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Core Knowledge Curriculum

Core Knowledge Website Link

A Coherent, Cumulative, and Content-Specific Curriculum

The idea behind the Core Knowledge Sequence is simple and powerful: knowledge builds on knowledge.

Download the Sequence for Grades K-8

The Core Knowledge Approach

The Core Knowledge approach puts knowledge at the heart of schooling.

Specific and Sequenced: Most curriculum standards provide general goals and objectives but offer teachers little guidance about the specific knowledge students should learn in each grade. In contrast, the Core Knowledge approach is to specify, in a clear grade-by-grade sequence, what students need to know.

Excellence and Equity: Only by specifying the knowledge and skills that all children should share can we guarantee equal access to that knowledge. Educational excellence and equity require that every child in a democracy have access to important shared knowledge and language.

Starting Early: It’s important to begin building strong foundations of knowledge in the early years. The Core Knowledge approach focuses on preschool through grade eight. In these early years, especially the preschool and elementary grades, schools can do the most to help children lay the groundwork for language development and future success.

Higher Literacy: Children create understanding by building on what they already know. They learn best when they are offered an engaging, challenging, and content-rich curriculum that builds and grows from year to year. As the heart of a school’s curriculum, the Sequence provides a solid foundation for literacy and learning that promotes academic excellence for all learners, while remaining flexible enough to meet state and local standards. The Sequence is not a list of facts, events, and dates to be memorized. It is a guide to content from grade to grade, designed to encourage steady academic growth and progress as children construct their knowledge and develop literacy and critical thinking skills year after year.

The Core Knowledge Sequence

What do students need to know? To answer that question, we undertook a long process of research and consensus-building to develop the Core Knowledge Sequence.

Core Knowledge Sequence

The Core Knowledge Sequence is a detailed outline of recommended content knowledge and skills to be taught in language arts, history and geography, visual arts, music, mathematics, and science from preschool through grade eight. The Sequence complements the general skills and objectives typically found in state and local curriculum guides.

Find out more about the Core Knowledge Sequence—what it is, how it was developed, and how you can use it in your classroom, school, or district.

The specific content in the Sequence provides a solid foundation on which to build skills instruction. Moreover, because the Sequence builds knowledge systematically year by year, it helps prevent repetition and gaps in instruction that can result from vague curricular guidelines (for example, repeated units on “Pioneer Days” or “Saving the Rain Forest;” or inadequate attention to the Bill of Rights, or to the geography of Africa; etc.).

Download the Sequence for Grades K-8

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