The arrival of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) as the first national curriculum guidance document recognises the critical role that the early years play in shaping educational foundations for life. At Kendall Community Preschool, the Educators reflect and think deeply about the daily interactions between the children and between Educators and children, using these as the provocations for curriculum decision-making that is negotiated and authentic.
The cyclic nature of curriculum planning where educators carefully notice, think about, plan, generate experiences and think about some more as they notice, ensures that the emerging curriculum grows meaningfully from what’s actually going on in the children’s lives, minds, relationships, play and environments. Children’s contributions to the curriculum occur as they work alone, in small groups or as a member of the whole group and the Educator has the role collaborating alongside children rather than merely making a program for children.
The Reggio Emilia project from post-war northern Italy, places emphasis and value on seeing the child as a knowledgeable and powerful contributor, deserving of a place in the curriculum decision-making process. We believe that this involves more than just finding out about children’s interests, but should encompass exploring much deeper, thinking about what the children’s ideas and their thinking might be, and wondering about the things they wonder about too! Providing a place that that promotes, fosters, facilitates and embraces this form of negotiated curriculum-making involves creating a rich and beautiful learning environment for children and Educators to collaborate in.