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Project Based Learning 


Child’s Play by the Bay uses an integrated approach to curriculum; allowing children to learn and discover through exploration and experimentation. When curriculum is integrated children are able to experience and learn math, literacy, science, social studies, and the arts in meaningful ways. This integrated approach is commonly called The Project Approach. The Project Approach builds on children’s current knowledge and interests, encouraging them to become self-motivated problem-solvers, develop the confidence to know how to handle problems, ask meaningful questions, develop and execute a plan, and to reflect on their learning all of which fosters a lifelong love of learning.


A program that implements The Project Approach is different from those with a set curriculum that is based on predetermined skills, themes, and calendars.  With a project-based integrated curriculum, teachers observe the children and thoughtfully introduce materials and ideas to determine the children’s interest level and the appropriateness of the topic of study. A study topic should:


  • Be relevant, authentic, and age appropriate

  • Build on prior knowledge and allow the children to explore the topic firsthand

  • Allow children to explore it independently and over an extend period of time

  • Integrate math, literacy, science, social studies, and the arts

  • Allow for home-school connections

  • Be worth studying


In an effort to make learning experiences as authentic as possible teachers plan investigations over time so that children can truly explore an idea, make hypothesizes, and create new ideas. Additionally they plan trips & visits from special guests to enhance the learning experiences. Some examples of study topics are:




  • Buildings

  • Trees

  • Water

  • Worms

  • Clothes

  • Bread



By using The Project Approach teachers are able to communicate meaningfully with each child’s family. They can share real learning experiences and encourage families to connect in meaningful ways. Our teachers spend time observing each child’s growth and development and use this information to plan for both the project as well as for more focused individual experiences. This ongoing observational-based assessment results in teachers who know the children and children who are able to succeed in the classroom. Each child has a portfolio filled with authentic work samples as well as standardized assessments allowing a picture of the whole child to be seen.


“The project approach as an in-depth investigation of a topic undertaken by a class, group of children or individual child in an early childhood classroom or at home — children are nurtured in an environment that does not place limits on their creativity or enforce time restrictions. This flexible framework is believed to promote brain development by encouraging children to collaborate with each other and solve challenges as they arise throughout their project.”

— Illinois Projects in Practice


For more information on a project based learning, consider watching the following Edutopia video on YouTube:


Below you will find pictures taken to document one of our first projects:  Family.  Children explored personal characteristics, talked about what they were like as babies, discussed their traditions, their homes, favorite family recipes and much more! 

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