Project Work: Effective, Student-Driven and Engaging
Katie Morton

 

An Expert Visitor

St. George's welcomed early childhood expert and author Dr. Judy Harris Helm to campus for faculty professional development on Wednesday, as well as a book signing and reception for her most recent book release.

Why St. George's for the book's first signing experience?

Dr. Helm is an expert in project work, including the Project Approach, used extensively in StG's Early Childhood division, as well as in some Lower School classrooms. The recently released text includes a write-up about the St. George's Pre-K4 Path Project from 2017, authored by our very own Rebecca Teall, Project Coach and Pre-K4 teacher. We are honored to be included in the text as a representative example of an effective project.

While on campus, Dr. Helm met with our experienced Early Childhood teachers to continue their professional development in project work, and she also met with Lower School teachers who are working to incorporate project methods into their teaching. Finally, Dr. Helm met with the full faculty after school to talk about brain science as it relates to learning and project work.

On Wednesday evening, Salem Theatre opened to St. George's faculty and area teachers, administrators, parents and students. Dr. Kreutziger and Hayley Harang made opening remarks and welcomed guests before introducing Dr. Helm and Rebecca Teall to talk about the importance of project work, as well as the Path Project.

Following was a book signing, inclusive of the then Pre-K4 (now 1st grade) students whose path project is featured in the text.

 

An Overview of the Path Project

The path project began as all work in the Project Approach should-- with the observations, interests and questions of students:

"The Pre-K children were amazed by the fact that two classes could go in different directions out of their classrooms and end up at the same place. They never crossed each other's path!" (Growing Child Intellect: The Manifesto for Engaged Learning in the Early Years)

The path project continued with observations around campus. The students carried clipboards and made drawings and notes. Some were alarmed at the frenzy of the Middle School class change time they observed but remarked that the paths made the big kids slow down a little!

After webbing, a field trip was planned to the Couturie Forest in City Park and met with visiting experts. Their interests turned to the materials used to create paths and the difference in travel time between straight and curvy paths.

Finally, to conclude the project, the students planned and executed the construction of a brick path for the Early Childhood butterfly garden, allowing preschool students to travel between the yard and the mud kitchen. The students did all of the work to build the path, including measuring, digging, leveling, and placing the bricks. We admire them for their dedication to the project, an engaging, intellectually stimulating and student-driven exploration!

 

 

  • Early Childhood
  • Guest Speaker
  • Lower School
  • Professional Development
  • Project Approach