Harvard Educational Review
  1. Emergent Curriculum

    By Elizabeth Jones and John Nimmo.

    Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1994. 148 pp. $6.00 (paper).

    In Emergent Curriculum, Elizabeth Jones and John Nimmo, two members of the human development and education faculty at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California, and Seattle, Washington, respectively, present their version of a year in the life of an imaginary child-care center. Jones and Nimmo, drawing on their varied experiences in the field of early childhood education, assume the hypothetical role of teacher educators from a nearby college who supervise the director of the "Manzanita Children's Center" as she, in turn, supervises teachers.

    Through a vivid account of staff planning meetings, the reader gets drawn into the life and spirit of the Center early in the book. The stage is set when Marnie, a staff member, exclaims: "What's going on ? I don't understand all this stuff about just doing things to have fun with children. Doesn't anybody do any real planning?" (p. 12). Embedded in her questions are issues of value, diversity, and difference, as well as a sense of frustration. The story that emerges is how a group of teachers struggle to negotiate their differences.

    This volume is both a story and a manual — in other words, a description of what the teachers and director did and a proposal for what others might do. Guidelines and helpful hints appear on almost every page. In addition to large photographs and copies of children's work, vignettes and quoted material from other sources are set off in boxes. For example, in the six pages that make up chapter 13, there is a chart created by the teachers and children based on a group discussion, a lengthy quotation from a teacher's journal, a sample of a letter to parents, and material reprinted from a book. In sum, the result is a volume that is both convincing and helpful to readers who work in early childhood education.

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    Edited by Laurel Black, Donald A. Daiker, Jeffrey Sommers, and Gail Stygal.

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