We follow an emergent curriculum approach in which the children’s curiosities drive the direction of our studies. Our curriculum and topics of investigation are often nature-inspired, but we follow the children’s interests wherever they might lead. Instead of creating a steadfast curriculum plan that can be repeated year after year, I am carefully observing the children, taking notes, considering what overarching themes are developing and where their interests are leading. Sometimes we jump in more overtly and discuss as a group what we might like to study together; every group is different. From there, my role as the teacher is to present carefully selected materials, plan meaningful field trips and ask thoughtful, open ended questions that might drive their play and inquiry to the next level. Sometimes these studies stretch on for a couple of months, sometimes a few weeks, and often we revisit and deepen our learning after we’ve stepped away from a topic for a while. I am intentional when determining when to let the children take the wheel and when to step in and offer guidance and support. My primary goal when guiding children is to support a process of questioning, hypothesizing, observing and reflecting.
Many of the “Kindergarten readiness” milestones parents worry about often develop on their own when children are learning in an environment where they are free to pursue their passions and interests. In their natural and enthusiastic quest for understanding of the world around them, children readily acquire basic academic skills such as beginning literacy and mathematics. Children, when immersed in a project of interest, will amaze you by going above and beyond – mastering concepts, skills, and a degree of focus that you are unlikely to see from adult-prescribed activities. Throughout the year I carefully observe your child’s development and support them individually on an ongoing basis. We make time for family conferences twice a year so that we can mutually share our observations from school and home and, together, develop goals for your child and a plan for supporting them.