Project Approach is at the foundation of our program at Rohan Woods School. Students receive systematic instruction in reading, math and writing for skill acquisition, while Project Approach provides an opportunity to apply these skills in real time while learning about topics that pique their interest.
About six years ago, business leaders began to report that the prospective employee applicant pool lacked several qualities to be successful in the workforce. While leaders can teach isolated skills necessary to complete a given task, there are some skills that can’t be taught. Work ethic, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, and collaboration were cited as weaknesses directly impacting the new workforce.
As a school, we not only want to prepare our students for the next step in their academic careers, but also, to build a strong foundation to live as a productive adult in a global society. While student outcomes substantiate that our academic program is challenging and effective, we, too, recognize the importance of providing experiences that facilitate the ability to think critically, problem solve, be creative, communicate effectively, and collaborate.
Project Approach is a teaching methodology that inspires students to gain knowledge and skills by working to investigate and respond to engaging and complex questions, problems, or challenges. Project work teaches our children how to plan and organize information, manage their time effectively, and how to initiate a task and complete it. There are many skills our students learn through Project Approach that will positively impact their performance in all
areas of their lives not just school.
Project Approach is executed in three phases.
Phase One: Sharing Stories and Discovering What Students Know
Children engage in conversations with their peers, families, and teachers to share experiences or knowledge about a chosen topic. Students begin to build their knowledge, questions, and wonderings to use throughout Project.
Phase Two: Investigations
Students delve deeper into the topic by participating in fieldwork, field trips, and long term multi-stage work based on their individual interests and preference. Research skills used to acquire information are developmentally appropriate and pique the interest of the student.
Phase Three: Culmination
In a multitude of ways, students share their expertise of the topic with parents and peers to showcase what they have learned.
Project Approach takes into consideration the developmental stage of our students, so it looks different at each age level. A Senior Kindergarten class might study local wildlife and observe the life cycle of animals as they make a field guide about the county’s woodland creatures.
Fourth Graders could dig deep into the history of the neighborhood through interviews, research, and field visits, then create museum exhibits.
I am in awe as I observe our children learn through Project Approach. It increases student motivation to read, write, and learn math because they are engaged by the topic. It increases the love of learning and the ability to work collaboratively. It increases their love of school and the ability to work cooperatively with their peers.
Rohan Woods School is a leader in Project Approach, serving as the only independent school providing this integrated experience for its students. We are proud to be a Project Approach school and proud of the positive effects it has on our students.