Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 339-346

First online:

The Negotiated Project Approach: Project-Based Learning without Leaving the Standards Behind

  • Sascha MitchellAffiliated withSan Diego State University Email author 
  • , Teresa S. FoulgerAffiliated withArizona State University
  • , Keith WetzelAffiliated withArizona State University
  • , Chris RathkeyAffiliated withVision Learning, LLC

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The purpose this study was to explore how a veteran first-grade teacher collaboratively negotiated the implementation of a project with her students while, at the same time, addressed grade-level standards. Researchers investigated the teacher’s strategies for integrating the district’s standards into project topics, investigative activities, and final presentations. They also examined the teacher’s strategies for promoting students’ participation in project planning and independent problem-solving. Data sources included field notes, teacher interviews, videotaped observations, and transcribed teacher, and student interviews. As an extension to teacher-directed approaches to implementing the project approach, the results of this study revealed a collaborative approach to implementing projects that allowed the teacher and the students to work together for project planning and learning. The teacher felt successful with meeting grade level learning needs, and the students were given the opportunity to fuel their learning by expressing their natural interests and curiosities, and become problem solvers.


Early childhood Project approach Standards