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A teacher bending over a school work table to help three young girls with a word puzzle.

emergent curriculum

Project topics and the direction of study are driven by
the curiosity of the group or individual student.



Emergent Curriculum means what and how we teach is dynamically coordinated with what our students want to learn and their skill level at each developmental level. Our teachers tap into children’s innate curiosity about the world to wrap curriculum around topics of interest. The project approach allows teachers to weave curricular goals and skill development into a large-scale, hands-on experience.


At The Children’s School, curriculum is a fluid, responsive entity. Within a framework of important skills and ideas at each developmental level, teachers enjoy the freedom to mold the specifics of their curriculum to meet the needs of the unique group of children before them.


For example, in a classroom studying Native Americans, children might use math skills to measure and build a teepee, listen to a novel such as The Birchbark House to learn about the life of an Ojibwa girl in Wisconsin in the 1800’s, and research traditional foods of the Native Americans in order to prepare for a class feast.

A black and white photo portrait of Francis W. Parker

Historic Influences on Progressive Education

"All mental and moral development is by self-activity. Education is the economizing of self-effort in the direction of all-sided development."  Francis W. Parker

This approach to learning is very exciting for children as well as for teachers. It fosters deep understanding as topics are explored through multiple lenses and in a context that is meaningful to children. Teachers intersperse skill development into such thematic investigations to assure the proper scaffolding of student growth in a given area of study.


It also means our teachers are fully engaged with each student and each year's class group. Why? Because no 2nd grade, 4th grade or any grade level class year is taught the same way twice. The year's curriculum emerges experientially, unfolding dynamically as the teacher guides students in real time.

Three scholl children in goggles and lab coats giving a chemistry presentation to their class.
An orange drawing of a kits against a blue sky.
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