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Picturing the Project Approach
Creative Explorations in Early Learning

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Picturing the Project Approach
Creative Explorations in Early Learning



Item number: 10536
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When teachers implement the project approach to learning, young children can follow their own real-world interests to gain deeper understanding. Children wonder about a topic, formulate their questions, and then figure out the answers for themselves in their own way.

The project approach helps children dig deeply into intellectual and social experiences that can help them see meaningful benefits of the skills they are acquiring. Picturing the Project Approach will lead teachers every step of the way toward incorporating this teaching method in any toddler, preschool or elementary classroom. Teachers will learn how to:

  • Identify a topic
  • Decide on a project
  • Develop the project
  • Share the learning
  • Bring the project to a close
Sylvia C. Chard

Dr. Sylvia C. Chard is professor emerita of early childhood education at the University of Alberta, Canada. She has worked at the University of Alberta since 1989 where she was...

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Yvonne Kogan

Yvonne Kogan is cofounder and academic principal of the early childhood and elementary departments of Eton School in Mexico City. She is a consultant on the project approach for several...

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Carmen A. Castillo

For more than twenty years, Carmen A. Castillo has held several positions as a teacher and principal. Currently, she is an educational consultant and trainer for schools in Mexico and...

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Picturing the Project Approach has won the Academics' Choice Award (Smart Book, 2017).

“Picturing: The Project Approach is a much-needed practical and informative guide for teachers who are curious and excited about changing their young children’s learning experiences to stimulate critical thinking, develop social-emotional skills, and most importantly, instill a love for learning. Regardless of a one’s level of understanding or practice of a project approach, this book with its comprehensive explanation of the approach and beautiful images that capture the life cycle of a project, will most certainly inspire and motivate a teacher to embrace this approach to learning. Picturing: The Project Approach is not a guide to read once and then put on a shelf; it is a guide that should be used every day to ensure young learners have experiences that build their foundation for their successful future educational journey. ”

Vicki Denmark
Vice President of Innovation

“This book really manages to bring the Project Approach alive. The rich pedagogy of the Project Approach is emphasised by the wonderful images of children deeply engaged in their enquiry and research. As well as being Informative and inspirational, the book offers the practical steps needed to facilitate project based learning. It is abundantly clear - when children ask the questions - they are much more interesting in finding their own answers and solutions. A book that should be in every school.”

Pete Moorhouse
Artist educator, Author, Early Years consultant and researcher. Bristol, UK

“Best practice in today’s classrooms means extending the joyous freedom of learning through observation, engagement, meaningful instruction and reflection. Sylvia Chard, Yvonne Kogan and Carmen Castillo in Picturing the Project Approach, Creative Explorations in Early Learning, exemplify, in a lucid way, how this type of learning can be accomplished. This book, with rich descriptions, detailed tables and vivid illustrations, provides step-by-step guidelines for using the Project Approach in any early childhood setting. The Project Approach is cogently presented as a framework for the in-depth investigation of real world topics relevant to children, their context, and their way of life. The narrative exemplifies how when children create their preferred language for interpretation and expression, their learning outcomes are greater. The authors welcome the readers into real classrooms with real students and a strong sense of purpose. Classrooms that nurture the intellect as well as the social and emotional development of every child. Of foremost value is the section of templates and sample letters included at the back of the book. This book has added more knowledge and experience about the Project Approach than any previous work on this subject. It is a true example of the best that learning / school can be. ”

Dr. Esther Kogan
Educational Co-founder of the Speyer Legacy School Adjunct Professor Adelphi University

“They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is exactly what happens for Project Approach in this book. When informative and often stunning images compliment a great text then we have something very special worth treasuring. Picturing the Project Approach is a wonderfully illustrated book that provides a vision of what we can aim for in Project work. We can put ourselves in the picture and try on new ways of teaching and learning. For those who have never experienced this powerful way of learning and teaching it can be hard to imagine. Now here are wonderful examples of excellent project work in action where we can see and imagine ourselves to be. I am going to prescribe it for my early childhood undergraduates.”

Margaret Brooks
School of Education Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood Education ​University of New England

“Picturing the Project Approach takes the mystery out of how the best projects are born, develop, and conclude in celebration.  The beautiful photography shows students’ excitement and joy as they learn about topics of interest and relevance. The different phases of a project are carefully explained. Detailed instructions are offered on creating topic webs and documentation. Examples of parent letters, which invite family participation in classroom projects, are even provided.  Our early childhood faculty will use this book as a resource for years to come. ”

Tina Carstensen
Early Childhood Principal

“If you are a teacher who is still reluctant to embrace the project approach as an essential educational technique, this book will invite, satisfy, and propel you into a new classroom adventure. Rich with color photos of real children doing real explorations, the book’s aim is to help early childhood teachers guide children in authentic investigations of the environment. The authors review the basics of the project approach, carefully explaining that it is not a curriculum and is compatible with other instructional methods. Unlike thematic approaches that demand teacher pre-planning, projects are responsive to children’s ideas, questions, and interests to support the goals the whole learning community has set. Most simply, projects have three phases: first, teachers learn what children already know and what they want to know about a topic; second, the teacher organizes hands-on, authentic experiences that give children the ability to answer their questions; and third, the project group decides how to finish the project and share the learning with others. Predicated on the assumption that children are curious and eager learners, the project approach offers teachers a developmentally appropriate structure for children’s investigation, discovery, and understanding of topics that are meaningful—and therefore worth the time and effort of a teacher’s planning and presentation. ”

Texas Child Care Quarterly