The Breadcrumbs Curriculum
Breadcrumbs is a unique, comprehensive, heart-centered, social-emotional curriculum designed for children between the ages of 4-7. The curriculum is inspired by the work and research of Maria Montessori who saw young children as being guided by "the intelligence of love.” She believed that children are innately good, and that allowed to develop freely, they feel connected to everything and are naturally caring for each other and the world around them. Since her time, scientists and researchers have affirmed Maria's observations.
It is the Breadcrumbs philosophy that this innate goodness is rooted in qualities of the human heart: gratitude, empathy, compassion, appreciation, cooperation, patience, kindness and peace. By helping young children to identify, celebrate and cultivate their natural, loving, compassionate predisposition, parents and educators are able to help them to build a strong social-emotional framework around it.
The Curriculum is divided into five units with a total of 21 lessons, to be introduced weekly over the course of a school year. Each week, the children enjoy carefully selected stories that illustrate key social emotional concepts. Guided discussions, songs and playful activities reinforce the material. The children ultimately integrate and “take the lessons to heart” as they walk the Breadcrumbs labyrinth; consider a “take-it-to-heart reflection question”; and record their individual responses in their Breadcrumbs Journals.
The Breadcrumbs “Superpower Breathing” technique is employed in each lesson as a means of calming and shifting attention from the head to the heart.
“Place your hands on your heart and a smile on your face. Imagine that you’re in your Quiet, Happy Place… Breathe in like a flower, and out like a shower… and Poof, you’re connected to your superpower—LOVE!”
Breathing “in-like a flower."
Walking the Breadcrumbs Labyrinth
Young children are remarkably insightful when it comes to identifying the people, places and practices that make them feel happy, peaceful, safe, and loved. Learning to rekindle those special feeling memories through heart-centered reflection is both soothing and empowering. Each week, by taking questions to heart, the children:
Cultivate self-compassion and empathy;
Celebrate the love that surrounds them;
Become more aware of their emotional landscape;
Identify and cultivate calming, self-soothing practices;
Learn to see their hearts as a trusted source of wisdom; and
Develop a personal set of tools to creatively navigate life’s inevitable ups and downs.
What makes Breadcrumbs truly unique is the coupling of the practice of walking the ancient labyrinth with principles of heart intelligence and mindfulness.
Children are naturally drawn to the labyrinth. The labyrinth is a kinesthetic teaching tool that makes profound heart connections and affords a perfect space in which to apply new concepts creatively.
It is truly a path of joy!
The Breadcrumbs Classroom
Contemplating a Take-it-to-Heart Reflection Question
What People Are Saying
“Incorporating the Breadcrumbs Curriculum into our Kindergarten class had such a positive immediate impact. The students connected with the fun lessons and activities because of the concrete components - labyrinth, heart pillows, books, art and activities. I watched with delight as students would spontaneously apply breathing techniques to help themselves solve problems or just help them sit with a difficult feeling.”
- Elizabeth Goodman - Lead Teacher
King’s Wood Montessori School, Foxboro, MA
“Breadcrumbs is much more than a curriculum. It is an impressive tool that empowers children to recognize and celebrate the incredible individuals they are!”
- MaryJo McNamara - Head of School
Longmeadow Montessori Internationale, Longmeadow, MA