"Curriculum is everything that happens in school or child care." (Claudia Eliason, 2008.)

Assistant teacher and students working on an activity

As we plan for the children's development in the Lane Child and Family Center we use theories and methods which incorporate Emergent Curriculum and individual and age appropriate learning goals known as Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP). Emergent Curriculum and Developmentally Appropriate Practice are very child-centered approaches. This type of curriculum requires good observation and assessment skills, and is part of "best practices" in early childhood education. Emergent curriculum includes interests from the children, teachers, families and the practicum students working in the classroom. Both adults and children have initiative and make decisions.

The power to impact curriculum means the adults provision the environment and add provocations of what interests the children, and the children expand their knowledge by actively exploring materials. Teachers and practicum students take time to reflect on the play observed and, as a team, make plans for extending the learning for that child or group of children. Family home values, beliefs, experiences, and children’s home language are taken into consideration when developing the curriculum. This ongoing observation and assessment allows staff to adapt and modify the curriculum to support individualized learning opportunities for children.

teacher and children reading a book

The following guiding principles are inspirations from the Reggio Emilia approach that we have adapted in our school culture:

The image of the child: Every child is capable and full of potential. Every child is an active participant in the learning process. Children can construct their own knowledge by exploring their world and creating meaning. Each child is a valued member of the community. We come together as a group to greet, eat, share, collaborate, listen and reflect every day.

The hundred languages of children: Children use multiple languages and materials to express their thoughts. They naturally engage in learning in many ways: art, movement, music, building, writing, science, dramatic play, and more! They test theories and make connections with their environment every day.

The role of the teacher: The teacher is a partner that engages in daily discoveries. They are facilitators and researchers and participate in the process and support independent thinking.

The role of the family: parents and family members are valued members in our school’s culture. Parents are the ‘first teacher’. Having parent involvement enriches the child’s experience. Parents are partners in the learning process.

The environment as the third teacher: Our classrooms are aesthetic, thoughtful, welcoming and engaging. The varying materials promote curiosity and open-ended experiences. The environment encourages investigations. Exploration leads to communication that fosters new ideas and new friendships. Our “classroom” includes the whole campus. Children are passionate about learning and their interests guide our curriculum.