The Project Approach to learning is at the forefront of our minds as we enhance the Rohan Woods experience. During the past two years, we have discussed and identified the difference between a project and the Project Approach. I came across a relevant visual on educationcloset.com, an online source for STEAM education, that clearly differentiates between the two.
Phase I of Project Approach sets the framework for the students. Conversations pertaining to student-driven interests take place at home and school, sometimes in a planned fashion, but other times more organically. The children share stories in class incorporating their personal knowledge and naturally asking questions of their classmates to acquire more information. Documentation of these conversations visually takes shape on the classroom wall. This helps the growth of additional ideas and drives the direction each student takes to learn even more.
For example, students may have a keen interest in pets. After class discussions and students sharing personal stories about pets, the teacher begins to enter ideas from the entire class into a visual web. Simultaneously, questions are collated for display to review throughout the project to ensure answers have been found – often creating even more wonderings at a much deeper level. This process allows the teacher to isolate individual interests and formulate the path taken for continued learning. Through this process, Project begins to crystalize, and the students are ready for the next phase – Investigating and researching.