GEAR Emergent Montessori Plus
Early MI Enrichment & Acceleration-Reggio Approach
Emergent curriculum is a philosophy of teaching and way of planning curriculum that focuses on being responsive to children’s interests to create meaningful learning experiences. This philosophy prioritizes active participation, relationship building, flexible and adaptable methods, inquiry, and play-based learning. The curriculum is child-initiated, collaborative and responsive to the children’s needs.
Emergent curriculum describes curriculum that develops from exploring what is relevant, interestingly and personally meaningful to children. This is based on the premise that children are most successful at learning when their experiences account for their interests, strengths, needs, and lived realities.
A few of the benefits of Emergent Curriculum:
- Children’s interests serve as the basis for program development;
- Expression of individual strengths is ensured;
- Unique learning needs are supported;
- Curriculum content is an extension of home/family life;
- Increased parental involvement is encouraged and;
- Diversity is celebrated in its fullest form.
Let’s look at an example of how Emergent Curriculum is taken forward in the GEM+ environment. When children were taken to the lawn outside their environment one day, they noticed an insect that looked like a grasshopper (It was a Praying Mantis). They were quite fascinated by the insect and tried to observe it very closely. Their curiosity was sparked, which was why they started asking questions such as ‘Why is it green?’ ‘Can it change colours?’ ‘What is it?’. Thus the Emergent Theme of the ‘Praying Mantis’ was developed.
During Circle Time that day, the children were asked to share their observations of the insect. Over the course of the next day few days, the mentors of that environment shared certain facts about the insect. The children learnt about how the insect got it’s name, what the different stages are in the life cycle of the insect, the different types of Praying Mantis, what shapes they saw when looking at the insect ( it has a triangular head), what the insects eat etc. The Mentors took this theme further by discussing about insects that were similar to the Praying Mantis such as a grasshopper and a cricket. They even created a Mystery Insect Tray an extension of a sensorial activity, in which different insect toys were covered with hay. The children loved to explore this tray and search for different insects, and through this process they learnt to identify a variety of insects. Taking the theme further, the children were also introduced to Nomenclature Cards about the parts of an insect.