The Daily Iowegian
---- — On March 22, a group of early childhood educators met to attend the Opening Minds to the Project Approach open house. The event was held by the Southeast Iowa Project Group with Kid’s World hosting the meeting. Participants were from Chariton, Centerville, Bloomfield and Ottumwa representing Iowa child care centers and public school prekindergarten programs.
Documentation from projects were displayed by the Kid’s World staff as well as a Head Start staff member. After touring displays of project documentation, the participants came together to discuss next steps.
The educators explained that they found it interesting and rewarding to have the opportunity to talk with others who were implementing project work. The meeting provided a context for those who shared documentation of their work to reflect deeply on their practice.
The group was by formed by Dawn Johnson, statewide voluntary 4-year-old preschool teacher at Kid’s World. Johnson was one of two recipients of the 2013-2014 Leadership Fellowship award from the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. She was recognized at the annual IAEYC conference held last September.
Johnson is working on her Master’s Degree in early childhood education curriculum and instruction at the University of Northern Iowa. Her project was to develop a cohort to support teachers implementing the project approach in southeast Iowa.
Johnson will have a project from her 2013 class published in Dr. Judy Harris Helms’ next book, “Building Mind/Brain Capacity Through Deep Project Work.”
In addition, Johnson will be presenting a session on her “Got Dirt” project at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs on April 26.
Johnson will also be presenting at the annual IAEYC Fall Institute in September.
The Southeast Iowa Project Group is planning events such as professional development and mentoring opportunities to be held in the near future.