The teacher records her plan and project documentation provides evidence of learning. In addition to the aspects of the curriculum which relate directly to the acquisition of skills and knowledge, project work offers interesting opportunities for children to apply and practice what they have learned in other parts of their daily program in school.
Intrinsic motivation enables children to learn through projects in personally meaningful ways.
Children who excel in certain academic areas learn to offer leadership to their peers. Children who experience difficulty in some areas frequently learn from skilled or knowledgeable peers more easily than from adults.
The Project Approach in Early Years Provision
In classrooms where the Project Approach is well implemented, teachers and parents report that children show increased achievement and confidence in talking about what they know and can do. Curriculum goals, such as data collection and analysis, can be naturally integrated into project work.
How does the Project Approach fit with other teaching strategies? Project work can be incorporated into learning centers, as well as into a typical daily schedule. For example, circle time can be used to discuss a current investigation or books on the subject can be placed in the literacy area. However, with all its advantages, most early childhood professionals would agree that project work alone does not cover all the learning experiences that should be included in the curriculum.
Children learn through many different experiences in school. For young children these experiences include sensory exploration, various kinds of play activity, observation, and practice. They learn some things through direct instruction, some through small group work, some through repeated trials and persistence, and some through collaboration and lively discussion with their classmates.
The Project Approach offers children the flexibility to develop interests, to work hard at their strengths, to share expertise and make personal contributions to the work of the classroom. The use of open-ended learning centers in a classroom can make for easier differentiation by teachers in their instruction as they help children to self-assess and challenge themselves appropriately in the classroom context. Open-ended learning centers complement project work by allowing children to reconstruct their experiences.
The principle challenge for teachers is to know the children well and to be able to guide them effectively in their inquiry. It requires dedication and creativity to take full advantage of individual strengths and interests, engage parental expertise for interviews, access to field sites, etc. As with any teaching approach or method, positive results are only evident when the teaching is done well.
It is easier to set up learning centers with activities, worksheets, and boxes of props which are the same each year. It is easier to read the same fantasy literature and have the children play the parts of the characters in dramatic play year after year. In project work, teachers depend on rich communication with the children to determine their interests and prior levels of understanding. Another challenge for teachers is to plan the work so that there is a unity and cohesiveness to each project which all the children can appreciate.
Yet, teachers wishing to help students develop a life-long love of learning and understand the interconnected relationship of all things will find there are unique advantages to project learning. Fundamentals of Creativity. Educational Leadership , Vol. These guides are available as. She has worked at the University since ; for seven years as director of the elementary education laboratory school.
Early years provision across the UK | ATL - The Education Union
Chard has taught at various levels from preschool through high school in England, and completed her M. Chard maintains a website and blog The Project Approach and lectures around the world. This was interesting and helpful reading material, Particularly how the one year topic on pets, following with the next year on how you care for them and veterinarian, and the following with service dogs. Fascinating on how one elaborates furthering the learning curriculum. I would like to thank you for the information I found it to be interesting and insightful especially the information on how to expand on the use of a topic that may have been used before.
Promote sustained shared thinking by facilitating projects that involve children in active investigation, discussion and debate. Give each child the freedom to learn according to their individual needs, interests, aptitudes, and abilities. Marianne holds an MA in Early Years Education and has worked as a lecturer in primary and early years education. She is also a qualified teacher, having taught a range of nuseries and reception classes.
At the same time, it should assure that the fields of study described above are mastered by those in the existing workforce. These programs should include development of materials for early childhood professional education. Material development should entail cycles of field testing and revision to assure effectiveness. Recommendation 7: The committee recommends the development of demonstration schools for professional development.
Demonstration schools would provide contextual understanding of these issues. The Department of Education should collaborate with universities in developing the demonstration schools and in using them as sites for ongoing research:. Good teachers must be equipped with good curricula.
The content of early childhood curricula should be organized systematically into a coherent program with overarching objectives integrated across content and developmental areas. They should include multiple activities, such as systematic exploration and representation, planning and problem solving, creative expression, oral expression, and the ability and willingness to listen to and incorporate information presented by a teacher, sociodramatic and exercise play, and arts activities.
Important curriculum areas are often omitted from early education programs, although there is research to support their inclusion provided they are addressed in an appropriate manner. Methods of scientific investigation, number concepts, phonological awareness, cultural knowledge, languages, and computer technology all fall into this category. Teachers will also need to provide different levels of instruction in activities and use a range of techniques, including direct instruction, scaffolding, indirect instruction taking advantage of moments of opportunity , and opportunities for children to learn on their own self-directed learning.
Recommendation 8: The committee recommends that the U.
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Department of Education, the U. Department of Health and Human Services, and their equivalents at the state level fund efforts to develop, design, field test, and evaluate curricula that incorporate what is known about learning and thinking in the early years, with companion assessment tools and teacher guides.
