Many years ago, the Russian psychologist, Vygotsky, coined the term, “zone of proximal development.” This zone is the place where a perfect balance is struck between challenge and ability for a learner. And it is, of course, different for each person. That is why at PSII we do not pretend that groups of learners will learn optimally from exactly the same activities at exactly the same time.


Not only is the optimal curriculum, therefore, not a universal one, but it also can not be completely predetermined, even when one is thinking of individual learners. In the inquiry process, learning is organic, with new questions emerging all the time. Many of those questions are unpredictable, making it necessary for teachers to manage this emergent nature of learning at PSII. That is not to say we don’t plan ahead; we do! But we plan in such a way that allow significant openings at suitable times for emergent learning to fit.

emergent personal