Monday, April 8, 2013

Projects? Really? Who says?

I’ve been thinking about projects. A great deal. And I don’t even know where to begin. Why do we do them? Who said we have to do them? What is their purpose? How are they meant to benefit the children? When is it a project and not a theme? When is it a theme and not a project? Do you like doing them? Do you get anything out of them?

Look, I’m not a project expert. I’m not even 100% sure what my feelings are about them. Sure, there are benefits of putting together a document for and with children ... BUT ... unless you really are strong in your practice and you know what you are doing ... well, are you doing more theme-harm than good?

I was planning to write on this weeks ago, but I got distracted and have been downsizing the house. Work before Play after all. And once I get all the work stuff done, then I can play!

Anyway, Projects. I remember being told that I had to do them. That it was a requirement of my teaching practice at the service I was working at. I never really questioned it. I just did them. I did try to do them smartly – put excerpts from the day book and observations and the like into them along with drawings and quotes and mind maps and the like to create these project books. They were simply a collection of random materials that maybe illustrated children’s engagement rather than their learning. They were merely put on display for maybe parents to look at ... they were never really used much. The children occasionally looked at them. They were pretty much a tool for the Director to use to show what we do at the service on a tour ... All that time and effort? What for?

As I was looking for information I came across this from Kathy Walker:

 “The reality is that young children are not mini adults and they do not make sense of their world through long, adult driven, adult agenda laden projects and predetermined topics!”

Ok, yes, that statement is a very strong one ... and I’m actually agreeing with it more than disagreeing.

At what point is a project driven by children? What do the children benefit?

I especially ask this, because I see so many people across Facebook or the internet at large, either saying they are doing a “project” with under two year olds on this topic or that, or asking for help on project topics to do with this age group of that age group ... That to me just screams topic or theme. And it really doesn’t illustrate play or natural learning to me.

This blog entry is just about what is churning on inside me right now. I don’t have any conclusions at this point ... just a lot of swirly questions and ideas going through my mind!

And I need to bring in some laundry. Thank you for reading and following and being my quiet secret admirers! It’s much appreciated! Don’t forget there is a facebook page!

© Teacher’s Ink. 2013

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