Now I have to admit here and now that I have had a few days, weeks and months full of dread about ‘project based learning’. Which is what prompted me to unsubscribed from all those blogs that were inundating my inbox with visions of amazing mothers creating amazing projects and results with their amazing 3 year olds while me with my 5 and 7 year old felt like we only fleetingly touched on anything!
I have always been big on ‘topic based learning’ such as areas that catch my kid’s interest along with festivals/celebrations as they arise, and we still are big on this. So my feelings towards ‘Project based’ learning shocked me. Maybe it was the change from having topics which just arose of their own accord and disappeared the same way to having my kids engaged in a topic long enough for it to become a project. Maybe it was just those photos and words in the blogs that I took as a sign that I wasn’t doing enough or maybe it was all in the way I perceived ‘Project’.
Project for me feels like a major activity, a major commitment and a major investment of enthusiasm, time, and sometimes money. No wonder the thought of it filled me with fear and I was compelled to banish all ‘Project based learning’ e-mails from my inbox. That is until just the other day when I read an interesting article on ‘9 Skills that Every Kid should learn’ by Leo Babauta. In this article he mentions that it is important for children to tackle projects, here we go again I thought but I read on and I’m so glad I did. He describes how major projects are just made up from a series of smaller projects.
Now I may have stretched his original words by what I am about to say, it is just that suddenly I had a moment of serendipity and that the world was alright again 😉 You see I instantly understood in his words that writing a letter to a friend is a project. Baking biscuits is a project. Reading a book is a project. Drawing a picture is a project. Making a Lego car is a project and even making your bed in the morning can be a project. A project is nothing more or less than starting something and finishing it. Before I felt that I was not giving my kids all they could have by us not ‘doing’ project based learning and now I feel so much more comfortable with the fact that we are in fact doing loads of project based learning each day. They may not be the big and beautiful ones that I have seen on blogs, they are however little, meaningful and just as beautiful and relevant to us and our kid’s learning.
Wishing you loads of fulfilling projects in the week ahead.