A Question

Below is an edited version of the Preschool Team Goal for  SY11/12, designed to provide an overview of our curriculum and the philosophy behind our planning and program.

A Question: Is it possible for teachers at all grade levels to plan their lessons/ classroom experiences based on an emergent/ negotiated curriculum?


ISM Teachers…

  • Observe children’s interests, needs, abilities as they play/ inquire/ interact
  • Interpret individually and collaboratively what information this tells us about students
  • Use this information to plan experiences/ activities for individuals and/or the class
  • Prepare materials/ resources/ space to facilitate the activity/ experience
  • Reflect on the activity/ experience and further possibilities for individuals/ the class

 ** NB This order is flexible and inter-changeable – ie observations may follow with reflections/ evaluations, then spontaneous enacting of another experience, then planning of further activities…what is important is that all of these elements work in collaboration with each other to inform the ‘emergent/ negotiated’ component of the Preschool Program.


  • Children learn best when encouraged to take some control over the directions of their learning.
  • Each child is a confident and capable learner, entering each grade level with rich knowledge, skills and strengths.
  • The program focuses on education for meaning, connections and understanding.
  • The curriculum is founded upon developing key concepts/ life skills, and achieving this goal will look as unique as each class of students each year.

Essential Questions:

  • How do students have some input/ control over the direction of their learning?
  • How do teachers support meaningful learning and connections with students in their class?
  • How do we make the emergent/negotiated learning experience component of the curriculum the focus student’s classroom experience?

Assessment of Goal: An observer will see;

  • Child initiated learning experiences
  • Teacher scaffolding/ extension of children’s interests
  • Developmentally appropriate, differentiated learning experiences for all students
  • Documentation/ classroom sessions that inform the planning of new/ extension experiences.
  • Documentation/ classroom sessions that reflect the interests, needs and knowledge of individual students.
  • Documentation/ classroom sessions founded upon quality play based programs.
  • An archive of emergent/ negotiated experiences that support the development of key concepts/ life skills.
  • A classroom environment that fosters multiple opportunities for differentiated, meaningful, student centered learning.
  • Teachers being responsive to the interests, ideas, needs and challenges of the classroom.
  • Teachers observing students, joining play and providing meaningful scaffolding as appropriate.

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