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Emergent Curriculum: Our Theme for 2015/2016


Learning means remembering long-term, and putting learning into practice.  We believe children learn best when they are fully engaged.  One of the best ways to engage children is to listen and respond to what they are interested in and already know.

We have been fostering emergent curriculum at Progressive for many years.  Often this process is individualized, or it happens rather informally.  This year we will work consciously towards a collective emergent experience.


Emergent curriculum emerges from the play of children and the play of teachers. It is co-constructed by the children, the adults, and the environment itself. To develop curriculum in depth, adults must notice children's questions and invent ways to extend them, document what happens, and invent more questions.  This can lead to special projects.


Emergent curriculum by definition is unplanned.  It will initiate on its own if the teacher allows space for free play and discussion.  Once a theme emerges, a sensitive teacher will develop it so that dynamic academic learning is immersed into the experience.


All students and teachers, and hopefully many of our parents will be engaged in emergent curriculum.


Children learn (and therefore develop brain cell connections or dendrites) when they:

run, jump, dramatize, speak up, socialize, read, listen, sing, paint, catch, kick, hit, throw, climb, dig, observe, swing, question, scream, pull, push, rhyme, argue, create, shape, invent, experiment, and more...


The main goal is to inspire delight, curiosity, celebration, and inquiry in the classroom.  Emergent curriculum should allow children to develop long-term projects, deep concentration, and the ability to redirect themselves if they are bored or otherwise not engaged in an activity.  Emergent curriculum helps to maintain a teaching staff well-versed in the fundamentals of how and what children learn, so they can support and guide learning as it emerges naturally inside the school, in the natural world, and in our community as a whole.  Finally it creates cooperation, partnership, resource-sharing and amiability between staff, students, parents and the community.

Progressive School of Long Island

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