Work in progress: the Magic Gardens Project: a child-developed curriculum in a non-traditional school meeting state targets for the arts

Jones, Janice K. (2006) Work in progress: the Magic Gardens Project: a child-developed curriculum in a non-traditional school meeting state targets for the arts. The International Journal of the Arts in Society, I (1). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1833-1866


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This paper documents the early stages of development of a negotiated curriculum in a newly-established rural
school, where the school vision is derived out of Reggio Emilia principles. The paper offers a preliminary analysis of community perceptions and responses to ‘The Magic Gardens Project’, a project intended as the starting point for development of a curriculum which is child-originated and teacher-framed with learners supported by teachers, parents, university student mentors and other community members as they plan, develop and use a garden for the arts and creative play. Community owned data in the form of digital film of decision-making for all aspects of the project will be analysed and compared to map the relationships between the school’s negotiated curriculum, the learners and the school in meeting state learning
outcomes and performance targets, with a particular focus upon the arts. The project’s success is impacted by limited
funding, broader cultural perceptions which position the arts as of secondary importance to other areas of the curriculum, and environmental problems of drought and diminishing habitats for native flora and fauna. This project offers significant cultural and environmental challenges and opportunities for this new community school, as does the development of a negotiated curriculum which runs counter to the state approach to curriculum development for the arts in particular. This paper articulates aspects of the researcher's and the community’s journey as they create an outdoor environment that reflects
children’s agendas for playful and deep engagement in the arts. It reports the challenges raised by the ‘collision’ of project based timelines for the reporting of educational research, in comparison with the more fluid timelines of a negotiated curriculum in a community school.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Authors retain copyright. Readers must contact Common Ground for permission to reproduce. COMMON GROUND PUBLISHING PO Box 463, Altona, Victoria, 3018, Australia.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:49
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: Negotiated curriculum, emergent curriculum, Magic Gardens Project, Reggio Emilia, arts education, non- traditional schooling, alternative education, arts environments, community education, action research, ethnography, digital narratives
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130201 Creative Arts, Media and Communication Curriculum and Pedagogy

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