How we learn

         Emergent Learning Curriculum The most important thing we can teach children is that they are valued.

Unless children have a basic sense of self-worth, it's very unrealistic to expect them to embrace the challengesof learning and problem solving.

Opening our minds to new ideas today in Sandy Land we are engaging in a much more interactive style of instruction often referred to as emergent learning. In this more collaborative approach, the adults and the children seek out answers together. 

I am also constantly looking for challenges to present to the children so they can propose their own solutions. The children's solutions to such challenges will unfold gradually and often spontaneously in response to my questions. Instead of just telling me their ideas, they can even show what they mean, perhaps drawing what they have in mind - or helping to make a model of their idea. Whole learning is a place where you can combine both the traditional and emergent approaches in order to present a truly balanced curriculum for the children.

A key component to teaching in the emergent style is to listen to the children's questions and think of ways for them to seek out and discover their own answers. Once again, it all comes back to self-worth, the foundation of learning. There's nothing like mastery over a problem, challenge or difficult question. When we know what we're doing, we feel capable, competent, in control and empowered. 

It is very important to keep the family informed and included, in order to reassure them that their children are really learning something. I encourage family members to visit and to look at the "LOOK WHAT WE DID" wall, read our newsletters "Sandy Land Press", and visit our "Parents Place" on this web site to see pictures illustrating the children's adventures. These are all excellent ways to keep families informed as to the value of the kind of learning environment I am providing. 


Activities are tactile and sensory rich. 

  Focus areas are 

Alphabet -- Calendar recognition -- Colors -- 

Good nutrition -- Listening -- Matching -- Music appreciation

Numbers -- Reading Readiness -- Scissor skills -- Sequencing 

Shape recognition -- Library -- Bug find -- Sensory tables

Size -- Time -- Vocabulary -- Writing readiness


Interest areas

Interest centers allow children to learn appropriately, in the ways that children learn best.
According to research, children learn appropriately from:

• hands-on, social, and active experiences with play 

• meaningful experiences with materials given to them 

• working at their own individual pace 


Classrooms with interest centers have :
• fewer discipline problems 

• more learning and development 

•learning in all developmental areas

Children in classrooms with interest centers develop in the following areas:
• They develop social skills.
• They learn how to take the viewpoint of others and to think flexibly and abstractly.
• They learn to make good choices and to take responsibility for their own actions and choices.
• They develop their language and literacy skills.
• They develop mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills.
• They develop the beginning understanding of physics and geometry by learning balance, speed, shape, size, length, and pattern in the block center.
• They develop higher self-esteem as they practice and master skills.
• Children become more independent because they are in control of their own learning/playing.
• Children develop their small muscles in the various centers by lacing cards and stringing beads, by building and balancing, by painting, drawing, writing, and coloring, and by being able to button, snap, and zip.
• When they are given more time to play, they develop longer attention spans with the ability to focus, and they become more adventurous.
• Children develop their imagination and creativity when they are allowed to play freely with the materials, in ways that they choose, for extended periods of time.



Animal stringing -- Board games -- Fishing boards -- Geo boards

Lock board -- Magnetic board -- Mr. potato head -- Peg boards -- Play dough

Paper dolls -- Puzzles -- Science centers -- Sensory tables -- Wooden beads  



Many group games -- Balls of every size -- 

Ring toss -- Teeter totter --  

Basket ball game -- Lots out outside world to explore


How do I see my Role as the Teacher?

• I provide a safe and secure learning environment. 

• I respect the children. 

• I give children choices.

•I provide lots of time for focused play.
• We (the children and I) change materials frequently. 

• I help develop independent children.
** I help them answer their own questions, solve problems and conflicts, and be patient as they do things for themselves, 

and only help when needed .

• Irovide materials that encourage children to explore, discover, experiment, predict, create, think, and learn on their own.
• I let the children decide:

— Where to play —

How long to play at each interest center
Children should be moving freely around the room at their own pace.
— Whom to play with — 

How to use the materials in each interest center.

I let them use materials creatively and move them around the room, 

as long as it is done safely and does not damage the materials.
• I make sure materials are available and accessible, at their level. 

• I interact with the children.
— Play, talk, ask questions, and visit all centers. 

• I am aware of my attitude towards the children and towards play.
— I let my sense of humor flow and have fun.
— I get excited about learning, discovering, and playing. 

• I help problem solve, while I observe the children, and change, to make the learning environment the best it can be for my set of children.

I make my classroom fit the children, NOT the children fit my classroom.

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