On a recent Saturday morning, a group of teachers, administrators, students, and faculty members met to form the Quad Cities Project Group. What a wonderful morning! Educators of the Children’s Campus located at St. Ambrose University hosted the meeting. Participants were from Illinois and Iowa child care centers, public school prekindergarten programs, and other universities in the Quad Cities region. (See photos below.)
The professionalism and enthusiasm of the educators in attendance were impressive. After touring displays of project documentation at the Children’s Campus and sharing in small-group discussion about topics of interest, the participants came together to discuss next steps. Not only did the group want to meet again, they expressed a desire to meet three or four times per year!
These educators explained that they found it interesting and rewarding to have the opportunity to talk with others who were implementing project work. The meeting provided a context for those who shared documentation of their work to reflect deeply on their practice. All the participants were invigorated by the support and enthusiasm they felt from gathering together, and several participants explained how interesting it was to view the indoor and outdoor classrooms of their colleagues. It was truly a high-quality professional development experience.
This meeting represented a new initiative to form regional project groups. For more than 10 years, a group of teachers, administrators, university faculty, and providers of professional development from Illinois and neighboring states has met in the spring to exchange experiences and thoughts related to project work. At the group’s spring 2010 meeting, it was proposed that we form regional groups that would meet in the fall, with all the regional groups meeting together each spring. Based on our experience in the Quad Cities, this was a great idea!
Leadership is needed to get additional regional groups going. If you are interested in forming a regional project group, I encourage you to give it a try! Professional development on the Project Approach can be both home grown and high quality! Those of us who have hosted project group meetings will be glad to share our encouragement and know-how to help you get your regional group started.