Eco-Healthy Childcare

Emergent Curriculum

Emergent curriculum is a non-traditional style of teaching that presents children with the opportunity to discover the world around them through their own interests and passions. It is “child-lead” or “child based learning” as opposed to “teacher directed” learning. Children under the age of five do not learn by being taught, they learn by doing; activities, actions, relationships, inquires and repetition.

Generally speaking, preschools and child care centers implement a classroom model where the teacher chooses the information and activities to be presented to children, and then determines that amount of time allotted for each activity. Therefore, children’s activities are set by the clock. Children who are actively engaged and enjoying an activity will be rushed to clean up and move on to another activity. Children who are not interested or finish up early become bored. In both situations, children are given the impressions that their natural attention span for an activity is not valid and/or their attention span becomes chopped up. The goal of Emergent Curriculum is to allow children to develop long-term projects, deep concentration and the ability to redirect themselves.

The teacher’s role is to be a co-learner who shows openness to children’s interests and ideas. Topics of study come from the children. The teacher becomes the researcher who collects information and presents it in an interesting environment. The educator’s role is to nurture positive social skills, encourage problem solving and support the developmental growth of the child.

Green Sprouts promotes Emergent Curriculum through:

  • documentation of the progression of explorations through photographs, art work, written observations, word walls , room displays and journals.
  • implementation of a child friendly routine that allows the natural pace of an individual/group as not to be guided by the clock.
  • learning centers that are designed to create an interest and encourage developmental growth.
  • monthly portfolio additions for individual students.
  • webbing; a planning tool where teachers develop a diagram based on a particular topic, highlighting key ideas and concept.

Emergent Curriculum validates a child’s curiosity in learning and allows them to follow their passions. It helps them to feel confident and create a love of learning.

Less is more

Less talking more observing
Less clutter more minimalistic
Less intervening more focus
Less teacher initiated, more child initiated
Less praise, more encouragement
Less interruption, more concentration
It has been my observation over the years that children who have too many things have a harder time playing peacefully and learning to share than children who have less.

— Hammond, Ruth Anne. Respecting Babies: a New Look to Magda Gerber’s Approach. Zero to Three.
Washington, DC. 2009