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From Theme-Based to Emergent Curriculum

by Diane Kashin
January/February 2011
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/from-theme-based-to-emergent-curriculum/5019745/

If nature has commanded that of all the animals, infancy shall last longest in human beings it is because nature knows how many rivers there are to cross and paths to retrace. Nature provides time for mistakes to be corrected (by both children and adults), for prejudices to be overcome, and for children to catch their breath and restore their image of themselves, peers, parents, teachers, and the world. (Malaguzzi, 1998, p. 80)

Introduction

For those who are tired of old images and practices, Malaguzzi suggests that there is time for mistakes to be corrected. New paths of practice can be forged by being willing to consider another way of teaching and learning with young children. And as with any change in professional practice, teachers face cognitive dissonance when they try to reconcile their current practice with new ideas. This is the story of what happened when four teachers abandoned their theme-based approach in favor of the uncharted territory of an emergent curriculum, and how this act impacted their practice and their self-image.

It is also the story of a personal journey. I spent years as a preschool teacher struggling with the theme approach. I knew that there was a better ...

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