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Tips for Supporting Teachers’ Implementation of Project Work

Originally published:

child draws in nature

Tip 1. Take an active interest in the progress of teachers’ projects.

Each project is unique, depending on the teacher, the particular or unique group of children involved, and the children’s backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Since no two projects proceed in the same way, teachers have many decisions and choices to make. Teachers who are new to project work are sometimes uncertain about how to proceed. Administrators can help teachers by

  • Letting teachers know that they are interested in how things are going and are glad to help in any way they can as the project progresses. For example, a director might ask, “How’s your project going?” or “What project topics are you thinking of?” or “Are there special materials you will need for your next project?”
  • Developing their own expertise in the Project Approach so that they can provide useful feedback.
  • Reading and commenting on a teacher’s documentation of project work as the project proceeds.
  • Providing opportunities for teachers to meet with them to think through the progress of their projects and decide on next steps.
  • Understanding that all attempts at project work do not lead to full-blown projects, and valuing what was learned or accomplished.
  • Helping teachers to realize that a topic might work well with one group (or class) one year but fall flat the next year.
Sallee Beneke

Sallee Beneke

Sallee (BenekeSalleeJ@sau.edu) is Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in ECE at St Ambrose University, Iowa. She coauthored The Project Approach for All Learners (2019) with Michaelene Ostrosky and Lilian Katz. Sallee used the Project Approach as a teacher and has worked to build the implementation of the approach via training and consulting. Sallee co-founded the IEL Project Approach Web site, and Facebook page with Lilian Katz, and she continues to contribute to the site.

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Preschool Program

Intended audience(s):
  • Teachers / Service providers
  • Faculty / Trainer

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Reviewed: 2023