National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program

Developing Curriculum-based Programs and Services

Competency Description

Parks offer many kinds of curriculum-based programs and services to organized groups. These programs and services may be developed in response to a request from a group whose educational objectives relate to the meanings/significance of the park, or as an attempt by the park to reach out to a particular group. The majority of curriculum-based programs and services are developed for K-12 school groups.

Curriculum-based services provide group leaders with tools necessary for meeting their educational objectives through a connection with park resources and values. Curriculum-based services take many forms including traveling trunks, teacher self-guides, web-sites, and CD-ROMs, teacher workshops and other in-service professional development opportunities. Programs and services of this type engage participants in a sequence of experiences that address objectives of both the group and the park. The experiences in curriculum-based programs and services provide both learning and interpretive opportunities and are developed as a sequence in order to build understanding, facilitate connections to meanings, and create opportunities for direct personal involvement. They are typically developed to meet recurring needs and usually require an extended development period in order to incorporate input from group leaders Developing curriculum-based programs and services involves identifying a group with

curriculum-based needs and defined educational objectives; working with them to develop a role your park can play in meeting those needs and objectives; determining potential connections to park resources and interpretive themes related to those objectives; working with group leaders; developing a sequence of experiences; providing learning and interpretive opportunities within those experiences; applying proper techniques for the type and age of the group, and evaluating the program’s effectiveness. This competency (formerly known as Module 370) focuses on the body of knowledge and skills necessary for the development of a single curriculum-based program or service that addresses park goals, fits within the overall park Comprehensive Interpretive Plan or overall Education Plan (if they exist), and integrates the educational objectives of an organized group with the overall interpretive themes of the park.


Curriculum-based programs include a ranger-led presentation that may occur in the park, in a classroom, or at another location. The elements of effective curriculum-based presentations are described in the competency for, “Presenting an Effective Curriculum-based Program” (formerly Module 270).