Best Practices Workshops
Best Practices Inc and Judy Harris Helm Provide Training On the Project Approach

Now scheduling new training on teaching families to use the project approach at home (PA 8 below). This training accompanies the new book Teaching Your Child to Love Learning:A Guide to Projects at Home to be released March 15 by Teachers College Press, Columbia University. Click here to see a description of this new book.

Want to see the Project Approach in action? Visit Discovery Preschool. Click here to find out about Open Door, 2004.

PA 1: Introduction to Project Work with Children 2 - 8 years
Audience: Teachers, Associate Teachers, Administrators, of prekindergarten through primary grades
Three-hour overview

Why do projects in early childhood? What is engaged learning? What does a project look like with young children ages two through eight? Young Investigators focuses on the use of the project approach and investigation in the formative early years, specifically in childcare centers, preschools, early childhood special education and kindergarten classrooms. This 1/2 day presentation enables teachers and administrators to see the value of project work and to incorporate project work in their day in a variety of programs.

PA 2: Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years
Audience: Teachers, Associate Teachers, Administrators of toddler through primary grades

This one day training guides teachers through the process of learning how to enable active, engaged, meaningful learning experiences using the project approach to occur in pre-k, k, and primary classrooms. It provides instruction in defining active, engaged meaningful learning, identifying interests, helping children learn to investigate, and making field experiences meaningful. A decisionmaking process for following childrenís interest while still meeting accountability issues is shared. A short video On Fire with Learning: The Firetruck Project follows one project in an early childhood special education classroom for the forty days of the project. The workshop is based on Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years by Judy Harris Helm and Lilian Katz. This workshop will enable some teachers to begin to implement, especially if they have support and encouragement.

PA 3: Young Investigators: From Theory to Implementation
Audience: Teachers, Associate Teachers, Administrators of toddler through primary grades;
Two days

This two day training, based on Young Investigators: The Project Approach in the Early Years, provides a good foundation for implementation of project work in prekindergarten and primary classrooms. Participants learn how to use the Project Planning Journal and to facilitate a project from first topic identification to culminating experiences. Topics also include how to make anticipatory planning webs that incorporate standards and required curriculum, how to follow children's lead, planning field trips, arranging for expert visitors, and celebrating project work. Two day (ten total hours)

PA 4: Teachers as Investigators: An In-depth Exploration in Using the Project Approach with Young Children
Audience: Teachers, Associate Teachers, Administrators of toddler through primary grades
Five day onsite

The best way for teachers to learn how to facilitate project work is to experience being a project learner. This one-week seminar provides hands on experiences for teachers in researching a topic of interest to them as adults while using the structure and techniques they will use with their children. Participants use the Project Planning Journal, make anticipatory planning webs and child webs, investigate, represent, document and finally share what they have learned. This is a very meaningful way for teachers to develop a deep understanding of the project process and to develop skills for implementation. This seminar is especially meaningful if it occurs in a "retreat" type of location - a park, campus, or other interesting environment. Five days of about five hours (25 total hours)

PA 5: Deepening Project Work: Strategies for extending and enhancing project experiences
Audience: Teachers, Associate Teachers, Administrators of toddler through primary grades
One Day

This one-day training shares strategies for increasing the depth and value of project work for greater growth of children's knowledge, skills, and dispositions. It is designed for teachers who have previously had training in the project approach and who are doing project work with their children already. Topics include helping children narrow their focus for project investigations, facilitating higher level questioning, encouraging more child-to-child discussions, integrating provocations and involving children more in planning culminating experiences. Participants are encouraged to bring project documentation for discussion and feedback.

PA 6: The Power of Projects:Meeting Contemporary Challenges
Audience: Teachers, Associate Teachers, Administrators of toddler through primary grades
One Day

This one-day training presents the project approach as a vehicle for meeting five key challenges in schools and centers today: overcoming the ill effects of poverty, moving young children towards literacy, responding to childrenís special needs, helping children learn a second language, and meeting standards effectively. Participants learn how projects can provide a structure for classrooms which focuses teachers on childrenís learning. Stories of projects that occur in classrooms where teachers face these challenges are shared. Participants learn specific practical strategies with examples to maximize the benefits of project work for greater growth of children's knowledge, skills, and dispositions. This training experience is for teachers in schools facing these challenges who have completed PA2,3, or 4 or who are already using the project approach in their classrooms. It can be offered as a follow-up day to PA2, 3, or 4.
One Day

PA 7:Supporting Young and Old Investigators:Project Approach Training for Administrators
Audience: Administrators (principals, directors, curriculum coordinators) of toddler through primary grades, teacher educators, and training providers

Designed for educational leaders who want to encourage and support project work in their schools and centers, this session provides training in the project approach structure with specific attention to the skills and tasks that teachers and other personnel need to learn to do, the resources needed, and ways that administrative support can help.
One Day

PA 8: Teaching Parents How to Use the Project Approach at Home

Audience: Parent educators, family education specialists, principals, directors, and teachers
One Day

The Project Approach can help parents foster meaningful learning learning in the home. Participants will learn how to teach parents to use the project approach in family life including how parents can provide space, time and materials for project work, how to guide an investigation, and how to celebrate the project work. Participants view projects facilitated by parents in their homes when workshops were conducted in Head Start, an at risk prekindergarten, a bilingual program, and a Reggio inspired private preschool.
One Day

PA 9: The Project Approach for Home Schooling
One Day

The Project Approach can provide a structure to in-depth investigations as part of a home schooling curriculum. Experiences are organized around topics of high interest to the student. Students define what they want to know, do research, interview experts, and then represent and share what they learned. Content knowledge and skills are easily integrated into project work and children's dispositions to be intellectually curious and to find answers to their own questions are strengthened. Home schoolers can benefit from all project approach training experiences but this workshop is especially designed for conference presentations or for networks of parents who home school.

PA 9: The Project Approach for Gifted Children
Audience: Teachers who provide experiences for gifted children, administrators of programs for gifted children
One Day

Gifted students benefit especially by following their interest and investigating at their level of understanding. Project work enables children to do in-depth research on topics in which they have a high interest. Project experiences are rich, meaningful, integrated, and promote cooperation and collaboration among children and adults. A hallmark of good projects is problem solving. All project approach training experiences are beneficial for gifted educators. This one-day overview is specially oriented towards meeting the needs of gifted students. Participants develop an understanding of the structure of projects, the facilitation of project work, and the advancement of children's content knowledge and skills.

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