A project approach is an in-depth exploration of a topic that may be child or teacher-initiated and involve an individual, a group of children, or the whole class. A project may be short-term or long-term depending on the level of children's interest. What differentiates the project approach from an inquiry one is that within the project approach there is an emphasis on the creation of a specific outcome that might take the form of a spoken report, a multimedia presentation, a poster, a demonstration or a display. The project approach provides opportunities for children to take agency of their own learning and represent this learning through the construction of personally meaningful artefacts.
If utilised effectively, possible characteristics may include: active, agentic, collaborative, explicit, learner-focused, responsive, scaffolded, playful, language-rich and dialogic.
Project approach unpacked
- facilitate a three-step process that includes planning, exploration and culmination
- orientate children towards a shared outcome or the creation of an artefact
- provide opportunities for individual children or small groups to explore aspects of the project that are of specific interest to them
- provide opportunities for children to negotiate the medium used for creating and sharing their project.
- engage with research materials including authentic objects, books, magazines, newspapers, music and websites
- suggest alternative and creative ways to approach the project
- gather information or depictions from given sources
- use information and communication technologies as a creative tool to generate simple solutions, modifications or data representations
- reflect on whether they are satisfied with the outcome of the project.
approaches of age-appropriate pedagogies in action: project approach to further explore the approach.