Emergent Curriculum

At Hilltop, we view curriculum as everything that happens during our time together with the children. Educators at Hilltop spend a great deal of time in reflective teaching practice:

  • planning the environment for learning
  • observing as children play and interact with each other
  • designing curriculum based on their observations

A vital role for our educators is that of a researcher of the children’s interests, development, and growth. From this we create curriculum unique to each set of students, Emergent Curriculum.

Educators watch for recurring themes and children’s understandings, developmental issues, and underlying questions. Our observations guide our curriculum, as we create customized opportunities for children to deepen their thinking, represent their understandings, and encounter new perspectives.

Emergent Curriculum projects grow through many opportunities for children to represent, reflect on, and think critically about what they know. Child-led investigations may last an hour, a day, a week, or may develop into an In-Depth Investigation that spans several months. In this kind of responsive curriculum, children’s enthusiasm fuels the learning process, while educators offer provocations and activities to extend the children’s work,  describe the work through pedagogical documentation and learning stories, and gather parent perspective on their child’s experience.