Picturing the Project Approach: Seeing How It Works for Teachers and Children in Practice

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 2 p.m. EST
Presented by: Dr. Sylvia Chard, Carmen A. Castillo and Yvonne Kogan

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The authors of Picturing the Project Approach: Creative Explorations in Early Learning agree! In this unique webinar, you will have a rare opportunity to peek inside the life of The Project Approach in practice in real classrooms with real children and teachers featured in the book. The authors will share the power of projects through photographs of children from toddler to upper elementary ages in a school committed to high quality project work for more than a decade.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • The basics of the Project Approach
  • How the book can be used as a manual for teachers learning to engage their students in in-depth project work
  • How to lead teachers through the steps of incorporating the Project Approach in toddler, preschool or elementary classrooms


All sessions are 1.5 hour long, and include a brief announcement from our sponsor.

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Eastern Time.

To ensure you receive confirmation and reminder emails, add customercare@gotowebinar.com to your contacts list. If you do not receive your email confirmation, check your Spam or Junk mail folders in your email system.

Can’t participate in our webinars at the appointed time? Never fear! All of the webinars are recorded. To view the recording, simply register now and you will receive an email with a link to the recording when it is ready to be viewed. You can still download the certificate by watching the recording to the end when the certificate link is announced and displayed on the screen.

Only 1,000 people at one time can attend our webinars, but registration often tops 4,000. Only the first 1,000 people to click the link to attend the webinar will be able to get in. We start the webinars 30 minutes in advance of the start time. Arrive early to make sure you get in.

Please be advised that you will only be eligible for the great door prizes if you participate in the live session.

You can earn .2 CEUs for each webinar. The cost is $15 paid to University of Oklahoma online when you apply. Learn more here: Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from University of Oklahoma

See the schedule of upcoming webinars.

Register now

Keeping Play in Kindergarten


After two rewarding years of teaching pre-K, I felt ready for the new challenge of teaching kindergarten. I knew there would be some substantial changes as I moved from the world of pre-K to the more traditional K-12 school model. After all, DC kindergartners are expected to master the more rigorous Common Core standards which include the requirement for students to “read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.” Nap time was gone and lesson planning would soon consume a large portion of my weekends.

These were all changes I had anticipated and even welcomed. The major change I did not anticipate was the dramatic shift away from play-based learning in favor of direct teacher instruction. The play kitchen was gone, along with the vast stretches of time dedicated to center-based learning in which students were able to choose their preferred activity. I spent a lot of my time as a kindergarten teacher trying to find the right balance between allowing opportunities for play and ensuring that all of my students experienced significant academic growth throughout the school year.

Source: EdCentral

Available at: http://www.edcentral.org/kinderplay/

The Overprotected Kid


By Hanna Rosin

A trio of boys tramps along the length of a wooden fence, back and forth, shouting like carnival barkers. “The Land! It opens in half an hour.” Down a path and across a grassy square, 5-year-old Dylan can hear them through the window of his nana’s front room. He tries to figure out what half an hour is and whether he can wait that long. When the heavy gate finally swings open, Dylan, the boys, and about a dozen other children race directly to their favorite spots, although it’s hard to see how they navigate so expertly amid the chaos. “Is this a junkyard?” asks my 5-year-old son, Gideon, who has come with me to visit. “Not exactly,” I tell him, although it’s inspired by one. The Land is a playground that takes up nearly an acre at the far end of a quiet housing development in North Wales. It’s only two years old but has no marks of newness and could just as well have been here for decades. The ground is muddy in spots and, at one end, slopes down steeply to a creek where a big, faded plastic boat that most people would have thrown away is wedged into the bank. The center of the playground is dominated by a high pile of tires that is growing ever smaller as a redheaded girl and her friend roll them down the hill and into the creek. “Why are you rolling tires into the water?” my son asks. “Because we are,” the girl replies.

It’s still morning, but someone has already started a fire in the tin drum in the corner, perhaps because it’s late fall and wet-cold, or more likely because the kids here love to start fires. Three boys lounge in the only unbroken chairs around it; they are the oldest ones here, so no one complains. One of them turns on the radio—Shaggy is playing (Honey came in and she caught me red-handed, creeping with the girl next door)—as the others feel in their pockets to make sure the candy bars and soda cans are still there. Nearby, a couple of boys are doing mad flips on a stack of filthy mattresses, which makes a fine trampoline. At the other end of the playground, a dozen or so of the younger kids dart in and out of large structures made up of wooden pallets stacked on top of one another. Occasionally a group knocks down a few pallets—just for the fun of it, or to build some new kind of slide or fort or unnamed structure. Come tomorrow and the Land might have a whole new topography.

