Key Components of Emergent Curriculum:

  • An emergent curriculum is constantly evolving in response to children’s changing needs and interests.  It is child-initiated allowing for collaborations between children and teachers, giving everyone a voice.

  • It is responsive to the child, thereby allowing teachers to build upon existing interests.

  • The teacher takes on the role of facilitator.  She listens to the children and spends much time observing their play. Through these observations, she builds on to their learning by providing children with the opportunity to discover more and dig deeper.

  • Emergent Curriculum is flexible.  Planning is not done far in advance.  The program is constantly developing.  It does not become stagnant or repetitive.

  • It provides visual documentation of teacher’s observations of children’s interests and thought processes through the use of portfolios, webbing and other forms of documentation.  Photographs are frequently used as a source of documentation.

What is Emergent Curriculum? 

How Does Learning Happen?

How Does Learning Happen? is organized around four foundational conditions that are important for children to grow and flourish: belonging, well-being, engagement and expression. These foundations are a vision for all children’s future potential and a view of what they should experience every day. They apply regardless of age, ability, culture, language, geography, or setting and are conditions that children naturally seek for themselves.

  • Belonging: refers a sense of connectedness to others

  • Well-being: addresses the importance of physical and mental health and wellness

  • Engagement: suggests a state of being involved and focused.

  • Expression: or communication (to be heard, as well as to listen) may take many different forms. Exploring materials to support creativity, problem solving, mathematical behaviours and communication skills, which are foundational for literacy.

A focus on these foundations throughout all aspects of early years programs ensures optimal learning and healthy development.

Additional Programming

Language: Our Language Program provides an opportunity for children to be exposed to and begin learning both the French and Mandarin languages. The curriculum has been designed in a way that incorporates songs, stories and hands on activities at a developmental level where the children will be able to build on their language skills and expand their knowledge and awareness of languages. Lesson Plans are developed and implemented by each of our French and Mandarin teachers following a structured curriculum for both our Preschool and Toddler Programs. Our Language Program runs once a week, beginning each fall and ending late spring.

Music: Our Music Program is provided by Suzanne Brown, AKA Suzie Sunshine, a lifelong music student, song writer, award winning author and childcare worker. Her program “Music Fun With Suzie Sunshine” exposes the children to a wide variety of music styles from classical to jazz as well as fundamental music education. Our Music Program runs bi-weekly, beginning September and ending June.

Art: Our blended Art Program is run by a post-secondary student enrolled in an art program. She focuses on . Our Art Program is blended into the classroom in the art area. The children have the choice of activities prepared by the art student, which focus on the following areas of art: different mediums, paint mixture, collages, etc. Our Art Program runs once a week, beginning September and ending June.


At Trafalgar Oaks Childcare & Learning Centre, a Portfolio is developed for each child upon enrollment. Portfolios contain pictures and documentation of developmental milestones that your child achieves while attending the Centre.  Our portfolios are done using the Continuum of Development as a guideline for developmental milestones, this was developed by the Best Start Expert Panel as part of the ELECT (Early Learning for Every Child Today) document.


Why Use Portfolios?

  • Observing helps the teachers get to know the children better, teachers can see developmental progress in action.   

  • Helps parents gain an understanding of their child’s experiences while they are away from home.   

  • Demonstrates professionalism and accountability.

  • Provides a developmental background information for new teachers, students and volunteers.

  • Helps to establish developmental goal setting.

Portfolios are a great teaching tool for staff, but they are also a wonderful keepsake when your child has completed his/her time at Trafalgar Oaks.

Quality First

We are excited to be a participant in Quality First.  Quality First is an initiative within Halton that supports early childhood program to further develop the level of quality care and education they offer to young children and their families.

Quality First is based on the following indicators of quality childcare:

  • Environment/Curriculum: are appropriate learning materials and experiences available for children in a safe and caring environment?

  • Supervision/Administration: does the Supervisor support the staff team?

  • Professionalism: do teachers participate in professional activities and life long learning?

  • Inclusion: does the childcare centre have policies that support the inclusion of children with special needs? Does the childcare support diversity?

  • Adult/Child Interactions: do teachers interact with children with sensitivity?

  • Support for Early Childhood Education Students: does the Centre accept ECE students and support them as a field placement site?

The Centre is supported through an ongoing process which includes: observation and evaluation of the program, self-evaluation and goal setting, staff professional development, resources and support from a consultant. By participating in Quality First, we have made a commitment to increase and maintain the quality of care and learning we provide to the children and families of Trafalgar Oaks Childcare & Learning Centre.