Project approach! Let's learn together!

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by msj, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. msj

    msj Companion

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Okay, I'm going to start it because I think a bunch of us would like to learn more about the project approach. I attended a training on the P.A. but it was more of an overview and really didn't get into how it's started or the details. So if anyone would share a project approach project they did, I'd love to hear all about it!:2up:
     
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  3. KarenPreK

    KarenPreK Companion

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I have a few of my projects documented on this page. This isn't all the projects I've done, though.

    Also, check the Project Approach website & click "Project Examples".
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I don't start school yet for a few weeks-

    But.. I'm interested. I have quite a few books and went through some Project training.
     
  5. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Okay, I'll bite, but it's loooooong . . . I was an graduate assistant (like an assistant teacher) in an infant-toddler room at a lab school. We did several projects over the 2 years I was there, but this is my favorite, because I documented it for a graduate class credit. I'm sure the Project Approach for pre-k is a little different, but the pre-k at my site used similar methods to do projects.

    We would have "curriculum meetings" once a week for an hour with the 3 teachers, me (assistant), and a faculty advisor, various college student interns, sometimes our director would come too. We talked about issues that had come up that week and then we talked about what the children seemed to be interested in. If we noticed something that several of the children were interested in, we would discuss and then decide to focus on a topic at least for that week, until the next meeting. We would discuss materials to bring in to support the topic, if we needed to rearrange centers or create new centers, and what we could do as teachers to support the interest. At each meeting, we would reevaluate what we were doing--Are the children still interested in this topic? How have they engaged with the materials we brought in? Do we see new topics of interest occuring? The project could last a week or a semester, it just depends on the children's interests.

    Here is my initial write-up for the project "Interactions between Infants and Toddlers" and then some "provocations" (materials, methods, etc we brought in) to help the children develop the project. It lasted almost a whole semester and then led into a smaller project on care-giving.

    Original question:
    How do the infants and toddlers interact?

    Rationale:
    At the very beginning of the semester, the infants had not started coming to school. The first infant (P., 9 months), started coming about two weeks after the toddlers started. C. (6 months), was the second infant to enroll and then A. (3 months), started school. Right away, the toddlers were interested in what the infants were doing, how they were cared for, and the different toys that the infant side had.

    The infant and toddler areas are in one big room, with gates to separate the two areas. Interactions between the toddlers and infants began to occur at these gates, during lunch and snack times, and when toddlers and infants visited each other’s sides. They also had opportunities to play together on the playground and on walks in the strollers. I began to wonder how the infants and toddlers would interact with each other to create an extended community.

    Additional Questions:
    As we have been taking pictures, videos, and transcriptions, several other questions began to occur:

    •How does the new “baby” dramatic play area show the toddler’s understanding of infants?
    •How does the toddler’s baby doll play imitate how they see the infants cared for in the classroom?
    •How do the toddlers use the “baby” toys and dolls to engage in their own pretend play?
    •How do the infants show their understanding of and interest in the toddlers?
    •How do special relationships between individual infants and toddlers develop?
    •What new materials can we (teachers) introduce to extend the children’s play?
    •How can we, as teachers, support and extend the toddler’s understanding of infants?

    Provocations:
    •Toddlers push baby dolls in strollers on a walk around campus.
    •Toddlers and infants take walks together in the same strollers.
    •Toddlers give baby dolls a bath at the water table with soap and washcloths.
    •Toddlers are invited over to the infant side of the classroom throughout the day as they show interest.
    •“Baby” toys and materials are added to the toddler side of the room . . . baby dolls, clothes, bottles, diapers, diaper wipe boxes, plastic cups, plates, spoons, forks.
    •A “baby care” center is created near housekeeping to house baby materials and a miniature changing table, cradle, and small cot are added.
    •Toddlers are allowed to help care for the infants . . . helping a teacher feed food or formula, watching teachers do diaper changes, fetching things for the infants.
    •Books about infants or featuring infants are added to the toddler side to read.
    •Teachers discuss informally with the toddlers how infants and toddlers are alike and different.
    •Individual relationships between infants and toddlers are encouraged as they occur . . . sitting a toddler and infant beside each other at meals when possible, allowing toddlers and infants to play together while being monitored.
     
  6. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Hooray,

    KarenEC thanks for the wonderful link-you are really up on your network skills. Anyway, when I followed the link and chose a project from the examples that we had done I saw - to my great suprise---we were on task!! I am so happy. I don't really know anyone that is doing things this way. This is wonderful networking!!!
     
  7. teacherSMK

    teacherSMK Habitué

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    Aug 13, 2008

    karenec.... I LOVE your snakes project...I know this will sound corny to some, but I got a little teary eyed, because this is my first "official" year with this grade level, and holy cow! seeing your kids having so much fun doing such neat things, I just can't explain how happy it made me. I hope I can be as great at this as you all are. I love the prject approach idea! Thanks for the thread. :blush:
     
  8. KarenPreK

    KarenPreK Companion

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    Aug 14, 2008

    Thank you WAProvider & TeacherKenny!

    I'd love to see other project examples to get new ideas!
     
  9. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2008

  10. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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  11. Dzenna

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    Aug 14, 2008

    ChicagoTurtle- Do you have a book we can follow and discuss on the Professional Forum. It looks like we finished with the first book.
    How does everyone feel about that?
     
  12. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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  13. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2008

    Do you think this would be a good method of discussing the project approach? There have been some wonderful sites on this thread. Should expand the thread to the book list thread and discuss it or just keep going here. What does everyone think?
     
  14. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2008

    :eek::eek::eek:
    There is a new project for us-teach the teacher to use the computer effectively. :haha:

    not my long suit.:eek:

    Our favorite one as of late as was detailed study of the backyard life in our play yard. It started innocently looking for rolly pollies in the yard and turned into applying for the backyard certification from National wildlife federation. We ran science experiements to see if we could train outdoor squirrels to go where we wanted to for food. We learned our squirrels were spoiled and that they would only work for food if it was sunflower seeds, not cracked corn.

    We planted butterfly habitats and raised butterflies and ladybugs. We examined Manitis examples.

    we built bird houses and bird baths. It was great. :woot:
     
  15. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 14, 2008

    IMO seems like we do better here, when we took the other to the book page things slowed down. Maybe that is due to the lag between book reading and school starting.

    Another suggestion (and I am really easy going -so I have no motive here if you don't like it) would be to use the 48 page paper that was linked in as if it were a book. There are some really great examples in there that could lead to the discussions of "how to you begin" and how to you manage to keep going and so on. just an idea.:eek:
     
  16. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Aug 14, 2008

    I like that idea. As a matter of fact, I already bookmarked that site!
     

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