Project Based Learning through Child Inspirations

 

This is for my Child Led Homeschooling Group and CO-OP

 Introduction to the “Curriculum”

In order for projects to be child led we first have to get to know each other and form relationships. Child led learning consists of A LOT of observation.

Our first few meetings will focus on relationship building and learning about what interests our children. We will do this through allowing natural play experiences.

I will take notes about what I observe during these play groups. Also try and take notes of what your child is doing and who he/she is playing with. Ask yourself this…What are they saying? What are they doing with the materials? What are they trying to figure out? Did they have any struggles? Successes?

—The answers to these could be quite obvious, but not always…take a moment and enjoy their play. I want you to also take note that it could be possible your child is most focused on trying to figure out their role in the social group. This is OK! This may mean they need more time learning their social role and that can be their own personal project. How can we get them writing about this so they have the opportunity to reflect on their feelings, behaviors, and social goals? How can we facilitate their social emotional growth? Before a child can really let go and explore their environments and interests, they need to feel confident in who they are. So first and foremost… social-emotional well being 🙂

 

Here’s an example of how a child led project might sprout…

Let’s say some of the 8 and 9 year olds naturally group together and play Legos….

I’m going to go sit by them and write some observation notes without interrupting what they are doing. I’ll write down that they are building cars and each one is trying to make one better than the other child. I will also write down the vocabulary they are using when describing their vehicles… this tells me what they already know and what they could learn. (one child may be labeling actual car parts while another is calling all the pieces a “thing”). Hmmm… now I know who might be a mentor in this investigation!

—After a couple playgroups, I would like to sit down and have a group meeting, (or what some would call a circle time), around my lovely whiteboard.

I’ll start by greeting everyone and waiting for everyone to settle.

I’ll open with….

I noticed (so and so) were making vehicles with Legos last week. Can anyone tell me what they know about cars?

This could lead to a long discussion.

Afterwards I like to ask “What questions do you have about cars?” “What is most interesting about cars?”

Sometimes the questions happen in one meeting and sometimes each question has their own meeting. It depends on the engagement.

I’ll record everything down on the whiteboard so the kids can SEE what they say. This helps with literacy skills. (I’ll take a picture of the conversation for documentation 🙂 ).

Below are some photos of my old beautiful preschool classroom. It is a little more simplified since it is coming from preschoolers, but it gives you an idea of how discussions come from the child’s interest.

 

Once we figure out what the kids know and what they want to find out, they can start forming groups and brainstorming with each other!

These guys wanted to make sculptures from clay…. Here they are checking out art forms made from clay and journaling/drawing their ideas.

journaling clay faces whited out

After weeks of planning and figuring out how to work with the clay… we displayed their art…

WP_20150709_15_34_36_Pro

 

Child Led learning incorporates ALL subjects into the projects of the child’s choice. Clay exploration had the children measuring walls for their houses, writing signs, using real clay tools, studying real artists, exploring the natural sciences of clay (you need water to help it mold…more of less?), they learned social skills, and used their cognitive skills to solve problems. School does not have to be formal and it most definitely does not have to be at a desk filling in the blanks of a worksheet. Our children have naturally curious minds, lets exploit that 🙂

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