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.

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.

Sequence K-8 Cover 611x792 HiResThe 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 Blueprint for Knowledge-Based Schooling

The Core Knowledge Sequence provides the blueprint for knowledge-based schooling.

Knowledge-based schooling puts the emphasis of early education on teaching and learning an enabling core of broadly shared knowledge—enabling because it builds strong foundations for later learning and opens doors to effective participation and mutual understanding in the wider society. Learn more about the thinking behind knowledge-based schooling, and read about schools using Core Knowledge

Resources for Knowledge-Based Schooling

We develop content-rich resources to support knowledge-based schooling in preschool through grade eight. Many of our books and materials are available at no cost for non-commercial use. Others may be purchased from our store.

By making the Core Knowledge Sequence and other curricular materials freely available, we work to put into practice the principle that every child in a democracy should have access to shared, enabling knowledge and language.