Does the Sun Spin Too? Emergent Curriculum in the Nursery

By Kristin Sanderson

IMG_8721by Marisa Campbell and Celia Cruz, Nursery teachers

Over the past two weeks the learners in the nursery have been digging deeper into our exploration of space. Practicing an emergent curriculum means that some inquiries might last only a few glorious minutes or extend over weeks or months. We’ve observed the learners engaging with ideas about space in their play, as they build rocket ships and pretend to be astronauts, and they are captivated by texts about space, both fiction and non-fiction. In conversation we continue to hear new questions about space popping up, for example, in the middle of circle Nina raised her hand and said “Does the sun spin too?” The spontaneous emergence of questions is a signal that we’re on the right track, that this is an exploration that is of genuine and enduring interest to the children. Honoring the idea of the Hundred Languages of Children, shared by Loris Malaguzzi, one of the founders of the infant and child centers in Reggio Emilia, we seek to offer multiple ways for children to investigate their questions, represent their understandings, reflect on their learnings, and propel themselves forward. In dialogue with and through texts, materials and each other, we are excited to move into this territory.

As our inquiry got started, we offered a morning message question asking, “what do you want to know about space?” and each learner contributed a question.

We’ve been reading a blend of fiction texts to help us answer our own questions about space, and non-fiction stories that encourage a sense of delight and humor around the topic.

Continue to the Nursery blog for many photos and more about emergent curriculum and the Nursery children’s exploration of outer space.

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