The Project Approach

 Children learn in many different ways and build on very different backgrounds of experience. All children require attention to their individual needs within a classroom, which can range from giftedness in children who need special academic challenges of various kinds to children who are multiage, multiethnic, and multilingual.

There is also an increasing recognition that children have a much wider range of capabilities than they had usually been permitted to show. We believe that in order to demonstrate these capabilities they need curriculum that is responsive to the many differences in their learning styles.

Each month we will present a different topic to the children. The topic may be concrete or abstract in nature, local or distant, present-day or historical, small or large scale. The younger the children, the more concrete, local, present-day, and small scale the topic will be in order to enable them to draw on their own prior understanding.

Once the topic has been decided the children will be presented with a Project. Projects are in-depth investigations of the specific topic with the main goals of finding out more about the topic rather than to seek answers to questions. Projects develop through three phases. In each phase the teacher has particular concerns for children’s learning. When the teacher’s and children’s expectations for a phase have been met, the project proceeds to the next phase; this process continues until the work is concluded.

  • Phase I - At the beginning of the project, the teacher’s role is to find out how much individual children already know and what firsthand experiences for the basis of their current understanding. The children engage in an initial discussion of the topic and offer ideas and stories of their experiences.

  • Phase II - The next phase of the project involves planning fieldwork and inviting experts to the classroom to talk with the children. The teacher’s concerns center on the provision of new firsthand experiences for the children and the collection of other resources.

  • Phase III - The final phase culminates in presenting and sharing the project work in some form with other (i.e. other classes and parents). The emphasis is on the communication of learning.


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