Project Approach

Plato Academy fosters a constructivist learning environment based on Piaget and Vygotsky. Our curriculum is process as well as content. In accordance with best practices, teachers awaken in students a need and desire to figure things out by facilitating in-depth exploration of projects of interest for all ages. Critical thinking is valued over rote learning. Education at Plato Academy takes place within a strong classroom community. Social and academic understanding, meaning and knowledge are explored and constructed through negotiation and dialogue with the guidance of the teacher.

The Project Approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, reflect, and more. This kind of authentic learning extends beyond the classroom to each student’s home, community, nation, and the world. It essentially makes learning the stuff of real life and children active participants in and shapers of their worlds.

The Project Approach refers to a set of teaching strategies that enable teachers to guide students through in-depth studies of real-world topics. Projects have a complex but flexible framework within which teaching and learning are seen as interactive processes. When teachers implement the Approach successfully, students feel highly motivated and actively involved in their own learning, leading them to produce high-quality work and to grow as individuals and collaborators.

A project, by definition, is an in-depth investigation of a real-world topic worthy of a student’s attention and effort. The study may be carried out with an entire class or with small groups of students—most often at the preschool, elementary, and middle school levels. Projects typically do not constitute the whole educational program; instead, teachers use them alongside systematic instruction and as a means of achieving curricular goals. (from the Project Approach website)