PROJECT APPROACH

What is your child’s classroom studying & how can you help?

A project is an in-depth investigation of a topic. This topic is one that involves children’s attention and energy. The teacher selects the topic of study based on the children’s interest and availability of local resources. The project approach to learning evolves over time.

While gathering information on the chosen topic, children have the opportunity to ask questions to generate theories and predictions concerning possible answers, to seek answers to their questions, to interview experts and others from whom relevant information can be obtained, and to engage in other activities involved in collecting information.

Phase 1: Beginning the Project

The teacher discusses the topic with the children to find out the experiences they have had and what they already know. The children represent their experiences and show their understanding of the concepts involved in explaining them. The teacher helps the children develop questions their investigation will answer. A letter about the study is sent home to parents. The teacher encourages the parents to talk with their children about the topic and to share any relevant special experiences.

Phase 2: Developing the Project

Opportunities for the children to do field work and speak to experts are arranged. The teacher provides resources to help the children with their investigations: real objects, books, and other research materials are gathered. The teacher suggests ways for children to carry out a variety of investigations. Each What is your child’s classroom studying & how can you help? A project is an in-depth investigation of a topic. This topic is one that involves children’s attention and energy. The teacher selects the topic of study based on the children’s interest and availability of local resources. The project approach to learning evolves over time. While gathering information on the chosen topic, children have the opportunity to ask questions to generate theories and predictions concerning possible answers, to seek answers to their questions, to interview experts and others from whom relevant information can be obtained, and to engage in other activities involved in collecting information. Each child is involved in representing what he/she is learning, and each child can work at his/her own level in terms of basic skills, constructions, drawing, music and dramatic play. The teacher enables the children to be aware of all the different work being done through class or group discussion and display. The topic web designed earlier provides a shorthand means of documenting the progress of the project.

Phase 3: Concluding the Project

The teacher arranges a culminating event through which the children share with others what they have learned. The children can be helped to tell the story of their project to others by featuring its highlights for other classes, the principal, and the parents. The teacher helps the children to select material to share and in doing so involves them purposefully in reviewing and evaluating the whole project. The teacher also offers imaginative ways of personalizing their new knowledge through art, stories, and drama. Finally, the teacher uses children’s ideas and interests to make a meaningful transition between the project being concluded and the topic of study in the next project.

QUESTIONS?