Project-based learning involves teaching through engaging topics that allow the integration of meaningful learning in all content areas while also supporting development across multiple domains.
Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) utilizes the "Investigations" curriculum. The curriculum was developed by CFDRC teachers and administrators in partnership with Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith. The curriculum is centered around engaging projects—called “investigations”—on topics that are selected by children, teachers, and families. As children investigate a topic in learning centers, small collaborative groups, whole group activities, movement and music experiences, outdoor observation, or field trips, they acquire critical competencies identified in the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards and the standards of national professional organizations. Read more about the Investigations curriculum.
Each video in the Investigating series captures one topic of investigation explored at the CFDRC. Videos include interviews with preschool and toddler teachers about how children engaged in literacy, math, science, art, and other activities through the three- or four-month investigation.
When children get excited about something, adults can build on that interest to engage children in a meaningful, longer term learning experience. In this "Reflections from the Field" video, Sydney Rodriguez describes how children in her preschool classroom got excited about the idea of forming a band and performing for the entire center. She explains how she built on that interest by engaging children in a series of connected learning experiences, leading up to a culminating performance. She also reflects on the amount of time required to fully engage the children in all the steps of the process, and on the importance of regularly incorporating music into early childhood classrooms.
After a four-month classroom investigation on the properties and uses of different types of wings, children in Eastern’s Child and Family Development Resource Center created a Wings Museum to exhibit what they had learned. In this "CECE News Report," teachers discuss how children acquired background knowledge on wings, used it to create the exhibit, and invited their peers from other classrooms to learn from their experiences.