Early Years Education

Project-based learning in early years education: why is it so important?

Project-based learning is an educational approach in which children learn by actively engaging in hands-on projects. Children work on a project over an extended period of time, typically several days or weeks. The goal of the project is for children to learn new concepts and skills by applying them to the project, rather than simply learning about them through adult-led teaching sessions. Exploring the environment and encouraging investigation of their surroundings is a core element of the approach.

This past Autumn Term, we have been exploring themes of Light and Shadows in all aspects of learning. For instance, using shadow puppetry we brought stories to life as a group. The project was led by the children, their ideas, creations, and explanations of what they were doing were captured and used in a communal exhibition.

Storytelling using shadow puppetry, which was put together as a group project by the children (Autumn Term, 2022)

In early years settings, project-based learning is particularly important because it helps young children develop a range of important skills and capabilities. These may include critical thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as creativity, collaboration, communication, and self-regulation. Project-based learning can also help young children develop a sense of curiosity and a desire to learn, as they are able to explore their interests in a meaningful way.

This type of learning can be especially effective in early years education because it allows children to learn in a way that is meaningful and relevant to their own lives and experiences. This can make learning more engaging and enjoyable, which can help to improve children’s motivation and attention. Additionally, because project-based learning is often hands-on and experiential, it can help young children develop important physical skills, such as fine motor skills and coordination.

Overall, project-based learning is an important approach to education in the early years because it helps children develop a range of important skills and capabilities that will serve them well throughout their lives. It is a mode of learning that is embedded within our hybrid educational approach at Alphablocks Nursery School, and uses many elements of Reggio Emilia pedagogy.