American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/education Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2015, 3(7), 907-917
DOI: 10.12691/education-3-7-15
Open AccessArticle

The Project Approach Meta-Project: Inquiry-Based Learning in Undergraduate Early Childhood Teacher Education

Adam S. Kennedy1, , Erin Horne2, Kelcie Dolan1, Cindy Herrera1, Naomi Malutan1 and Kathleen Noetzel1

1School of Education, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

2The Frances Xavier Warde School, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Pub. Date: June 17, 2015

Cite this paper:
Adam S. Kennedy, Erin Horne, Kelcie Dolan, Cindy Herrera, Naomi Malutan and Kathleen Noetzel. The Project Approach Meta-Project: Inquiry-Based Learning in Undergraduate Early Childhood Teacher Education. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(7):907-917. doi: 10.12691/education-3-7-15

Abstract

This article describes a case study involving the planning, phases, and outcomes of an exploration of the Project Approach led by four teacher candidates as part of an undergraduate early childhood teacher preparation program. Four undergraduate junior-level teacher candidates investigated the phases of the Project Approach during their junior year; this work took place during a 26-week learning module comprised of a seminar and part-time student teaching placement in a preschool setting. The candidates aligned the stages of their investigation with the phases of the Project Approach, which provided a framework complementary to that of action research, within which the candidates directed their own exploration of essential issues of early childhood pedagogy and curriculum. This investigation took place both at the Loyola and at a preschool in which the Project Approach was in use. Candidates assumed the role of the teacher and led actual projects with preschoolers; these served as culminating events for their project. In addition, at the conclusion of the module, candidates planned and hosted a session at which they shared documentation of their learning and outcomes of the investigation for an audience of university faculty and other teacher candidates. Candidates demonstrated an increased understanding of the Project Approach and a greater appreciation for its use with preschoolers. They also identified perceived advantages and challenges of implementing projects in various types of early childhood settings. Candidates exhibited high levels of collaboration with mentor co-teacher educators, and acquired knowledge and skills that informed their roles in guiding preschoolers through project planning and investigation during student teaching.

Keywords:
Project Approach teacher education early childhood inquiry learning

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