The Project Approach

THE PROJECT APPROACH provides one way to introduce a wider range of learning opportunities into the classroom. It is an educational method that recognizes that children have a much wider range of capabilities than they have usually been permitted to show in the regular classroom. And practitioners of the method will seek to provide or construct learning environments which are responsive to the many individual differences, varying learning needs and interests which influence learning.
The approach seeks to allow kids to integrate concepts and provide continuity in kids’ learning between the subjects. It seeks to allow kids to carry out cooperative work and attempt complex and open-ended tasks as well as step by step learning through following instructions.
View aspects of the curriculum

Visit the Project Approach website to find out more.

The Imagine Child Development Center based in Yokohama uses the Project Approach where children can acquire fluency in English and Japanese naturally, while developing a sense of creativity. A major characteristic of this center is to cultivate lifelong enthusiasm towards learning, based on two points. One is to build cross-cultural communication skills in a familiar environment, through contact with native speakers from a young age. The other is to change small questions and wonders into great creativity through the Project Approach, which is the core of education at this center.

The center operates a child development program in English and Japanese, under the guidance of Dr. Kathleen McCartney, a Professor at Harvard University and Dr. Mary Jane Moran, a Professor at University of Tennessee in the United States. They operate regular preschool fullday programs (8 am – 6 pm) as well as drop-in programs. Their programs include language immersion, and exposure to science, art and music. At the Yokohama Landmark Tower’s facilities (view them here), the ceilings are painted with foliage (“as a reminder of nature”), and all the equipment — from sofas to toilets — is miniaturized. While all around, there are panoramic views of Minato Mirai and the city beyond.

Staff take the children to the plaza to play and the center has interactive cameras for parents to check on their children via the Internet. There is “also a safe area for toddlers, a great playhouse, a room of cots, a library corner, a raised tatami platform (“Japanese parents love it”), and multipurpose spaces for water and sand play, painting and free activities. “Our aim is to stimulate creative dramatic play that mimics the adult world.””

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