Our Curriculum

“Something will start to grow inside the child and suddenly what is happening in the school will move in that direction. Sometimes what happens starts inside the adults. School can never be always predictable. We need to be open to what takes place and able to change our plans and go with what might grow at that very moment both inside the child and inside ourselves.” – Loris Malaguzzi

One of the most beautiful elements of the philosophy of education from Reggio Emilia is the holistic, emergent curriculum that is embraced.

We often use the phrase, “following the child,” to describe our approach to educating young learners. Our learning is based on the interests and inquiries of our students. What are our children passionate about? What do they wonder? What gives them joy?

Following the interests of our students often leads us to long-term investigations or project work. Through these, we are able to foster whole child development and focus on the community involvement of our youngest learners.


How do you view children? At Sapling, our image of child guides our practice. The way we listen to our children and interact with young learners revolves around our image of the child. We believe that children are capable and competent. They have the right to be seen as creative problem-solvers with unlimited potential. Children are the protagonists, or lead role in creating their learning experience and they collaborate with the teacher to do this. They are communicators. They question, play and show their learning in a variety of ways. Children are social beings. They are able to enrich the community and world around them. Children are filled with wonder and knowledge.


The role of the teacher is to support and encourage students’ inquiry, to study and observe the students throughout the learning process. Teachers are to be researchers, always learning about children. They are to use their research and findings to guide the students in taking the next steps in their learning process. The teacher is to be a co-learner and collaborator. Teachers need to become comfortable with the unknown and be willing to “find out” and discover alongside the students. Teachers need to be intentional with the language they use with children in order to stimulate thought. Teachers should listen carefully, speak when it is necessary, and nudge students when they show they are ready to move to the next step in their learning.

“We need a teacher who is sometimes the director, sometimes the set designer, sometimes the curtain and the backdrop, and sometimes the prompter. A teacher who is both sweet and stern, who is the electrician, who dispenses the paints, and who is even the audience – the audience who watches, sometimes claps, sometimes remains silent, full of emotion, who sometimes judges with skepticism, and at other times applauds with enthusiasm.” – Loris Malaguzzi

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