View Full Version : Manhattan-Downtown Children Determine Curriculum at Tribeca Community School

11-10-2011, 08:40 AM
From OurTownNY (http://ourtownny.com/2011/11/09/children-determine-curriculum-at-tribeca-preschool/) by Emma Thorne:
At the TriBeCa Community School, an unusual sentry guards the front door: not a teacher, not an administrator, but a giant pink and blue papier-mâché cow.

The cow is the product of an investigative project by the school’s youngest students. On one of their frequent neighborhood walks, the class of 2-year-olds passed Bubby’s Pie Company on Hudson Street and were fascinated by the large ceramic cow outside the restaurant. Noting the kids’ interest, their teachers turned it into an anatomy lesson: What parts of the cow could the children identify?

Within a couple of days, that outing had spun into a lesson in collaboration, as the 2-year-olds worked with older students to build their own version of the cow.

Now entering its sixth year, the TriBeCa Community School, which enrolls students ages 2 to 5, follows the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. The philosophy, which started in the Italian public school system about 40 years ago, encourages children to construct their own knowledge based on their interests at any given moment.

There is no curriculum at the school; instead, teachers closely monitor what their pupils are talking about and mold “investigative projects” based on that. When the children’s focus shifts, so does the lesson. And when the kids lose interest the project is over.

“It’s more natural to be working off [children’s] own interests,” said Kristen Pallonetti, the school’s program director. “To me, it’s the most beneficial way to learn.”

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