Over five years ago, inspired by reading about the Finnish Education system, we introduced termly personal project weeks. The whole point is to enable the children to choose to learn about their own project over the period of a week, planning and presenting it at the end of the week.
Personal project week involves all pupils in Y2‑6. Foundation Stage and Y1 follow a planning in the moment approach to their learning so they have daily opportunities to engage in their own choices.
Each term, we teach the children about a different aspect such as presentation, presenting or research skills which we want them to practise so that they are developing each time. We also re-cap on past skills each time so there is always lots to think about and they are involved in an ongoing process.
We are always astounded by the range of projects that the children choose to study as you can see from the list below. It is also fascinating to watch the process of children initially learning about a favourite football team/famous person/pet to branching out and researching a full range of subjects! More recently, we have encouraged the children to move away from just presenting their work on paper. Instead, we are challenging them to create artefacts too as well as design meals or games, being as creative as possible.
Children love project week and work diligently throughout it. We have never had a child without anything to show at the end of the week, which would itself be a learning point. Instead, they are keen to produce something to show their peers and be proud of. On the final day of the week, the children evaluate their own work and reflect on their week- their planning; what went well; what did not and what do they need to think about next time. They also evaluate other projects both within their own class and those of children in Class 1.
Staff enjoy having regular opportunities to step back and observe the children at work, seeing the skills they are using as well as those that need developing which they build into their teaching. It is a valuable learning process for all involved and it has been one of the best things we have ever introduced.
We are keen that the independent spirit of self study which we introduce in Foundation Stage is allowed to flourish and continue as the children progress through the school. One way is through project weeks but the other way is through ensuring that all topics allow the children opportunities for self study; to ask their own questions and discover the answers for themselves.
Some of the Topics the children chose to research during the Autumn 2021
Titanic /Sloths/Plague/Frogs/Japan/Parrots/Leeds United/Roblox/Anglo- Saxons/The Eighties/Moon/Tanks/SAS Military/Ancient Egypt/Porche/Ariane Grande/Volcanoes/Snakes/Trees/Piano/Fire fighters/Rollercoasters/Steam trains/Japanese Urban Legends/snow
Quite a collection!