Sallee Beneke is professor of early childhood education at St. Ambrose University where she directs the Master’s in Early Childhood Education program. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in inclusive curriculum, child development, early childhood math methods, early childhood science methods, and early childhood social studies methods. Sallee has authored and co-authored several books and many articles on the Project Approach, Inclusion, and Documentation. Her new book, Implementing the Project Approach in Inclusive Early Childhood Classrooms, is coauthored with Dr. Michaelene Ostrosky and Dr. Lilian Katz. It features an Implementation Checklistintended to support teachers who are learning to teach with this approach. Sallee is a consultant on the Project Approach to the Illinois Early Learning Project (https://illinoisearlylearning.org). She is also a blogger for the website, (https://illinoisearlylearning.org/resources/blogs/perspectives/) and co-facilitates the Project Approach Facebook group. Sallee has developed an annual Summer Institute on the Project Approach that draws participants from around the world, and in 2013 she was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Education at the University of Illinois.
Masterclass (Group B)
Learning By Doing: A Project Approach Simulation
Discover the deep and meaningful learning that can take place when both the heart and the mind are engaged. Educators often learn about the Project Approach without truly understanding how to implement it. In this enjoyable and active adult learning experience, Dr. Sallee Beneke will take participants through the process of beginning, implementing, and completing a project. Along the way, Dr. Beneke will share tips and strategies that participants can use to select a topic, create a useful topic web, reflect on past experience with the topic, form questions for exploration, conduct an effective investigation, create representations, and create a culminating report. This process will provide educators who are new to the Project Approach with a meaningful introduction, and it will provide experienced educators with opportunities for discussion and reflection that will deepen their understanding.
“Why Bother?” – Support for Inquiry-Based Learning Experiences for Young Children
Providing for children’s inquiry-based learning experiences can be challenging for teachers. It requires careful observation, active listening, responsive teaching, and imagination to challenge and support each child’s learning. But, is working to engage children in project work really worth the effort? Join Dr. Beneke to explore current research that reveals the benefits of this way of teaching and learning. Examine your own current curriculum methods in light of what is indicated by research findings. Discover strategies and formulate goals for increasing the level of inquiry in your current practice, as described in the new book The Project Approach for All Learners: A Hands-On Guide for Inclusive Early Childhood Classrooms. Dr. Beneke will illustrate her talk with many lively images and examples, including infant-toddler, two-year-old, preschool, and early primary classrooms.
Representing and Sharing Project Work: The Power of Documenting Children’s Learning
As they engage in project work, children represent their learning in a variety of ways, including dramatic play, drawing, painting, sculpture, story-telling, block constructions. Educators can help others to appreciate this learning by documenting it effectively. The audience for this documentation might include families, colleagues, administrators, or the children, themselves. In this session Dr. Beneke will share strategies for effectively documenting and sharing children’s representations to provide a window on their thinking and learning. Identify strategies that can help children to participate in the documentation of their own learning. Explore the many opportunities afforded by the Project Approach for children to create individual and group representations. These representations reflect the learning and development of the individual children involved. Try out strategies for creating and evaluating the quality of documentation displays.