The Emergent curriculum is based on the Reggio Emilia Approach which is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi, who was a teacher himself, and the parents of the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy after World War II. They felt that it is in the early years of development that children form who they are as individuals. This led to creation of a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:
Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing;
Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore and Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.
What to expect in a Reggio-based (Emergent curriculum) classroom:
Children will be encouraged to do things on their own if able. An open-ended art activity will be provided each day (as opposed to craft) to foster their creativity and discourage competition.
You will hear the teacher/s compliment each child’s work specifically as opposed to “Good job, great work, I’m proud of you, ” to build self-esteem and discourage competition. Instead you will hear “I like the colours you used, the strokes over here, you should be so proud of yourself!”
Documentation will be recorded of children’s conversations and pictures taken for display which will serve as memories for the children and sharing the day with the parents.