Curriculum: A Project Based-Approach


Older Toddlers and Pre-School children will be engaged in learning by investigating their world. The project based approach was developed by Lillian G. Katz, a respected early childhood educator. The project approach involves children in asking questions that guide the investigation and in making decisions about the activities undertaken. Project topics draw children’s attention to questions such as: How do things work? What do people do? What tools do people use?

Depending on the developmental level and skills of the children involved, project work can include drawing, writing, reading, recording observations, and interviewing experts. The information gathered is then summarized in charts, graphs, paintings, drawings, murals, models, and other constructions.

Projects typically include these phases:

The teacher discusses a topic with children to find out what experiences they have had and what knowledge they have about these experiences. Through questioning and telling of stories, the teacher learns what the children may be interested in investigating. Parents are notified of the topic to see if families have personal experiences or expertise.

The next step is “field work” – investigating and constructing. The “experts” are consulted.  This may include books, pictures, video, and real people. The teacher arranges opportunities for children to represent what they learn through art, dictation (language), dramatic play, graphing or counting (math), music, and literature.

Children make choices about what to do, when to do it, and where to do it. Teachers guide these choices, help children frame their ideas, and bring them resources to use.

The teacher arranges a culminating event or summary of the project that reflects the children’s learning. The teacher also looks for another area of interest on which to base the next project.

The project based approach is one of many approaches the staff at St. Anne’s will use to assist children in learning new skills and using their creativity. In everything we do, children will be actively engaged in learning new skills and exploring new ideas!