Early Childhood Policy and Practice

  • Stephanie C. Smith
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Urban Education book series (PSUE)


In defining the nature of curriculum, Bernstein (1981) uses the term classification. Classification manages the boundary maintenance between categories (Bernstein 1996). Classification can describe the structure of the school day or presentation of curriculum. In traditional pedagogy, subjects are divided (strong classification), while in progressive pedagogy subjects are integrated (weak classification; Bernstein 1971). For example, in a traditional classroom, teachers have specific times for learning reading, math, science, social studies, and so on. Each of these subjects has a designated textbook and materials. The mathematics period is used for the teaching and learning of math and is without the integration of other subjects. In progressive classrooms, subjects are integrated so that students can learn concepts in multiple disciplines at once (Dewey [1915] 2001). Materials are shared between subjects and teachers are intentional about the integration of several concepts into a single lesson.


Head Start Early Childhood Program Head Start Program Visible Pedagogy Language Code 
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© Stephanie C. Smith 2015

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  • Stephanie C. Smith

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