The Project Approach evolved from a desire to help students participate in and contribute to a democratic society. Studies indicate that democratic societies are more likely to flourish when citizens seek an in-depth understanding of the complex issues they must address and about which they must make choices and decisions.
Situated within a Constructivist-based theoretical framework, the Project Approach rests on the following beliefs:
- All children come to school with a quest to understand their experiences; all children want to learn.
- School is life, and teachers and students should experience their time in school as real life rather than seeing these two as separate and unrelated spheres.
- Students construct their own knowledge but also need teachers to facilitate and guide this process.
- Students have diverse strengths, weaknesses, interests, and backgrounds, and capitalizing on these differences enables students to learn from each other and to grow as individuals.
- Students learn best when they have a positive self esteem and sense of purpose.
- Students learn through a mixture of first-hand observation, hands-on experience, systematic instruction, and personal reflection.
- Teaching and learning are interactive processes.
- Social and emotional skills are as important as academic skills and knowledge.
- Classrooms are flexible learning spaces that support and adapt to student needs.