ERIC Number: EJ769636
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Reference Count: 7
"Teacher, Teacher, Tell Us about the Brain!" Sharing Decision Making about Curriculum in Preschool
Verwys, Susan K.
Young Children, v62 n4 p97-100 Jul 2007
In this article, the author presents a discussion regarding the sharing of decision making regarding curriculum in preschool. The preschool where she teaches is housed in a diverse, faith-based elementary school in the heart of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a midsize, midwestern city. It offers full-day, half-day, and two-and-a-half-hour preschool sessions. Although two teachers share a classroom with 20 children at a time, potentially 80 children pass through the classroom in a week! Each class is multiaged, serving three-, four-, and five-year-old children. Believing that children learn through play, the program's teachers seek to foster social-emotional, physical, cognitive, and spiritual growth. Literacy learning, math, science, music, and art are incorporated into the daily activities. The teachers build relationships with the children, seeking to create a community of learners who collaborate and learn together. A project approach to learning, based upon a model being studied in Reggio Emilia where children, parents, and teachers mutually decide upon in depth investigations whenever possible is introduced. A few projects begun by the children's own curiosity, and parental support, are described. The author details how the children used books, internet photos, and their own creativity to conduct a study of tunnels as they built a city complete with tunnels and buildings in the classroom from materials they themselves gathered. A study of the brain is described where parents eagerly joined in. One parent brought in his own brain scan to show students on the light table. Another parent shared a take apart model of the brain, while a third, who was a neurosurgeon was able to answer the many questions asked by students. Sharing curricular decisions means daring to let go and enter into collaborations with children and families. The author concludes by saying that she feels it is possible to follow the expectations of school systems and state departments of education andstill make curricular decisions in partnership with children and families.
Descriptors: Preschool Education, Participative Decision Making, Emergent Literacy, Child Development Centers, Instructional Development, Program Descriptions, Play, Brain, Parent Participation
National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101. Tel: 800-424-2460; Tel: 202-232-8777; Fax: 202-328-2649; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.journal.naeyc.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan