3C: Projects, Literacy, and Math
Projects, Literacy, and Math
With the growing development of late 3s – 6s for greater peer and community connection, cognitive stimulation, literacy development, and skill development, our 21st century progressive curriculum supports this increasing maturation with relevant and meaningful small and whole group teacher-led activities and extended multi-disciplinary project work that impels engagement and excited learners! More developmentally mature projects, literacy, and math flow from personally relevant and meaningful emergent curriculum where learning in all traditional subject areas occur through compelling projects which reflect children’s interests, inquiries, ideas, schemas, theory making, and creativity. For example, a social studies/science project such as creating and operating a classroom market provides a wealth of engaging opportunities for: working in collaborative groups; planning (discussing, dictating/writing or drawing plans); problem solving; categorizing merchandise; pricing; doing inventories; making uniforms, signs, advertisements; doing research by going on field trips to real markets; reading books to gather information on where various food products come from — animals, farms, etc.; dramatizing farm life; creating plays/puppet shows; making fiction or non-fiction books on an aspect of study; singing, playing instruments for a variety of purposes — including creatively improvising and composing, dancing and creatively moving on an aspect of the project; working an adding machine and cash register; paying for merchandise; figuring out change; cooking/preparing meals the American, Korean, and Mexican way, etc. Skills are taught and used as needed to accomplish goals of the project, never as the goal itself. Art, music, movement, dance, active games, science, social studies, reading, writing, and math are all integrated into the project according to children’s tacit learning, interests, inquiries, ideas, theories, beliefs, and their personal learning goals.
Concepts and skills in literacy flow from a wholistic framework through concrete contexts that are based in personal relevancy and meaning, engaging young learners in playful means for progressively expanding their foundational literacy skills of listening, speaking, drawing, storytelling, auditory discrimination, rhyming, sound/letter pairs, and their symbolic representation. These beginning reading and writing skills allow them to dive into developmental writing, aka transitional, and phonetic writing, where their self-esteem and confidence as a writer and reader begins to burst. It’s definitely an exciting period for the child (teachers and parents, too)!
Math is also pursued as relevant, concrete contexts present themselves, which progressively move toward symbolic and abstract representation. Our math program is much more than arithmetic skills, enabling children to be real mathematicians inventing their own methods for problem solving, rather than memorizing right responses to closed ended questions. The sharing, analyzing, and evaluating of their various methods, checking answers, and going over disagreements creates a real learning environment of social co-construction. Our math program also teaches children to represent real world problems using symbolic drawings and math symbols as a language. A variety of physical materials, games, and activities are all utilized in our program.