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Curriculum that Matters

by Margie Carter
November/December 1996
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Article Link: http://exchangepress.com/article/curriculum-that-matters/5011266/

This fall with a new school year underway I've been heartened to see many programs rethinking how they do curriculum planning. Maybe it's because of the growing interest in emergent curriculum, the project approach, and the schools of Reggio Emilia. I also think there is something intrinsically unsatisfying for teachers who repeat the same curriculum themes year after year.

In their book Emergent Curriculum, Elizabeth Jones and John Nimmo describe how easily curriculum can become "canned" or "embalmed," losing any real meaning for the children or teachers. I see this as a reflection of the larger "going through the motions" syndrome which plagues our educational system as a whole and has become a general coping mechanism for a society gone awry.

Commercial interests in the name of education are competing for our precious dollars and attention as well. The lure of cute prepackaged bulletin board displays, costumes, and activity books gives us a sense of "doing right by our kids." They're like happy meals for preschool. Well-intentioned parents and caregivers want youngsters to get a "head start," have fun, and be entertained while learning their "lessons." But before long teachers end up scrambling to meet someone else's expectations, resulting in curriculum plans ...

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