Our Mission

The Complementary Curriculum Approach promotes play-based, creative opportunities interwoven with skill-based experiences and an equity stance that supports children’s confidence, competence, and joyful learning. Every child has the right to a responsive early education experience which honors their cultural, social, and intellectual ways of being.Teachers aspire to a settled classroom where children are engaged in productive and joyful play. You might feel caught between play and skill building. Perhaps children’s behaviors communicate that they need something different to develop agency and self-regulation. We can help you discover new ways to work that serve children and teachers well.

The Complementary Curriculum Approach helps you to discover a new mindset, with rich, interesting learning experiences at the core. Our work is complex, interesting, and requires specific knowledge and intentional practices. Using an anti-bias stance reminds us that a commitment to identity, diversity, and equity supports both child-led learning and a social justice stance.

Understanding the Prepared Environment and the Four Intentions opens a world where you can give explicit presentations while still providing open ended opportunities. You can offer freedom for play and inquiry without sacrificing structured, scaffolded experiences. You can provide equitable access to learning experiences and support children’s identity as active and empathic learners.

We want to help you become the teacher you aspire to be, moving through the intentions to strengthen your unique voice and practice, and pave the way for meaningful, joyful engagement for children and for you!

Lisa and Iris

The Four Intentions

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Compelling Materials

How teachers design and offer materials inspires children’s curiosity, experimentation, and thoughtful decision-making. Learn to provision the classroom with interesting materials that add complexity to children’s learning over time.

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Explicit Presentation

Explicit modeling of social interactions, self-care routines, and use of classroom materials guides children to purposeful action. Learn to demonstrate the use of materials and routines to build and sustain children’s independence.

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Responsive Scaffolding

A teacher’s supporting moves and interactions build upon and expand children’s explorations. Identify windows of opportunity to move in and out of children’s experiences as you scaffold new learning.

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Following Children’s Interests

Designing an environment and planning activity rooted in children’s interests is what sparks deep, relevant learning. Learn to work with “big idea” investigations that connect to children’s lives and communities. Learn to foster children’s choice making and sustained, productive play periods.


"Thanks for the workshop! Your guidance was really helpful as we work to evolve our school’s documentation and assessment systems. We have new ideas about how to capture our students learning more accurately, equitably, and richly.”

Caitlin Malloy, Executive Director, Newtowne School

"The pictures were great and made what the presenters were saying clearer for me. I cannot wait to share this information with my co-workers."

Workshop Participant

"Very informative. I will be implementing some of the things I learned TODAY in my daycare."

Workshop Participant

Schedule a Consultation Session

We provide education consulting services to support preschool programs, head start, public schools, and early care providers.

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Complementary Curriculum Approach Book Cover

Transform Your Practice Through Intentional Teaching

The Complementary Curriculum Approach invites teachers to support children’s play, cultivate classroom environments with rich, interesting learning experiences at the core, and commit to equitable classroom practices.

The Complementary Curriculum Approach identifies four strategic and powerful teaching intentions that supports a child's right to an educational experience rooted in an anti-bias stance. These intentions will invigorate and strengthen teacher practices and pave the way for meaningful, joyful engagement for children and the adults who work with them.