Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lesson planning with an emergent curriculum

Earlier this week I posted free lesson plan templates.  One of the questions that I used to ask the most was "How are you supposed to plan ahead when you are implementing an emergent curriculum?!" Then I figured it out.  Think of it this way, your lesson plan should be an outline, it should also be flexible.

When you sit down to write your lesson plan, start with the activities that you know the children want to explore - these are the experiences that you develop based on your observations.  These activities should be related to the conversations you have heard and the questions that the children have been asking.  They may use materials that the children have shown a particular interest in.  The key when planning these is that you do not know for sure how the children will respond to them.  They should be open-ended, so that the children can esplore freely, and so that you can continue to observe.

Once you have added these activities, then you can round out your lesson plan with additional activities that meet specific standards that the children are working towards.  These activities may also be seasonal, or theme-based.  Having both types of activities on your lesson plan gives children opportunities to explore many different things, it also gives them opportunities to make connections and develop new questions.

Now that you've completed the lesson plan, it's important to remember that you do not have to complete every single activity on your lesson plan.  The children can take the lead here, if they are extremely engaged in one activity, let them work longer.  You might even repeat the same activity multiple time throughout the week.

Flexibility is the key to lesson planning while using an emergent curriculum.  It can, and should, be done in order to help keep everyone engaged and learning.  It should also give the children the freedom to explore what truly interests them.

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