We purposely select topics that speak to the interests of our students, and allow for a wide focus enabling us to endeavor into deep inquiry through a multitude of lenses. The same study topic explored by two classes may share similar foundations but will be explored through a variety of means. Therefore, no two studies are alike; our work is continually evolving to challenge our students' curiosity, and to provide children with the structure to encourage independence. All studies begin with foundational explorations to engage the children and to create a shared base of content specific terminology and information from which to begin our unit of study. As the teachers conceptually plan the unit, emphasis is placed on inquiry, and positioning our students as inquirers within the curriculum.
Intentionality is essential to our work in the classroom. Throughout our conceptual planning, to our daily conversations with our children, we are continually reflecting on our greater purpose:emphasizing metacognitive thought. This intentional design of our curriculum is shared with our children, as we model brainstorming, planning and implementing a plan as part of our daily routines.
An essential aspect of our child-responsive curricular approach is placing deep value on the children as creators and contributors to the fabric of our studies. Through acknowledging, encouraging and scaffolding students' spontaneous connections between their lives, the world and other texts, the paths of our studies seek to foster students' fruitful explorations into inquiry based learning. Inspired by John Dewey's notions of the importance of experiences, we respect each child's ability to effectively explore and define the world through experience. We do this by fostering our children's sense of wonder and active curiosity through engagement in aesthetics. As a community of learners, we value different points of view and divergent thinking and work towards a tolerance for ambiguity and enthusiasm for discovery. Our studies always end with wonderful unanswered questions, as we recognize that studies and educational pursuits are life-long endeavors.