1st Edition

An Emergent Curriculum for the Early Years in Malta Stories of Professional and Pedagogical Transformation

    184 Pages 31 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book charts the firsthand experiences and challenges faced by Maltese early childhood educators in the implementation of a novel approach to the curriculum: the replacement of a prescriptive curricula with one co-constructed by the educator and the child.

    Chapters provide seven contextualised, inspiring narratives of how the ‘emergent curriculum’ approach was implemented, received, and reflected upon within Maltese educational settings, ranging from childcare (0–3 years), kindergarten (3–5 years), and early primary (5–7 years). Packed with practical guidance along with on-the-ground commentary, this volume showcases the pedagogical and professional transformation of these educators, informing and encouraging reflection as well as inspiring others on a global scale. Challenging the established modes and traditions of pedagogical best practice, this book ultimately fills a gap in research on how educators in diverse local contexts and cultures can embrace the global concept of the ‘emergent curriculum’ within their own practice and settings.

    Providing pedagogical and professional insights for early years educators in similar contexts internationally, the book will be of interest to researchers and early childhood educators, as well as curriculum designers and policy makers interested in how the curriculum can take shape in different cultures and contexts.

    Introduction: Setting the Scene


    Educator Narrative 1 - Sharon’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with Infants Aged 4-12 Months

    Now that I am used to working with the child-led approach, I cannot go back to the old way


    Chapter 1: Planning in the Moment: Responsive Approaches for Engaging with Babies (0-1-Year-Olds)


    Educator Narrative 2 - Kate’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with 1-2-Year-Olds

    For me, quality means embracing the emergent curriculum


    Chapter 2: Creating a Stimulating and Safe Environment for Exploration and Play with Infants (1-2-Year-Olds)

    Educator Narrative 3 - Helena’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with 2-3-Year-Olds

    Children took me on an adventure and introduced me to their world, and I learnt how to see things through their eyes


    Chapter 3: Educators as Active Agents in Co-Constructing Knowledge with Toddlers in Their Care (2-3-Year-Olds)


    Educator Narrative 4 - Anne’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with 3-4-Year-Olds

    Children should take an active role in their learning, making them the protagonists in the classroom


    Chapter 4: Listening to Children for Curriculum Development: Sensitivity to Their Needs and Interests (3-4-Year-Olds)


    Educator Narrative 5 - Lucy’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with 4-5-Year-Olds

    The environment is no longer a classroom with four walls but extended to outdoor live events, outings, virtual learning, and much more


    Chapter 5: Balancing Emergent Curriculum in Physical and Virtual Spaces and Addressing Concerns about School Readiness for Primary Education (4-5-Year-Olds)


    Educator Narrative 6 - Vanessa’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with 5-6-Year-Olds

    Once I told my colleagues how involved the children were in the learning process, they started trying it themselves


    Chapter 6: Celebrating Children’s Voices to Revitalise a Standardised Curriculum: A Pedagogical Ripple Effect (5-6-Year-Olds)


    Educator Narrative 7 - Clara’s Story of Implementing the Emergent Curriculum with 6-7-Year-Olds

    It can be done


    Chapter 7: Integrating Emergent Curriculum with a Prescriptive Subject-Based Syllabus: Strategies for Effective Bridging (6-7-Year-Olds)


    Chapter 8: Concluding Insights and an Invitation


    Charmaine Bonello is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood and Primary Education at the University of Malta.

    Anna Baldacchino is a Lecturer in Early Childhood and Primary Education at the University of Malta.

    Carmen Dalli is Professor of Early Childhood Studies and Dean of Education at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

    'Addressing an urgent need in the Maltese education sector, this book showcases how even the youngest learners (0-7 years) can actively contribute to shaping their educational experiences. Through seven inspiring stories and practical examples, it demonstrates how educators can successfully implement early childhood pedagogies that promote active citizenship from the very foundation of the education system. By maintaining a strong, positive image of young children as capable beings, these educators fostered environments where children's rights are realised and respected in early education. Join the movement towards realising children's rights in early education. An Emergent Curriculum for the Early Years in Malta: Stories of Professional and Pedagogical Transformation is not just a book—it's a call to action for educators to embrace the incredible potential of young learners and transform the educational landscape from the ground up.'

    Marie Louise Coleiro PrecaPresident of Eurochild, Former President of Malta


    'The meaning and enactment of an emergent and child-centred curriculum are brought to life in this timely book, illustrative of how educators in Malta moved away from a traditional prescribed curriculum framework to centre the voices and experiences of children, explore their interests and ideas and work with parents and community as partners. The seven stories of successful practitioners highlight that educators can forge localised curriculum practices that not only respond to children and impact on learning but also increase their own agency. This is a hopeful book that shows that transformative change is possible, given facilitating conditions. It is an international book with global messages and a valuable antidote to internationally standardised and context free curriculum and assessment approaches.'

    Professor Linda MitchellWaikato University, New Zealand


    'This book makes an important and timely contribution, sharing the insightful stories of early years educators who re-imagined and transformed their practice. In addition to the fascinating story of change in the Maltese context, the authors have created an excellent resource that will resonate with educators, leaders and policy makers in any country as they seek to reflect on and refine pedagogy in both ECE and early school settings.  Drawing from a clearly articulated academic rationale, the detailed research narratives engage readers with the joys and challenges of taking time to listen to children and create an authentic emergent curriculum.'

    Professor Sally PetersUniversity of Waikato, New Zealand


    'In an education world that is constantly looking for spaces of hope, seven resources of hope have shared their lived experiences.  This is a book that foregrounds multiple curricular and personal stories that converge around education as a possibility; a living testament of how early childhood education can serve child development as well as professional growth. The book’s most powerful message is that transformation is doable even within contexts traditionally marked by prescription and transmission.  It is a work that foregrounds educators who are willing to concretise the moral imperative of serving children first.  Kudos to the authors who have given us an opportunity to remain hopeful while critically engaging with an educational world that cries for change.'

    Professor Carmel BorgUniversity of Malta