Child and Family studies carefully reviewed ‘child-centered philosophy’ of Dewey, ‘Reggio Emilia Approach’ from Italy and ‘Project Approach’ from United States to come up with Korean version of ‘Project Approach’ that would serve best for children in Korea. It encourages children to develop self-guided curriculum through in-depth exploration and investigation of topics they are interested in. Therefore, the classes are very flexible in terms of the “themes” covered during a year. The duration spent for each “theme” also differ depending on the interest of children in class.
Characteristics of project approach
- Focuses on children’s interests and learning styles. Children get chance to explore by themselves on interesting themes and subjects.
- Teacher only facilitates the children’s learning. Teacher does not pre-plan for the class schedule. Teacher and children seek for answers together to various questions arise from the theme/ subjects.
- Allows learning experience in combination of language, mathematics and science. Concepts and skills are obtained in collaboration through process of exploring a subject in more depth.
- Allows discussion (Active Interaction), various expression and presentation, in-depth exploration and investigation, direct experience and on-site activities, demonstration and sharing for children.
Procedures of project approach activities
- Deciding on the theme
- Teachers prepare preliminary theme-web based on the topic
- Making a list of required materials for the activity and organizing the environment for the activity.
- Exchanging personal experiences with children about what they are interested in
- Expansion of ideas around the topics arose from the exchange
- Making a list of questions about what they want to learn.
- Children express their personal experiences on the topic through various types of activities (drawing, physical representing, doing arts& craft, acting and making books)
- In-depth exploration and research activities on topics from the internet or book, etc.
Ex) Investigating, drawing from observation, constructing models, observing closely and recording findings, exploring, predicting, and discussing and dramatizing their new understandings, field trips
- Preparing and presenting reports of results in the form of displays of findings and artifacts, talks dramatic presentations, or guided tours of their constructions
Ex) Play, exhibition, cooking Activity
Advantages of Project Approach
Develop linguistic skills and problem-solving skills
- develop proficiency in their writing and drawing skills to express themselves
- Learn to see the causal relationships, to apply problem-solving skills and communicate logically.
Become a good learner while they engage in play, explore and read books.
Become a good observer
- While children investigate in-depth about one theme, they have opportunities to observe one specific thing/object longitudinally. As time goes by, children not only have chance to see the changes that occur naturally but also develop their observational skills.
Increase in attention span
- Child initiates learning environment. Therefore, children tend to concentrate more than when they are forced to learn.
Increase in self-confidence level
- Children become self-satisfied and self-confident as they get opportunities to learn based on their interests and learning styles.
Parent’s role in children’s project approach activities
- Providing various information and materials related to the theme/topic (They are to be returned after the project is finished)
- Showing interests in the project topics and theme and initiating conversation about the project with the child.
- Initiating or attempting to try activities related to the classroom project themes and topics.
- Participating as a one day teacher of the classroom during the project period.
- Participating in the ending/debriefing events of the project and sharing the experience with the child.