We utilize an emergent curriculum approach which is inspired by the practices of Reggio Emilia schools in Italy. Emergent Curriculum is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to be a best practice in the early education field today. It is child-centered and focused around the competencies, interests and needs of the children along with the passions of the teachers. Learning is the result of a continuous cycle of inquiry using areas of deep interest to the children, exhibited through active play. Emergent Curriculum is a process in which teachers collaborate with children around their ideas, questions, development and topics of interest. The curriculum is intentional and teachers respond to children's ideas by proposing further activities for discovery, scaffolding knowledge, changing the environment, documenting the process and writing a plan for curriculum that emerges.
It is distinct from approaches used in other centers in which teacher-directed planned “themes” are the focus of activities. When children understand that they belong to a learning community, that their ideas do matter, and that their questions can lead to deep problem solving and creative expression, then mastery motivation is truly born!
The wide windowed playroom has provided a wonderful harvest of light today! As a decorative window "jewel" strewed rainbows around the room yesterday the excited children tried to chase the moving shapes...Today, teachers provided an invitation with mirrors, colored pencils, paper and prisms of various shapes and sizes. They discovered light can move, and bend in wonderful ways...And the next question they might ask is WHY??
Several classrooms have stumbled upon the excitement of maps and 2D and 3D creations...the Tree Frogs made maps of a Super Hero School blueprint, complete with flying areas, a parking lot for super hero vehicles and a jumping zone. More recently, our Toucans started asking about GPS's and maps and began with a map of the classroom. Each one a unique insight into a child's processing of space, orientation and purpose.
THE BUILDING OF A TE-PEE
Families, children and teachers joined together to create two living shade sculptures on our playground. The children helped design, dig, plant and protect our new bean te-pees. They loved eating fresh beans while reading stories inside their new "quiet," outdoor space.
LETTERS AND LIGHT
Children, excited by the study of light, wondered what items could cast a shadow. Teachers used this opportunity to bring literacy into a science activity. The children loved finding "their" letters on the wall!