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Emergent Curriculum: An Introduction

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Presentation on theme: "Emergent Curriculum: An Introduction"— Presentation transcript:

1 Emergent Curriculum: An Introduction
Presented By: Cheryl Anderson, RECE Training & PD Coordinator Quality Child Care Initiative October 23, 2014

2 Let’s Talk! What is your understanding of Emergent Curriculum?
What do you already know? What questions do you still have? What are the challenges with your understanding of, or your application of Emergent Curriculum in your program?

3 What is Emergent Curriculum?
Emergent Curriculum is a framework for child-centred, play-based learning.

4 Emergent Curriculum: What It Is
Play-based Believes that children are competent, active learners Provides routines, transitions and schedule (not a circus but flexibility is necessary) Offers opportunities for variety of experiences (indoors/outdoors, quiet/active, group/individual) Planning evolves from “daily life” not pre-set themes Planning is flexible and responsive to children (constantly developing)

5 Collaborative – we co-construct knowledge together
Teacher as facilitator taking what she sees & hears and bringing opportunities to the children to construct further knowledge Honours unique learning styles & talents in children & educators Richly provisioned, responsive environments

6 An Invitation to Examine our Values & Practices in Relationship to Emergent Curriculum
What is your image of children? What do you believe about them? What do you feel they deserve? What is the role of the teacher? What is the role of the environment?

7 Image of Children Emergent Curriculum believes that children are capable and competent to engage in their own learning about the world Children are active, social learners Children bring valuable knowledge, ideas and experiences Children are influenced by family, culture, gender & previous experiences Children have various learning styles and ways of understanding & constructing knowledge

8 Role of the teacher In Emergent Curriculum both the teacher and child are researchers. We co-construct knowledge together. Emergent curriculum is based on the idea that we all learn best in situations that have meaning for us.

9 Teachers are: Observers Stage managers Facilitators Scribes

10 Role of the environment
In emergent curriculum, the environment acts as the “third teacher” Children need large blocks of time to play to investigate their ideas and theories Children need ample space that is designed intentionally to engage them Children need rich materials that engage their curiosity and competencies

11 Materials Open-ended Loose parts Natural
Creative (process not product) Authentic Opportunities for children to represent their ideas (words, drawing, clay, playdo, dramatic play, constructive play, art)

12 Emergent approach and How Does Learning Happen?
Does an emergent approach support the key foundations of How Does Learning Happen?


14 How do we observe? Pay close attention to children!
Questioning what we see (why is this happening?, what does it mean, what are the children thinking? why am I attracted to this situation?) Taking a photo Videotaping Making written notes Audiotaping

15 What do we observe? No magic answer!

16 We observe everything! Children’s play themes
Unexpected events (moments that arouse children’s curiosity or ours) Children’s interests / our interests Individual children and development Life experiences Relationships Schemas

17 Things in the physical environment that children are connecting to
Daily schedule – routines & transitions Focused observation for research question (what have we noticed about how the children have been using the outdoor environment?)

18 Things to remember about observation
We all observe different things We bring different perspectives & values to our observations (Perspective exercise) What do we do with our observations? What is the next step? Sharing our observations and reflecting with others

19 From Reflection to Curriculum (Stacey, 2009)
Reflection is the magic in the middle Without it we are missing the importance of the connections between what we see and hear and our decisions Reflection puts the Why back into what we do...

20 What is Reflection? Making meaning out of what we have seen and/or heard Today I observed….; Over the last few weeks I have observed… What does this mean for the children and our program?

21 Provides a variety of perspectives
Who do we reflect with? Dialogue with yourself Dialogue with your team teachers Dialogue with other colleagues in your program Dialogue with families Provides a variety of perspectives

22 How do we reflect? Share your written observation
Share a photo (photo exercise) Share the videotaping Share the conversation you had with a family Share a conversation that you overheard or had with a child Ask questions!

23 What are the children trying to communicate through what they are doing? What does it mean?
What are the big play ideas, intriguing ideas or interests? What do you wonder about what you have seen or heard?

24 Consider your next steps:
How can we scaffold the learning? How can we help the children deepen their thinking and find further learning with experiences? How can we sustain and extend (increase the complexity) the children’s thinking? Which ideas do we respond to?

25 Response What can we do? Make changes to the environment
Adapt your schedule Offer new materials to increase the complexity Make additional observations or have conversations with the children Offer an activity to “test the waters” Seek out an expert to visit / field trip Include the idea within circle time / small group Reflect with children on photos that you may have taken

26 Prepare documentation (enables children’s thinking to be made visible)

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