By Tim Taylor
One way to think of the curriculum is as a map of a country only partly explored. There are aspects – the coastline, a mountain range, some major rivers – that are well known to previous explorers, but there are others, too – the dark interior – that represent an unknown land waiting to be discovered. Of course, some parts of the new world we are told we have to visit, these are the mandatory places every traveller goes to, but there are others only we will find; places for us to explore and put on the map.
In this way we might think of the curriculum as something built in collaboration with a class over the year. Some parts are the prescribed objectives of skills, knowledge and understanding laid down by the National Curriculum. Others though emerge from the work we do as a learning community together in the classroom. For this reason it is important to plan for ambiguity, for openness and for opportunities for the children to contribute their ideas. The activities, questions, and challenges we plan for in advance are like the routes we take as we explore, but much of what we will find we can deliberately leave undecided.