Following Children’s Interests – Our Emergent Curriculum
Each of our 3 rooms in Crawford Childcare follows Aistear (NCCA, 2009) the National Curriculum Framework for children aged 0-6 years. The curriculum content is child led in that it is formed around the children’s emergent interests.
“Interests” are behaviours, subjects, ideas, things, topics and events which inspire, fascinate and stimulate positive learning dispositions such as concentration, perseverance and curiosity. Early year workers in our service use the interests of the children, families, community and themselves as the substance of the learning program. Interests are developed through projects/ investigations using fun, hands-on experiences where children and adults explore the learning together to develop theories and understanding.
Observations are fundamental to delivering an emergent curriculum. Children, parents and early years workers should pool their collective knowledge to provide each child with the best possible learning opportunities.
Even young babies have interests. When an infant is learning to sit, roll, crawl, walk and self-feed this is their current interest. They practise and practise showing such determination as they master new skills. We support, clap, cheer, encouraging their efforts. We do as they do, sing and play games to make their learning fun. For older children an obsession with a particular object, toy or book may provide the basis for further learning.
Experience has shown us that children’s interests are wide and varied and range from the apparently mundane to the bizarre. We aim to continually build our resources and plans to accommodate these. Often the educators learn alongside the children to meet this need. Google is often an early educator’s best friend!
The key to a high quality curriculum is to be attuned to the children’s play, conversations and activities for clues to each child’s interests. Take a look at our learning journal in the reception to see photographs of our curriculum in action. Keep an eye on this blog for weekly examples too! Most importantly talk to your child’s key worker and share your observations of your child’s interests with them. Parents are the experts on their child, share your insights to help as provide the best learning opportunities possible for your child.