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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 1 Toddlers and Projects: Some Definitions What Is a Project? In early childhood programs we use the word project so commonly that we take it for granted. In particular, we use the term art project to describe a wide range of creative experiences. We could be referring to something as simple as finger­ painting or as complicated as a simulated pirate ship. We could mean something that will hang on the wall, hold plants, appear in a performance once or twice, or simply happen in some way and leave nothing behind. But art project is an educational term and a cultural con- The word project has many meanings of inter- cept we pass on to children reflexively, in no small part est to designers of early childhood curricula: to because we remember doing art projects during our own “project” outward, as in asserting your idea or childhoods. speaking up loudly; to get your idea or needs across; to project images on a large surface Our working model of a project typically contains where all can see; to see your feelings in some or all of the following elements: •• Defining Project •• It has a start and a finish. •• It has more than one step. It involves tools. ating, and collaborating. To work on a project to set something in motion and to shape it as It involves a goal or a vision of an outcome. •• undertaking that requires organizing, negoti- means to look forward, to predict outcomes, It involves planning. •• others, or vice versa. A project is a common it evolves and changes, and, perhaps most of all, to express your inner self in visible ways. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 5