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Why Emergent Curriculum?

How is it possible?

Yael Safran

on 20 July 2013

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Transcript of Why Emergent Curriculum?

Emergent curriculum is a way of planning curriculum based on the student’s interest and passions as well as the teacher’s.
What is Emergent Curriculum?
To plan an emergent curriculum requires observation, documentation, creative brainstorming, flexibility and patience.
What do you need?
Emergent Curriculum ideas come from observation. Observations identify play ideas and interests of particular children.
Documentation is the process
of recording children’s thoughts
and actions on a topic to maintain
their focus and expand their

A finished documentation panel should convey what started the experience, how it developed and why, and its outcome or the open ended questions it sparked.
Teachers brainstorm many possibilities for study sparked from the particular interest, not as a plan but more as a ‘road map’ as one teacher put it: To get a plan, we chose an idea and brainstormed ways that children could play it – hands-on activities we could provide. Putting all the activities on a web gives you a road map full of possible journeys.
Creative Brainstorming
"The teachers honestly do not know where the group will end up. Although this openness adds a dimension of difficulty to their work, it also makes it more exciting.”
Goals of Emergent Curriculum

to inspire delight, curiosity, celebration and inquiry in the classroom
to build intrinsic motivation and a long-term love of learning in children
to help children craft an internal compass to guide them as a learner, rather than relying on instruction and direction from others
to inspire children to be authors, inventors, illustrators, designers, dancers, singers, actors, etc. and to celebrate their unique talents and abilities
to encourage consistent self-reflection and professional growth among teachers, so they may always improve the quality of classroom experience
to maintain a teaching staff well-versed in the fundamentals of how and what children learn, so they can support and guide learning as it emerges naturally inside the school, in the natural world, and in our community as a whole
to allow the natural pace of individual and group learning to emerge, and not be guided exclusively by the clock
to create cooperation, partnership, resource-sharing and amiability between staff, students, parents and the community
to give children an organized environment in which to use all of their senses and faculties to learn
to recognize that critical learning takes place during conflict, negotiation, brainstorming and resolution
to provide adequate outside time daily
to support the varied learning styles (visual, auditory, sensory, verbal, etc.) in ways that are also aware of gender differences
to carry out assessment in the form of student portfolios and documentation of learning
to honor and welcome children with special rights (aka special needs) into our school community
to practice supportive social learning rather than punishment

1) Weekly classroom documentation displayed
2) Monthly portfolio additions for individual students
3) Student-led expeditions, inquiries and investigations
4) Field trips and excursions outside the school
5) On-going staff training and professional development
6) Activities in our dramatic play, block, science, sensory, literacy and manipulative areas in school, as well as on the playground.
7) Opportunities to experience conflict, negotiation and resolution in a safe setting.
8) Opportunities to run, jump, sing, dramatize, wiggle, write, read, create original work, and YES - hit, kick, yell, throw, catch - all with appropriate targets of course and nurture, feel, cry, hug, feed, care, wonder and more...
How do we do this?

Because this is how children learn. They do not learn by sitting before a teacher who imparts knowledge. They learn by doing and self-directing! And they succeed in the future by learning to love school. Their delight and spontaneous wonder will always be our first priority.

(Dan Hodgins, CAEYC Conference, April 2006)
-Be flexible
-Be patient
Full transcript