Gan Yeladim has created a curriculum that reflects the philosophy of the Emergent Curriculum Model and is consistent with the standards for a developmentally appropriate program. This model originated from the innovative educational philosophy known as The Reggio Emilia Approach and is recognized worldwide for its theoretical kinship with Jean Piaget, John Dewey, and Vygotsky among others. A developmental approach such as this is characterized by child-directed curriculum, the center based environment, parent involvement, and the viewpoint that the classroom is a community.
An Emergent Curriculum is one that builds upon the interests of children. Topics for study are captured from the talk of children, through community or family events, as well as the known interests of children (puddles, shadows, dinosaurs, etc.). Team planning is an essential component of the Emergent Curriculum. Teachers work together to formulate hypotheses about the possible directions of a project, the materials needed, and possible parent and/or community support and involvement.
Projects, also emergent, are in-depth studies of concepts, ideas, and interests which arise within the group and allows children, teachers, and families the opportunity to participate in meaningful and deep learning experiences over time. After children explore and get to know a certain material, teachers work to take the children’s individual and group interests further and build a long-term project.
Environment is considered the “third teacher”. An environment says who we are and this is who we want to be. At Gan Yeladim we strive to create an environment that expresses and influences our identity as a school as well as the experiences of those who come here. The classroom environment at Gan Yeladim is set up to support children’s individual and group learning and to encourage exploration and interaction with a focus on play and cooperation. Common space available to all children in the school includes a tumble room and an outdoor playground. An educational environment respects children, impacts their behavior in positive ways and gives children and teachers the ability to work collaboratively, efficiently, and productively.
To allow adequate time for children to engage in our full and rich curriculum, Gan Yeladim does not provide television, video viewing, video games or computers at school unless a specific activity is planned by the teacher as an enhancement to an educational unit or project.
Documentation is a verb meaning the process of making learning visible. Documentation gives words to what children may not be able to express. Pictures of children engaged in experiences, their words as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking, and the children's interpretation of experience through the visual media are displayed as a graphic presentation of the dynamics of learning.
Instead of using an unchanging, pre-fabricated curriculum or set of thematic units, classroom work at Gan Yeladim evolves out of the organic collaboration between children, teachers, and families.
Teachers as Researchers
The teacher is a teacher-researcher, a resource and guide as she/he lends expertise to children. Within such a teacher-researcher role, educators carefully listen, observe, and document children's work and the growth of community in their classroom and are to provoke, co-construct, and stimulate thinking and children's collaboration with peers. Teachers are committed to reflection about their own teaching and learning.
Language & Culture
Gan Yeladim values the richness of language and cultural diversity. Children are exposed to the Hebrew language and Jewish culture as part of their diversified educational experience.