What is Emergent Curriculum?

Poster Assignment

Emergent Curriculum is...

the planning of activities and learning experiences that are brought about through the observation of and interaction with the children that will be involved in them. These experiences happen in a manner that has the teacher following the example set by the children.

Children learn through play experiences.

How are the interests of the children decided and documented?

Through observations that include documenting what the children are talking about as well as the questions they are asking will help to give the teacher a starting point for more in depth discussions with the children. It is during these in depth discussions that a teacher could create a planning web with the children to help organize the questions the children have about a particular topic as well as the information that that already know.

How is Emergent Curriculum important to an early childhood setting?

In early childhood classrooms emergent curriculum very important it allows the teacher to plan experiences that not only meet the developmental needs of the children, but are also of interest to them as well.
Emergent curriculum helps to reinforce the emphasis put on the importance of learning through play in programs that are defined as being play based.

An example of a emergent curriculum model would be the Reggio Emilia approach.
As defined by Wikipedia: "The Reggio Emilia Approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi, who was a teacher himself, and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. The destruction from the war, parents believed, necessitated a new, quick approach to teaching their children. They felt that it is in the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. This led to creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum."

This approach uses a set of principles to guide the development of a programs philosophy, environment and curriculum. The Reggio Emilia approach has been shown to have influenced a number of early childhood settings. In these settings the teachers have been eager to learn more about this approach and the benefits it will have for the children in their classroom.