Saturday, June 5, 2010

Free Falling Into Emergent Curriculum

“You have to learn to let go… It’s like free falling.” A co-teacher from STI Prep school described ‘Emergent Curriculum’ to me. And indeed, as scary as it seemed, it really is like free falling. After learning about Emergent Curriculum from one of my MA classes in DLSU, I really wanted to practice it. It has been 7 years since I decided to practice emergent curriculum in my classroom. And to be ridiculously honest, I haven’t fully ‘let go’ yet. But, I am enjoying it now more than I have enjoyed it when I started.
Emergent curriculum describes the kind of curriculum that develops when exploring what is "socially relevant, intellectually engaging, and personally meaningful to children."

It has always been scary for me to introduce a concept to children which I personally am not so knowledgeable about then ask, “What do you KNOW about (The World, for example) or “What can you tell me about The World? All of the children’s responses are documented, no matter how silly it may seem. Because, his response will always, always have a connection to whatever topic you are talking about, you just have to ask and find out how he came up with that response.
Then you ask an even scarier question, “What do you want to know?” Then you have to begin to investigate, research, experiment and WONDER. I have learned and discovered so many things since I began to wonder with 3-5 year olds. There will also be a lot of discussions (even arguments – from a classroom of 4-6 year olds, most especially). And I try (ever so hard) not to take control or interfere with any investigative activity the children are doing. I try to keep in mind that I can only facilitate. And after an interview, a field trip, reading a reference book, browsing the internet or finalizing an experiment, I share the same ‘AHA!’ feeling the children have.
For closure, I encourage the children to come up with a project to apply or present all the things that we have learned. The performing and visual arts now come in. The children are eager to express their new learnings and discoveries. And preparations for a culminating event is now underway.  
 I am blessed to be working with a school which allows emergent curriculum. I may still be far from really mastering emergent curriculum but at least, after seven years and looking back, I have learned to love it.

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