Curriculum or No Curriculum?


OK, this may be a bit controversial but it’s my Blog and I’m allowed!


I was cleaning the bathroom this morning, after returning from a very muddy but fun Parkrun, and a thought entered my head and I’ve not been able to shake it out.

Do our 3 to 5’s actually benefit from working with Curriculum for Excellence or indeed any curriculum? I’m just not sure it’s of any actual benefit. The latest (possibly regurgitated) thinking is that we should follow the children’s interests as this is the key to their learning and I wholeheartedly agree with this. However children can change their minds every 5 minutes and that can make planning with CfE a challenge. You may have sat down in the evening and planned out the most earth shatteringly awesome experience which covers the perfect outcome but when you go to do it the next day nobody is interested – possibly because a certain child has strolled in with the latest Paw Patrol toy (Don’t get me started on that programme either!) and the children are all fascinated how this walking, talking Chase works. Like any good Practitioner you immediately go with the flow but does it fit in with your carefully planned out outcome or are you trying to crowbar their interests to fit?

I remember reading or hearing something about Play being the child’s curriculum and it’s not wrong.  However can you really write a curriculum for Play or can you ring fence Play into a set of outcomes which can be pre-planned and observed? Not really. How about we observe children at play then give them the tools to expand what they are doing and leave curriculum and set outcomes to schools.

Told you it was controversial!

4 Comments on “Curriculum or No Curriculum?

  1. Not at all controversial and totally on track! I agree…inspectors/heads just need to start trusting practitioners instead of insisting on framing play. In the moment planning follows this idea but still most are worried about fitting play into standardised outcomes…

  2. I don’t think this is controversial at all. I have tried my best to steer away from all singing all dancing activity set ups and just add a provocation or enhancement to an area without an end goal/outcome in mind and the children engage so much better with these rather than the activity i painstakingly set up for hours beforehand.

  3. As an early years specialist (and male practitioner) I write about early education. I recently wrote an article that asked ‘Can we truly promote a play based curriculum “

    I also promote a learning in the moment scheme in my setting.

  4. As an early years specialist (and male early years pactitioner) I recently wrote a blog about this after having a disagreement with our online journal company. My title was “Can we truly promote a play based curriculum”.

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