and sensory, math and manipulatives, outdoor play, gross motor, and social, emotional, and home life.

12. Opening the World of Learning

In short, OWL, this preschool curriculum was published by DLM Early Childhood Express to be used in the classroom. It’s a comprehensive curriculum for preschoolers.

It makes use of research-based success predictors to offer teachers an accurate assessment. And it implements customized, focused, and playful instruction for the benefit of children.

OWL’s foundation is that immersing children in a rich learning environment during their early childhood is necessary, but it isn’t nearly enough. The framework of these interactions must be goal-directed and intentional.

To explain, every section of the day could become a learning experience. Once teachers get to know their preschoolers and the curriculum content, book list, and instructional strategies, they’ll be able to respond to different situations, making learning fun and beneficial. Also, the literature studied is relevant to the vocabulary and concepts.

Hence, preschoolers develop their oral language, vocabulary instruction, and critical thinking skills. Undoubtedly, the curriculum covers math, science, language arts, social studies, drawing and coloring, and emotional as well as physical development.

13. Let’s Begin With the Letter People

This is yet another research-based preschool curriculum for classroom or home use, and it’s published by Abrams Learning Trend. The curriculum meets the Florida Early Learning and Development Standards for children who are 3-4 years old.

The pre-K curriculum contains 26 thematic units, which help preschoolers develop their language and early literacy skills. It guides preschoolers in learning the alphabet using other children’s names. It directs particular attention and interest towards phonology, as in wordplay, rhyming, alliteration, and segmentation.

In short, this curriculum creates fun learning experiences with appealing rhymes and attractive illustrations. And when you get the Let’s Begin with the Letter People Preschool package, books for teachers' resources and classroom books, among other curriculum materials, are provided with the kit.

What Is Taught in Preschool - A Complete Guide


In preschool and kindergarten, math is a rather common subject to teach. Teachers and other adults can harness the math skills of a child by teaching them what numbers are.

They also teach them to count, discern different shapes and patterns, measure, identify sizes (small, medium, and large), compare quantities using less, more, and the same, compare and categorize objects, match objects, symbols, shapes, and patterns, work with a calendar, and tell the time (whether it’s day or night).

As for how teachers and caregivers do that, the answer is games; we’re talking puzzles, blocks, building toys, and all sorts of games.

For instance, they may count the steps as they mount them. Moreover, teachers might make a contest where preschoolers need to sort various colors and shapes as fast as they can. Of course, there’s a popular “I Spy” game, and you can play it with shapes and colors too.


Preschoolers learn about science using hands-on experience, meaning that not only do they learn about topics from books but also from demonstrations with objects, outdoor exploration using their senses, interaction with nature, and interactive games (games with clay, water tables, and sound boxes).

The same lesson could be about color, sound, light, water, weather, plants, or animals.

Science activities are numerous. Some are done outside of the classroom, like drawing, growing plants, capturing photos of plants, animals, insects, and nature altogether, or observational writing about them.

But there are also classroom activities, such as exploring scientific tools (prisms, magnets, and magnifying glasses), measuring, mixing ingredients, and cooking. Teachers can discuss what happens when something becomes cold or hot with pre-K students. Also, teachers can inform preschoolers about the bodies of their pets, their habitats, survival, and growth.


Concerning reading, a child should learn to discern letters, identify sounds, learn new words, and be exposed to books and magazines. This should promote their reading skills. Moreover, teachers should read a lot to preschoolers in kindergarten.

Teachers shouldn’t only focus on developing literacy skills of a preschooler during “reading time” but also do storytime sessions and get preschoolers to read aloud poems and rhymes in other subjects.

Preschools implement storytimes of either childhood stories or made-up ones. Also, pre-K teachers use character puppets to play out scenarios with them.

Moreover, you can shape cookie dough into letters; perhaps spell out the name of the child or another word with it. Parents can also take turns with their preschoolers to say rhyming words, either real or made up. And it helps to have a classroom with signs and labeled objects so that a preschooler can see the correlation between both.

Visual and Performing Arts

Arts are crucial to any curriculum in preschool. That includes visual arts (drawing, painting, sculpture, weaving, and collage) and performing arts (dancing and singing). And if you’re doubtful of the necessity of creative arts in preschools, drawing and coloring improve the fine motor skills of a child.

To enhance their motor skills, children learn to use a variety of art supplies in preschool, including crayons, clay, colored pencils, markers, watercolor paint, oil pastels, and art chalk. Not to mention, they get to experiment with mixing colors.

As for performing arts, a child gets to sing traditional rhymes and, of course, ones related to the curriculum. They can join other preschoolers in movement dances and even use scarves, bean bags, and rhythm sticks to learn rhythms. And a preschooler could learn to play an instrument at school. They can take part in dramatic plays and dramatize famous stories.

Physical Education

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education strongly urge preschools to implement physical education.

By doing so, a child will build healthy habits and be likely to maintain them through adulthood. Also, the growth of movement skills is easier in a preschooler than older age groups. It improves their motor skills and paves the way for them to learn more complex movements later in life.

It’s recommended that a child in preschool or kindergarten gets at least 60 minutes of free play daily, either playing pretend at home or moving in the playground, and no less than 60 minutes of cumulative structured play, such as swimming, biking, or playing catch. And the child should be given constructive feedback and encouragement to improve his/her motor skills.


Which Curriculum Is Best For Preschool Children?

Positive Action is arguably the best curriculum for preschoolers. For one, it can be used in schools and homes. It instills invaluable skills and values in young children, including self-care, time management, emotional awareness, effective socialization, honesty, and the ability to set and work towards meaningful goals.

What Should a Preschool Curriculum Include?

Several aspects play into a preschool curriculum assessment. It must incorporate drawing, painting, coloring, colors, cutting, gluing, cooperation, hygiene, and calendars.

What Is a Curriculum for Early Childhood?

In simple terms, it’s the sum of the material that you’re planning to teach and your children or students are supposed to learn. It’s decided according to the targeted age group and the child's development in that period.

Final Thoughts

A preschool curriculum that gets the best of both worlds is the Positive Action program. Where most curricula are one or the other, it’s excellent for school and can be adjusted for homeschooling purposes.

Most importantly, it focuses heavily on the encouragement of positive behavior towards the self and others in a cheer-inducing environment.