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As a parent seeking the best educational approach for your child's preschool years, understanding the concept of an emergent curriculum is vital. The emergent curriculum is a child-centered approach that tailors the learning experience to meet the unique needs, interests, and abilities of each child. Let's explore how this approach benefits child progression in a diverse preschool classroom setting with 12 children of varying abilities.

What is the Emergent Curriculum?


The emergent curriculum is an educational philosophy that centers on the interests and experiences of children. Instead of following a predetermined set of topics or themes, teachers observe and listen to children, identify their interests, and then design learning experiences that foster exploration and critical thinking. This approach respects each child's individuality, promoting a love for learning and encouraging them to take an active role in their education.


This curriculum is also highly adaptive! When the provided lesson or materials are not supporting the goals of each child as originally intended, teachers can quickly change them for a better chance at seeing the child respond and engage with the necessary practice opportunities. 


What does the Day-to-Day Experience in the Preschool Classroom Look Like?


In a preschool classroom embracing an emergent curriculum, each day is intentional and methodical for your child to learn what's next on their list! Here's how it might look:

  1. Observation and Documentation: Teachers observe children during playtime and other activities to identify their interests and interactions. They document these observations to understand each child's progress, strengths, and areas for growth.

  2. Interest Exploration: Based on observations, teachers plan activities, projects, and discussions that align with the children's interests. This involves introducing new materials, books for morning meeting, and as many resources as possible related to the chosen focuses for the developmental goals.

  3. Flexibility and Open-Ended Learning: Lessons and activities are designed to be flexible and open-ended, allowing children to explore and investigate in their unique ways. This freedom promotes creativity and critical thinking.

  4. Individual and Group Projects: Children are encouraged to work both independently and collaboratively on projects that align with their interests. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and builds essential social skills.

  5. Reflection and Feedback: Teachers regularly engage in conversations with children to reflect on their experiences and provide positive feedback. This helps children recognize their progress and build self-confidence.

Want another perspective?
Let our favorite friend, Kristen Peterson, explain her experiences!
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