Emergent curriculum is an idea that finds its roots in an Italian pedagogical philosophy, progettazione. As you might recall, curriculum is an unfolding of learning – how learning ‘runs its course.’ In early years education, in Ontario, emergent curriculum is often touted as a philosophy abounding in early years spaces, however, it seems that many educators take this as an ‘anything goes’ way to be in relationship with children. Ideas like “following the child’s lead,” “child-centred,” and even “school-readiness” confuse the original intent of emergent curriculum – it’s not meant to be a pre-packaged course, and its certainly more than just ‘child-led.’
An emergent curriculum is like a tree – the roots are the things that give the learning foundation – the trunk is that shared relationship around the idea or concept, then the limbs, twigs, leaves, and all of the animals and things that call this space home, are now the various ideas that are explored or considered alongside the children.
I think this brings folks in where they are at, but also asks them to be rooted in a larger focus that child-development and school-readiness. As per our provincial pedagogy (How Does Learning Happen) – early years curriculum is foundational for supporting and encouraging life-long learning skills!