Exploring Project-Based Learning

missions explorers

“Why . . . ?” “How . . . ?” “Show me . . .” Preschoolers are natural explorers. Capitalize on your preschoolers’ natural excitement and tenacious curiosity about all things new by planning a project learning experience. Use the following tips to enjoy the project approach with your preschoolers:

  1. Always begin with a brief discussion. Introduce the missionaries and the missions area and talk to your preschoolers to discover what they already know about the missions work or the missions area.
  2. As you talk, listen for topics that preschoolers might be interested in investigating further. Guide preschoolers to choose a topic they would like to learn more about. Remember that they will be learning more about this topic for the duration of your unit, which is typically one month.
  3. Think of ways to help preschoolers delve into the topics they choose. Check out books from your local library. Search for appropriate online videos and pictures. Invite guests who have experience or expertise in the areas your preschoolers are investigating.
  4. As preschoolers gather information, help them think of ways that they can record the information. Use graphic organizers for sorting and for comparing and contrasting information. Give preschoolers the opportunity to voice record what they’ve learned. For those who enjoy art, provide art supplies to create books or murals or sculptures. For those who enjoy music, provide simple recording equipment or apps, and encourage them to make up songs to share.
  5. Invite parents or other adults in your church or community to assist preschoolers in gathering and recording information. (Note: We recommend background checks for any adult who works with your preschoolers.)
  6. With preschoolers, plan a way to present the information that they have learned. You could set up a simple display table or create lap books, or you can get as elaborate as planning a party. The beauty of project-based learning is that it is completely customizable for your needs and the needs of your preschoolers.

Project-learning experiences feel quite different from more structured traditional sessions because you provide resources for learning, rather than directly teaching. You can quickly see that projects give your preschoolers opportunities to dig more deeply into topics they are drawn to. And this type of learning teaches them to think critically, creatively, and collaboratively.

For more information and suggestions for project based learning, check out our Missions Explorers resources.

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