What is the curriculum ?

What is the curriculum ?

At The Curiosity Approach® we look to turn current academic thinking and practice on its head. To unburden ourselves from a formal curriculum driven by areas of learning, standards and set targets set by distant governmental bodies. It’s not our primary objective - the child IS ! At The Curiosity Approach® we see, hear and understand the individual child. They are our driver. Our WHY !

John Dewey an American philosopher and educational reformer stated “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

He believed ‘education is not about preparing a child for life, education is life itself.’

He stated that educations starts with the needs and interests of the child, allowing them to plan their course of study and it relies heavily on experimental learning.

The art of doing and this is can be seen in today’s Characteristics of effective learning !

So when are we going to regain our power, knowledge and strength ?  When are we going to be led by the child and their interest in life. Instead what’s been planned for them on a daily plan or six week plan.

It’s hard to let go of habits, years of timetabled activities regurgitated to fit every theme and topic, isn’t it ?

There is security in those plans isn’t there ?

Documented evidence that shows we are striving for a goal of education! It’s written proof to powers that be - that children are learning!

But when you look at things differently, suddenly everything starts to change.

Let’s remember children ARE learning a thousand more times that what’s been documented and did they even learn what WE predicted - is our documentation even correct then ? 

When we let go of planning - We regain our power, our knowledge and wealth of experiences and are no longer beholden to a curriculum designed and created by someone who doesn’t even know our children( who has never met them) and has generalised a curriculum to meet a nation instead of an individual !

We stop expecting children to learn what’s scheduled on a plan and SEE that learning doesn’t happen in isolation and pockets of time that WE designed ! It’s continuous and we could never ever document or PREDICT this accurately.

We are not fortune tellers, or have the ability to see the future, so how can we predict what children WILL learn? 

At The Curiosity Approach® Instead we serve the individual child. For they are the only curriculum we need ! 

As Steiner said “The Child is the curriculum”

* Please DON’T take this as a message to immediately go dump all your planning. ( it takes time to unlearn the old and re learn the new)

For many planning offers a security blanket and it will take time to regain confidence in our own knowledge, thinking, abilities and to trust in the child. To understand what quality teaching and learning looks like in that very moment. To trust  ourselves again! Let’s face it for too long we have been told we need to prove and document our worth, our knowledge. This will take time. 

It has to begin with in-depth understanding of child development. It HAS to begin with understanding each and every child and their learning styles, schema or urges. As a key person you must know your children impeccably well !

To see the value of connections, relationships, getting down and engaging with a child! To see and recognise thousands of moments where quality teaching and learning happens everyday and slowly recognise that formal planning is just lip service to the amazing things that happen daily !  Record retrospectively if you have to, but don’t try to predict the incredible things that children will learn - we will inevitably fall sort every time, because the children know far better HOW they want to learn, WHAT interests and motivates them, WHAT is UNIQUE to THEM. 

When this can be articulated with ease and confidence. We begin to step into our power and stand up for the rights of the child and push back on formality, outdated practice and ‘schoolification.’ 

When you no longer look to a timetable or theme - planning is surplus to requirements. It’s becomes a waste of precious time that is best spent doing what you love being with the child !  Like we say in The Curiosity Approach® academy ‘ it’s a JOURNEY’

‘Curriculum’ may seem like a scary word, ( reference Kinderly- see blog below ) but it simply refers to the combination of the experiences and resources you offer in your settings along with the support you provide for every individual child to enable them to progress.

Let’s be realistic and remember we cannot write a ‘one fits all’ curriculum for your entire setting- therefore ‘ the CHILD is the curriculum ‘ and it will be different for each and everyone. We have to know WHY we do what we do ?

Who is it for, what is the purpose?

If you asked every member of your team the same question “ what’s your curriculum ?” Could they, would they be able to articulate and explain? Could they demonstrate in their actions and interactions with children?

‘Ofsted describe curriculum as building on ‘what children know and can do, towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for their future learning.’’ (Ofsted, 2019) whilst the EYFS describes it as practitioners deciding ‘’what they want children in their setting to learn, and the most effective ways to teach it.’’ (1)

How do we do this ?

As a setting you decide how you will implement this, according to your pedagogy ( E.G The Curiosity Approach® ) through fostering the Characteristics of Effective Learning; knowledge of each individual child; teaching and modelling; discussion and conversation; providing resources and experiences, etc. ( E.G loose parts, open ended resources, recycled materials.

Through following The Curiosity Approach® pedagogy ( pedagogy simply means the way we do it ) and through in the moment planning. We highly recommend educators read, research and implement ‘in the moment planning, planning in the moment and read the books https://www.google.com/search?... Anna Ephgrave.  

Let’s also remember, The Department for education states “ practitioners must ‘’consider the individual needs, interests, and development of each child in their care, and must use this information to plan a challenging and enjoyable experience for each child in all areas of learning and development. (DfE, 2021). (1) Nowhere does it say that planning is formal, six weekly or written documents. 

Time to rethink, reflect and reconsider if your curriculum is written for the masses or serves the individual child? 

Hope this helps. Can you and your team articulate and demonstrate your curriculum ?

If you want to know more, what to learn more about The Curiosity Approach® Academy, doors open three times a year and your whole staff team can come on an extensive CPD journey with us. 


Or come access our Pocket size courses, resources and best selling books https://www.thecuriosityapproa...


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