Other than some walls lit up with graffiti, there are no bright colors, or anything else that belongs to the usual playground landscape: no shiny metal slide topped by a red steering wheel or a tic-tac-toe board; no yellow seesaw with a central ballast to make sure no one falls off; no rubber bucket swing for babies. There is, however, a frayed rope swing that carries you over the creek and deposits you on the other side, if you can make it that far (otherwise it deposits you in the creek). The actual children’s toys (a tiny stuffed elephant, a soiled Winnie the Pooh) are ignored, one facedown in the mud, the other sitting behind a green plastic chair. On this day, the kids seem excited by a walker that was donated by one of the elderly neighbors and is repurposed, at different moments, as a scooter, a jail cell, and a gymnastics bar.

Source: The Atlantic

Available at: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/03/hey-parents-leave-those-kids-alone/358631/

Spending Time Outdoors Matters for Infants and Toddlers!

This podcast shares some of the benefits that infants and toddlers gain by spending quality time outside and offers some ideas for how to make the most of outdoor time.

Reflective Questions:
After you’ve seen or heard the podcast, consider these questions:

  • How often do you take infants and toddlers outdoors? Where do you take them? How long do they spend outside? What, if any, changes might you make to the daily schedule to support greater exposure to the outdoors?
  • What outdoor experiences do you currently offer infants and toddlers? What other kinds of experiences might you offer?
  • How do you involve families in planning outdoor experiences? How do you support them in spending time outdoors with their children?
  • How do you feel about spending time outdoors? Is it something you enjoy? Something you are not comfortable doing? How might your personal feelings affect children’s access to the outdoors and/or the types of experiences children are offered?

Source: Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/ehsnrc/Early%20Head%20Start/multimedia/podcasts/SpendingTimeOut.htm

25 Easy Ideas for Nature Play for Early Childhood Centers – Head Start

Great nature play doesnt require elaborate and expensive play spaces! Even a limited outdoor area can be affordably enhanced for nature play, using common materials and plants to create a young childs heaven that is chock-full of small-scale wonders and magical discoveries. Try the suggestions in this brochure, and then add your own ideas over time! 25 Easy Ideas for Nature Play for Early Childhood Centers»

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/eecd/nature-based-learning/Learn%20and%20Play%20in%20Nature/25-easy-ideas.htm

A Year of Play

You are your child’s favorite toy.  There is nothing in the world your child would rather do than play with you!  Use the ideas below as a starting point for the many joyful ways there are to explore, play, learn, and discover with your child.

Click on one of the months below to browse fun seasonal activities that promote your child’s development all through the year:



Evaluación sobre el espacio de juego en el preescolar – Head Start

La evaluación de Head Start Body Start sobre el espacio de juego se ha concebido para ayudar a que Head Start y otros educadores de la primera infancia evalúen la calidad de los espacios de juego al aire libre para los niños de 3 a 5 años. Este instrumento ayuda a identificar las fortalezas y necesidades de un espacio de juego que ya existe, y sirve de base para establecer  prioridades y planear mejoras. Los directores, gerentes y educadores también pueden utilizarlo para diseñar un espacio de juegos nuevo. La evaluación se divide en 11 categorías basadas en la investigación.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/Espanol/EECD/Espacios%20naturales%20para%20jugar/Evaluacinsobre.htm

Una infancia en el huerto – Head Start

Un día de primavera, temprano por la mañana, el familiar ruido de un tractor interrumpe el murmullo de la clase. Los niños voltean la cabeza, y enseguida se aglomeran en las ventanas. “Es el granjero John”, gritan a coro en cuanto lo ven. Podemos salir y ver lo que está haciendo?”. Una infancia en el huerto» [PDF, 698KB]

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/Espanol/EECD/Espacios%20naturales%20para%20jugar/Unainfanciaene.htm

Affordable Settings and Elements: Ideas for Cost Effective Solutions – Head Start

From tree logs to gardens, programs may use easy-to-find materials to naturalize and enhance children’s outdoor play spaces. The following article offers Head Start directors and teachers cost-effective solutions for enriching children’s play environments.

Source: Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center

Available at: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/eecd/nature-based-learning/Create%20and%20Naturalize%20a%20Play%20Space/AffordableSettin.htm

Online Technical Assistance and Training for Play Area Accessibility

Welcome to the Online Training on the Play Area Accessibility Guidelines.

This online training is brought to you by the United States Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) to provide training for designers and operators in using the accessibility guidelines for play areas. Additionally, this training can be a resource for parents, teachers, and others interested in play area accessibility.

Source: U.S. Access Board

Available at: http://www.access-board.gov/play/course/section1/1-1.htm