Nursery, Preschool, Kindergarten
Always, the child's voice is the center of attention.
As an emergent program, much of our curriculum arises as an extension and enhancement of the play and social interactions of each group of children–we call these Learning Projects. In addition, children at Discovery learn essential early skills in literacy and maths, and enjoy plentiful pursuits in art, music, physical education, and play!
Our learning spaces have been specially designed to provide a safe and warm ‘home away from home’ that promotes curiosity, social interaction, and self-expression. Our walls host authentic displays of children’s works and words, so that children, teachers, and families may celebrate and reflect on shared learning and play experiences.
Discovery programs are inspired by the Early Learning Centers of Reggio Emilia, Italy, widely recognized as world leaders in early childhood education.
Social interaction is the foundation of learning experiences. Inquiries and excitement, along with confusion and conflict arise in the course of children’s interactions. These inform teachers of ways to help children develop learning projects around themes and topics of strong personal interest. A project might arise when children notice that a new family of birds has nested outside our doors; when children discover remarkable properties of shadow and light in the park; when children wonder aloud about how houses are built. From children’s expressions at play, teachers and children construct much of our curriculum.
High motivation occurs naturally when children are encouraged to learn deeply about matters of personal interest, which eases the acquisition of new concepts and skills. Most importantly, our Learning Projects promote critical thinking: Learning how to pose questions and how to find answers.
Inidividualized Literacy Instruction
At Discovery, we recognize that children develop literacy skills at various paces. Our youngest students first learn to enjoy stories and books and to experiment with early writing. Story work occurs in groups and one-to-one throughout the day, focusing on comprehension, prediction, story creation, dramatization, rhyme and rhythm, phonics and word families, high frequency words, print conventions, and much more. As a child gains personal knowledge in these areas, teachers craft individualized plans for each child to continue the acquisition of new reading and writing skills.
Measuring, comparing, sorting, classifying, graphing, counting, mapping, addition… We help make these concepts concrete by manipulating objects: seashells and stones, color blocks, pattern blocks, measuring tools, graphs, etc. Math concepts are further explored through games, music, and play materials.
Literacy and Maths are integrated into children’s Learning Projects, as well!
At Discovery, children are encouraged to freely explore with art and music materials: paints, pastels, clay, fabrics, beads, instruments, microphones, and more. Teachers model techniques and usage of tools, encouraging children to use the arts to communicate ideas and emotions. Children learn to reflect on and revise artistic works in order to achieve clarity of expression.
Physical health affects brain development, emotions, the ability to concentrate, and many other areas of growth. At Discovery, time is regularly scheduled for outdoor play and instructional physical education. Indoors, we provide plentiful time for movement activities and free-choice play. Personal safety and health are always our top priorities.
Art, Music, and Physical Education are integrated into Learning Projects, as well!
Language is acquired proficiently when children have a strong personal desire to communicate thoughts and feelings, without fear of mistakes. Children at Discovery are encouraged to communicate through multiple ‘languages’: speech, drawing, sculpting, dancing, doing, more. Whether a native speaker or beginner to English, children at Discovery joyfully realize that their own feelings, thoughts, and expressions are what matters most.
Learners of English as a second language are provided with instruction to build upon initial phrases for daily school life. Second language learning is connected to real, relevant experiences, allowing children to rapidly and naturally retain new vocabulary and language structures.