Activities should be included that enable children with different learning styles and strengths to learn. Each curriculum should include a companion guide for teachers that explains the teaching goals, alerts the teacher to common misconceptions, and suggests ways in which the curriculum can be used flexibly for students at different developmental levels.
Recommendation 9: The committee recommends that the U. Department of Education and the U. Department of Health and Human Services support the use of effective technology, including videodiscs for preschool teachers and Internet communication groups.
Opportunities to see curriculum and pedagogy in action are likely to promote understanding of complexity and nuance not easily communicated in the written word. Internet communication groups could provide information on curricula, results of field tests, and opportunities for teachers using a common curriculum to discuss experiences, query each other, and share ideas. States can play a significant role in promoting program quality with respect to both teacher preparation and curriculum and pedagogy.
Recommendation All states should develop program standards for early childhood programs and monitor their implementation. These standards should recognize the variability in the development of young children and adapt kindergarten and primary programs, as well as preschool programs, to this diversity. This means, for instance, that kindergartens must be readied for children. The standards should outline essential components and should include, but not be limited to, the following categories:. Recommendation Because research has identified content that is appropriate and important for inclusion in early childhood programs, content standards should be developed.
The content standards should ensure that children have access to rich and varied opportunities to learn in areas that are now omitted from many curricula—such as phonological awareness, number concepts, methods of scientific investigation, cultural knowledge, and language.
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Recommendation A single career ladder for early childhood teachers, with differentiated pay levels, should be specified by each state. Recommendation The committee recommends that the federal government fund well-planned, high-quality center-based preschool programs for all children at high risk of school failure. Such programs can prevent school failure and significantly enhance learning and development in ways that benefit the entire society. Policies that support the provision of quality preschool on a broad scale are unlikely without widespread public support.
To engender that support, it is important for the public to understand both the potential of the preschool years, and the quality of programming required to realize that potential. Recommendation Organizations and government bodies concerned with the education of young children should actively promote public understanding of early childhood education and care. Beliefs that are at odds with scientific understanding—that maturation automatically accounts for learning, for example, or that children can learn concrete skills only through drill and practice—must be challenged.
Systematic and widespread public. Parents and other caregivers, as well as the public, should be the targets of such efforts.
Recommendation Early childhood programs and centers should build alliances with parents to cultivate complementary and mutually reinforcing environments for young children at home and at the center. Research on early learning, child development, and education can and has influenced the development of early childhood curriculum and pedagogy. But the influences are mutual. The committee believes that continued research efforts along both these lines can expand understanding of early childhood education and care, and the ability to influence them for the better.
Although it is apparent that early experiences affect later ones, there are a number of important developmental questions to be studied regarding how, when, and which early experiences support development and learning. Recommendation The committee recommends a broad empirical research program to better understand:. Variation in brain development, and its implications for sensory processing, attention, and regulation;.
The implications of developmental disabilities for learning and development and effective approaches for working with children who have disabilities;. With regard to children whose home language is not English, the age and level of native language mastery that is desirable before a second language is introduced and the trajectory of second language development. Recommendation The next generation of research must examine more rigorously the characteristics of programs that produce beneficial outcomes for all children. In addition, research is needed on how programs can provide more helpful structures, curricula, and methods for children at high risk of educational difficulties, including children from low-income homes and communities, children whose home language is not English, and children with developmental and learning disabilities.
Much of the program research has focused on economically disadvantaged children because they were the targets of early childhood intervention efforts. But as child care becomes more widespread, it becomes more important to understand the components of early childhood education that have developmental benefits for all children. With respect to disadvantaged children, we know that quality intervention programs are effective, but better understanding the features that make them effective will facilitate replication on a large scale.
The Abecedarian program, for example, shows many developmental gains for the children who participate. But in addition to the educational activities, there is a health and nutrition component. And child care workers are paid at a level. Whether the program effect is caused by the education component, the health component, or stability of caregiver, or some necessary combination of the three, is not possible to assess. Research on programs for this population should pay careful attention to home-school partnerships and their effect, since this is an aspect of the programs that research suggests is important.
Research on programs for any population of children should examine such program variations as age groupings, adult-child ratios, curricula, class size, looping, and program duration. These questions can best be answered through random assignment, longitudinal studies. Such studies raise concerns because some children receive better services than others, and because they are expensive. However, random assignment between programs that have very similar quality features, but vary on a single dimension a math curriculum, for example, or class size would seem less controversial.
The cost of conducting such research must, of course, be weighed against the benefits. Given the dramatic expansion in the hours that children spend in out-of-home care in the preschool years, new knowledge can have a very high payoff. An important line of research is emerging in this area and needs continued support. All assessments, and particularly assessments for accountability, must be used carefully and appropriately if they are to resolve, and not create, educational problems.