Our society and education system have for so long focused on acquisition of knowledge and skills, often through rote learning. It is finally dawning on many that acquisition of skills and knowledge is not enough, and that the ability to apply them is equally important if not more.
Besides acquiring skills such as writing, reading or drawing, children need to know how and when to use these skills. Through project work, children can experience confidence in their own intellectual powers, applying their developing skills in purposeful and meaningful ways. They learn to overcome obstacles and setbacks, take initiative, and exercise responsibility in making choices and co-operating as a team. The children are actively engaged in exploring, investigating, thinking, communicating, decision-making, problem-solving and reflecting.
Project work can also provide opportunity for children’s use of imagination and powers of creative self-expression. Children can think for themselves and recognise the value of their own original ideas and ways of implementing them.
Phases of Project Work
The children engage in an initial discussion of the topic and offer ideas and stories of their experiences. They learn to pose questions and develop their intellectual curiosity in the process. Questions are collected for later research.
This phase involves research and collection of information to answer the questions raised. Children learn to seek out answers for themselves instead of relying on adults. They can read, write, draw, compute, gather data, and represent many different kinds of findings.
The emphasis is on the sharing and communication of learning to others. Children can express themselves through writing, drawing, visual arts, drama, storytelling and even poetry.