When you visit our preschool program, you will notice that children in each room are deeply engaged in a variety of activities and projects. The term "emergent curriculum" would be used to describe this program’s curriculum. Emergent curriculum is a developmentally appropriate approach to planning for children's learning in early childhood settings. Through this approach, teachers gain a greater understanding of each child's individual needs, allowing for thoughtful and individualized programming. A successful emergent curriculum approach means that teachers thoughtfully plan the environment, offering many visible choices, based on the children's skills and needs. Teachers conduct observations and plan based on their observations of children. Teachers practicing emergent curriculum also utilize reflective practice, taking time to reflect and act on their observations of children. We follow The California Learning Foundations in Early Childhood Education as a guideline in our approach.
Project work is often another component of our program. Projects allow children to study a topic in more depth over a period of days or weeks and can involve a small group or the whole class. Projects in an emergent curriculum classroom often focus on answering children's questions such as "Where does water go when you water plants?" or "Why are things different colors?" or "What kinds of homes do animals have? Our teachers take note of children's questions in their everyday interactions and use this opportunity as a teachable moment. Our curriculum encompasses our entire program integrating other approaches throughout. The theory of loose parts is integrated both indoor and outdoor. We also plan and implement our outdoor learning environment with an intentional purpose using the same guidelines of the curriculum. Problem-solving and conflict resolution are a huge part of our program curriculum as well.