An emergent curriculum involves the whole child; meaning the social, emotional, cognitive, and physical realms of development and learning.
What does that mean in practice? We provide rich, diverse resources and respectful support to children’s emerging interests and their various in-depth explorations and multi-media expressions. We observe to discover what the children are interested in and build on those inclinations, interests, and fascinations to help them learn naturally and holistically as powerful individual learners and as effective members in successful learning groups.
Children initiate the explorations and projects. They explore and express themselves in their own way and in their own time. Each exploration or project can take weeks or months, depending on the children’s sustained fascination, and can morph into new lines of inquiry and investigation.
For Nursery Year 1, we observe what things they bring into the classroom or choose there to play with, and we help them to go farther and deeper with those explorations. For example, an interest in playing with cardboard boxes might evolve into parents and teachers bringing in boxes of many sizes that after weeks of exploring, testing, and taping them together, may become a large maze of tunnels and towers.
For Nursery Year 2, we observe and listen to their expressed interests and support them in their gathering of information and other resources to fuel their in-depth explorations and comprehensive projects. For example, an interest in where the water in the classroom came from — may lead to exploring the pipes under the sink — and looking at building plans for the water supply — and a trip around the school to see the pipes — and building their own tubes to test water flow with gravity and pumps.
Exploring and expressing are the fundamental strategies in an emergent curriculum. We build learning around what the children want to explore, and the learning process involves gently guiding them to explore further and getting them to express, in words, gestures, processes, and materials, when they are able, what they want, what they’re doing, and why. Thus, exploring and expressing reinforce each other. And build individual and group cohesiveness.
In emergent curriculum learning groups, children learn to accept, understand, and appreciate the interests, skills, working styles, temperaments, and resources of the other children. Their unique offerings are aggregated into fascinating multi-dimensional projects and their individual efforts lead to more comprehensive compelling results.
When paired with in-depth explorations and a project approach, an emergent curriculum is a powerful learning tool, because it is child-initiated, child-centered, and child-directed; with adult facilitation. By harnessing children’s own interests, motivation, and energy, it allows for and encourages them to determine their own learning direction, pace, focus, and rewards.
The result of an emergent curriculum is that children absorb a wide range of information and significant social, emotional, and physical development thanks to their having explored many sources, materials, and processes.
An emergent curriculum develops an appreciation for and skills in working with diversity in all its forms, including:
* Learning Styles
* Body Types
* Life Orientations * World View
* Family Cultures
* Skill Sets
* Knowledge Bases
* Belief Systems
* Work and Learning Spaces
* Hundred Languages of Children
It also develops a strong foundation for emotional intelligence and a significant understanding of a range of emotions, with corresponding effects on self-image, self-worth, and social success.