“What children learn does not follow as an automatic result from what is taught, rather, it is in large part due to the children’s own doing, as a consequence of their activities and our resources” (The Hundred Languages of Children, 1998)
Inspired by these words of Louis Malaguzzi, our educators at Frog Hollow Children Centers see learning as an ongoing process, shared by the children and the adults through natural investigations and authentic discoveries. Our educators strongly believe that pre-planned activities lack the benefit of a more organic process that identifies activities and projects through paying attention to the children’s interests, questioning, and natural intellectual and creative curiosity. Instead of planning monthly calendars and themed curricula, our educators use a complex and yet very rewarding process to engage the children in their everyday learning:
- Preparing the Environment: Welcoming, stimulating invitations are organized intentionally to encourage curiosity and exploration
- Engaging & Observing: Educators become co-learners, always involved with the children, listening to their thoughts and documenting them
- Reflecting: Educators reflect upon their documentations, making sense of their observations
- Planning: Educators meet on weekly basis to discuss their observations and reflections. Educators may create planning webs and maps to focus their discoveries and explore possible project ideas and provocations
- Discussion: Educators and children discuss the ideas and plan their investigations in detail
- Investigation: Educators and children work together to explore their ideas; reach answers and propose new questions
This cycle continues as a project expands. There is no set timeline for projects, some may take a few days and some a whole year! Children are not forced to join in a project; they are free to move in and out as they gain or lose interest in the subject.
Project-based learning has proved to be one of the most effective ways of learning, as it adds real-life context to the learning experience. The BC Ministry of Education has recently come to this same conclusion, changing the school curriculum to a more emergent, project-based one.
Emergent Learning further encourages continuous communication between the children and the adults and promotes problem-solving skills, which lead to strong relationships and lasting friendships that maximize the learning experience.
Everyday Stories: Emergent Learning
In 2015 the Leaders group at Nootka Children’s Centre joined a local artist in an amazing journey in which they wrote their own song, composed their own music and recorded it in a professional recording studio. The group then presented their song to the families and other children in the format of a discussion panel.