Who We Are

Dr. Sylvia C. Chard is Professor Emeritus of Early Childhood Education at the University of Alberta, Canada. Dr. Chard has worked at the University of Alberta since 1989, where she served for seven years as director of the laboratory school, the Child Study Centre, in the Department of Elementary Education. She taught at various levels in schools in England—from preschool through high school—and she completed her M.Ed. and Ph.D. at the University of Illinois. For the past twenty years, Dr. Chard has traveled worldwide helping teachers and school systems implement project-based learning in the classroom. Each summer, she and her colleague, Lilian Katz, offer a four-day institute on the Project Approach at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Chard and Dr. Katz recently developed a group of international educators, known as the Project Approach Teacher Education Network (PATEN) and discussed below, to help train future generations of teachers to successfully use project work. Read more about Lilian Katz.

Project Approach Teacher Educator Network (PATEN)

PATEN is a group of educators committed to and experienced in implementing the Project Approach with learners of all ages in a variety of settings. Our group members collaborate with educators worldwide by supporting and developing the work of Drs. Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard. We offer general support and guidance, project feedback, and site visits. Many of our members also serve as consultants and provide more formal services, such as training workshops and in-services. We invite you to contact us and look forward to hearing from you.

Member Profiles

Kathy Bartelmay

Lower School Curriculum Director (preschool – 4th grade)
Duke School (Durham, NC)
kathy.bartelmay@dukeschool.org

Kathy is the curriculum director at Duke School, an independent school that first implemented the Project Approach in 1996. Dr. Chard has worked with Kathy and faculty members on an ongoing basis, and Kathy continues this work with teachers in Durham and surrounding areas. Teachers and college students also visit Duke School for on-site staff development.

Sallee Beneke

Associate Professor
University of Illinois
sbeneke2@illinois.edu

Sallee is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in ECE at St Ambrose University, Iowa. She used the Project Approach as a teacher and has worked to build the implementation of the approach in Illinois since 1996. She has been a member of the Illinois Project Group Leadership Team since its inception, and she co-founded the Projects in Practice trainings, Web site, and listserv with Lilian Katz. She and Lilian have also trained teachers for Illinois Preschool for All through the Great Expectations Institutes.

Cathy Hargrove

Master Practitioner / Coach / 4th-grade Teacher / Consultant
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township
Harrison Hill School of Inquiry
cathyhargrove@msdlt.k12.in.us

Cathy is currently co-teaching in a 4th grade all boys classroom in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township. She is also employed part-time at Butler University in the College of Education. She facilitates courses in the Early/Middle Childhood program, which include Early Childhood Curriculum, Literacy and Language in Early Childhood, and Problems in the Teaching of Reading.

Barb Gallick

Team Teacher / Consultant
Illinois State University Child Care Center (Normal, IL)
bagalli@ilstu.edu

Barb has worked as a team teacher in the Illinois State University Child Care Center since 1986. She has used the Project Approach in her 3 to 5-year-old mixed-age classroom since 1993. She has also been a member of the Illinois Project Group Leadership Team for many years.

Sandy Gillespie

Head of Lower School
Duke School (Durham, NC)
sandy.gillespie@dukeschool.org

Sandy is the head of the lower school at Duke School, an independent school that first implemented the Project Approach in 1996. Sandy works with other administrators and teachers in developing and implementing the Project Approach in a preschool through fourth-grade program. Sandy can offer an administrator’s perspective on creating a school curriculum that uses the Project Approach; she can also offer ideas about classroom logistics and facilities.

Yvonne Kogan

Early Childhood Principal / Consultant
Eton School (Mexico City, Mexico)
kogan.yvonne@gmail.com

Yvonne is the principal of the Early Childhood and Early Elementary (1st through 3rd grades) Departments of Eton School in Mexico City, a school that has been working with the Project Approach for more than eight years. In her own school, she combines project work with the Reggio-inspired philosophy and with the Conscious Discipline program. In other settings, she has helped teachers and administrators understand, develop, and implement the Project Approach in their classrooms and as school-wide programs. Yvonne is bilingual and able to conduct workshops in English and Spanish.

Xiaowei Liu

Principal / Consultant
Pioneer Education School (Chengdu, Sichuan, China)
xianfengedu@qq.com

Xiaowei organized and conducted the first Project Approach Workshop in China with Dr. Sylvia Chard in and has been providing training and consulting for kindergarten teachers in Beijing and Sichuan areas. He is currently working on the book about the practice of Project Approach in China.

Candy Mabry

Early Childhood Educator/Preschool Head Teacher/Consultant
Children’s Day School (San Francisco, California)
candymabry@yahoo.com

An early childhood educator since 1984, Candy began implementing the Project Approach in 2000. She has successfully used this teaching method in both pre-K (2-year-old and mixed-age classes) and kindergarten. As a mentor teacher and assistant head of school, she has helped numerous colleagues apply the Project Approach to pre-K through elementary classrooms. Candy also does parent education about the Project Approach.

Wendy McLeish

Lecturer / Consultant
Buffalo State College (Buffalo, NY)
mcleisw@buffalostate.edu

Wendy is an early childhood instructor who works with pre-service and in-service teachers on understanding and implementing the Project Approach with children in preschool through third grade. She has coached teachers in the Buffalo area. Wendy previously taught students in grades preschool to high school.

Junli Linda Niu

Lecturer / Consultant
Beijing Early Childhood Pioneer Education Center
niu.linda@gmail.com

Junli is a postgraduate in physical and psychological development of children at Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Junli is an early childhood lecturer who works with pre-service and in-service teachers on understanding and implementing the Project Approach with children. Junli is a member of the China Project Group Leadership Team. She facilitates and conducts the Project Approach Workshops bilingually in English and Chinese.

Erika Radford

Project Coach
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township (Indianapolis, IN)
erikaradford@msdlt.k12.in.us

Erika serves with Natalie Stewart as a district coach for Lawrence Township, a public school system in which the Project Approach is implemented district wide. They help teachers understand, develop, and implement the Project Approach in classrooms K-8th grade.

Jo Sigmund

josigmund@comcast.net

Jo Sigmund has a Master’s Degree in Education, along with over 20 years of experience in the field. She is passionate about education, and this is reflected in her wide variety of experiences. In 2003, she co-founded The Emerson School, a Project Approach k-5 public charter school located Portland, Oregon. She has worked with children of all ages, from early childhood through middle-school. She has also been an instructor of education courses at the college level, has conducted many workshops and classes on the implementation of Project Approach, and was the executive director of a Project Approach pre-school.

Natalie Stewart

Project Coach
Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township (Indianapolis, IN)
nataliestewart@msdlt.k12.in.us

Natalie serves with Erika Radford as a district coach for Lawrence Township, a public school system in which the Project Approach is implemented district wide. They help teachers understand, develop, and implement the Project Approach in classrooms K-8th grade.

Bingyue Yao

Instructor / Senior Consultant
Early Education Institute, Beijing Academy of Educational Sciences
yao@0-3-6.com

Bingyue Yao is a senior consultant on early childhood art education in Beijing, China. She created the Ecological Art Education Program and has been leading this program in preschools in Beijing area since 1997. She taught at various levels in schools from pre-K through normal college students in Beijing. She is the head of the China Project Group Leadership Team, which promotes the Project Approach through Beijing to Sichuan and Inner Mongolia areas. Bingyue has organized and conducted the Project Approach seminars and in preschools in China with Dr. Chard since 2001.