First published in ACCESS Summer 2017 magazine
Learning from each other : Inter-grade Projects in Primary School
Going beyond the classroom and learning together with pupils of different ages opens new perspectives. Inter-grade learning not only develops curious minds but also supports social development. Taking others into consideration, recognising strengths and cooperating to achieve common goals are social skills learned in interdisciplinary projects.
Each school year, a different project lasting from one week up to a few months, is offered to Primary School children at DISDH. Children learn from and with each other. Subjects including Art, Science and History form the basis for the various projects. Children choose which area of the project interests them most and work in groups, fostering independent learning.
For the project “Medieval Times – Knights and Castles”, children met weekly to learn about the structural building of castles, the daily lives of knights, the foods prepared, the games played by children as well as the clothing and jewellery worn at the time. They also learned about medieval cities and were given the chance to try out handicrafts popular in the Middle Ages and build their own fortresses.
During the project “Great Masters – Young Artists”, school lessons were put on hold and the world of painting grasped the attention of pupils as they learned about different artists including Henri Matisse, Keith Haring and Piet Mondrian. They studied the styles, the colours and the emotions portrayed in the paintings and then employed the various techniques themselves letting their creativity take reign.
“The Four Elements – Fire, Water, Earth and Air” was a project geared toward the science-minded. The children experimented, documented and marvelled at natural phenomena applying a hands-on approach to discovering the world around them. They learned about fire itself as well as its mystical presence in fairytales. They studied the properties of water, finding out how it flows and freezes and how objects float. They looked at earth and its resources considering the importance of the environment and gave thought to how air plays a part in everyday life.
Over the years, inter-grade projects have covered an array of themes and have encouraged young pupils to challenge their imagination and go beyond their limits to test new ground. They have grown, learned and developed, and that is the success of Project Days at DISDH.