At Hugging Tree, we use emergent curriculum in our planning. Emergent curriculum is defined as a process where teachers plan activities and projects based on the specific group of children they are working with, taking into account their skills, needs, and interests.
The process starts with the teacher carefully observing, listening to, documenting, and visiting with the children to discover their interests. The teacher thoughtfully plans the environment by offering different materials for the children to explore. While exploring the materials, an in-depth project may emerge. The project may last several days to several months.
As part of the in-depth project work, many important skills are developed and curriculum areas are covered. Examples are:
* critical thinking
* problem solving
Through this approach, the children guide their own learning and the teacher gains greater understanding of each child's individual needs. There is a balance of unstructured learning and intentional teaching.
To assure all developmental domains are addressed, Hugging Tree utilizes The Creative Curriculum and the Iowa Early Learning Standards. The Creative Curriculum is a research based curriculum that encompasses four main areas of development: social/emotional, cognitive, physical, and language.