Many educators over the years, have used the
idea of integration, and developed learning
themes or units. Websites and educator resources
are full of examples for craft activities, word
games, experiments etc. Often these are educator
chosen and directed. They are focused on a
series of activities that all children complete.
Such activities often have little connection to
curriculum expectations or higher order thinking,
and do not differentiate the learning for children.
When effective planning incorporates what is
known about the particular children in the class,
these ‘packaged’ reused themes cannot meet the
needs of this group of children.
Educator Reflection: I often feel trapped by my
themes. I pick my books based on the themes, and
they are not always the best books for children of
this age or stage of development. During my Apple
theme, all of the children have to make a booklet
about apples. Some of the children find this task
very easy and rush through it, other children are not
interested and I have to convince them, and some of
the children find it too hard. I am wondering how I
can rethink my plans so they are differentiated and
meet more of the children’s needs.
Resources focused on planning for young children
clearly states that children begin to ask questions
that lead to exploration and investigation,
communication of ideas, and questions while
they are experimenting and investigating.10 It
is these questions, ideas, investigations, and
this meaningful integration that can lead to
inquiry-based units of discovery and learning.
These opportunities provide for natural, genuine,
and integrated learning. These experiences are
authentic and are more likely to engage the