The Discovery School Curriculum is the result of many years of dedication and hard work, and evolves with the needs of the children. Based on our conviction that learning is a vital, active process that involves the child on many cognitive levels and through all sensory modalities, our curriculum incorporates the Unit Topic Approach. The objective of the Unit Approach is to present facts, skills and concepts in a multi-dimensional, meaningful way. Learning is most effective when the topics are directly related to the child’s interests, involve their senses, allow for diversity, are enriched by materials and resources within the learning environment, and include activities that nurture his quest for information about himself and his world.
Within a well-organized framework, teachers develop curriculum topics that are based on, and expand, children’s natural curiosity and interests. Younger age groups explore topics that are concrete and familiar, while older groups delve into more abstract, complex themes. Phonemes (letters and letter sounds) are introduced in conjunction with units of study so that planned activities reinforce the letter or topic. Facts, skills and concepts are presented through active learning such as center activities, field trips, books, art activities, cooking and special projects. In this multi-dimensional approach, each child is able to gain information in the way he learns best. The Discovery School curriculum is designed to engage children in their learning and to elicit an active response from each child. Our curriculum is an ongoing spiral, where each new activity builds on previously gained skills and knowledge.
The Discovery School Curriculum addresses all developmental domains – social emotional, language and communication, literacy (reading and writing), mathematics, science, social studies, fine arts, physical development and technology. A Developmental Checklist has been developed for each age group that identifies basic skill progression and developmental landmarks within these domains. Using this information, teachers can choose activities that are developmentally appropriate for children of various ages and skill levels. Portfolio collections of work samples, rubrics, and other assessment tools are also used to document growth and development and to determine individual educational plans. Other forms of assessment and evaluation may include photographing the child demonstrating a skill or developmental stage, Teacher narratives and anecdotal records.
As an authentic reflection of our educational philosophy, the curriculum is integrated into a daily schedule that provides a balance of teacher led/child initiated, active/quiet, whole group/ small group/ 1:1/ individual, and inside/ outside activities. The schedule also allows time for transitions, resource classes and snack and/or meals.