One of the great aspects of working with children is how open they are with their ideas and interests. When working with young children, a little observation, on the part of the adult caregiver allows an entrance into the child’s world and their interests and values.
Out of these observations, comes the concept of emergent curriculum, which is different from the more traditional style of creating theme based curriculum. Emergent curriculum is a non-traditional style of designing curriculum that allows children to explore their interests and passions based on their lead as opposed to teacher directed themes.
An example of this concept looks like this; recently I was speaking with a young child who has a great interest in Frogs, he simply stated that he wished the next thing they would talk about in school was all about frogs. It occurred to me that this could be a great “theme” because it would be so simple to; go to the library and take out all kinds of books on this subject, create art projects, science themes, and even large motor skill activities. Sadly this did not come to fruition in his classroom, because the school this child attends incorporates the teacher directed and theme based curriculum.
As an Early Childhood Educator, which works directly with this child, I was quickly able to remedy this situation by creating a do-it-yourself frog curriculum at home. We went to the library and borrowed many books about frogs, and when this child decided it was his beloved stuffed frogs birthday, I went to the grocery store and bought cake mix and frosting(based on his request) to support this idea.
Children’s interests are unlimited, and it is beneficial to children’s development to allow them the time to fully explore their passions without any concern about seasons or holidays. Many educators feel that children “need” to understand the importance of Valentine’s Day, and overlook what the children’s real concerns are.
Although it requires more attention on the part of Educators to observe and assess children’s fervor, it is also rewarding to know that you as an Educator helped create a productive and proactive experience for the children in your care.
For more information on Emergent Curriculum, check-out these web-sites: