We believe in a balance between teacher lead, parent and child-initiated learning.
'Intentional teaching’ involves educators being deliberate, purposeful and thoughtful in their decisions and action.
Adult-led activities are based on our own professional understanding of what we should teach young children and what experiences they should have. Through adult-led activities we can introduce children to new ideas, provide opportunities for them to develop their skills and ensure that they experience all areas of learning in the Early Years.
During adult-led learning, we can feel that we are in control of the teaching we are providing. However, what we cannot have any control over is what young children are learning from these experiences. This is why it is so important to balance adult-led learning with time and opportunity for children to explore their own ideas, play with resources and use their imagination and creativity. It is only through doing this and practising the skills that they have learned that children will be able to take ownership of their learning and be able to apply it in different situations.
To provide high-quality experiences for young children we should aim for a balance of adult-directed activities and child-initiated activities. The other third of the time should ideally be taken up by child-initiated activities that are then picked up on and supported by an adult – these are opportunities for ‘sustained, shared thinking’ to take place. These ratios are of course flexible, depending on educator judgement and the individual needs of each child.
An emergent curriculum is a way of planning a curriculum that is based on the children's interests and passions at a certain point in time. Children thrive and learn best when their interests are captured. Learning occurs naturally.
To plan an emergent curriculum requires observation, documentation, creative brainstorming, flexibility and patience. Rather than starting with a lesson plan which requires a “hook” to get the children interested, the emergent curriculum starts with the observation of the children for insight into their interests. Additionally, content is influenced by values held for the children's learning by the school, community, family and culture. The classroom typically consists of learning centres that expand and facilitate children's learning and encourage independent learning skills.