Degreed, experienced teachers, some of whom have been at the center for over 20 years, set up a rich environment, encourage the children’s interests, coach their social skills and keep notes on progress. Additionally, each teacher is a primary care giver to approximately 8 children and spends music, small group and lunch time with her/his children as well as acting as parent contact.
Research has shown that children learn best when activities are child initiated, hands-on, and use all 5 senses. Our environment is carefully structured by the teachers for exploration, discovery and learning. Themes, some of them suggested or chosen by the children, are changed every 2-3 weeks so that there are continuously fresh materials for the children to work with. Pre-school children are allowed to move freely among the rooms and work at their own pace during most of the pre-school session.
Preschool is for toilet-trained children between the ages of 3 and 6 in a mixed age group.
Two 2.5-3 hour pre-school programs, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, are part of an extended day, but children may attend pre-school only as well.
A typical day:
7:30 to 9:00 Breakfast and activity time (extended day).
9:00 Line time, where teachers and children come together to discuss options for the morning.
9:10 to 10:00 All indoor areas are open, independent snack is offered in the art room.
10:00 Brown room closes, outside opens as a large motor choice.
11:00 or 11:30 Music time, followed by small group with child's teacher.
11:30 or 12:00 Lunch followed by nap or rest (extended day).
2:00 to 5:00 Afternoon pre-school follows similar schedule as morning with new activities.
5:00 to 5:30 Free activity time (extended day).
The Blue Room is modified Montessori. The children work individually, in small groups or with a teacher. Many of the materials are Montessori and are arranged for sequential learning, but we also encourage the children to use them in respectful but interesting ways. The areas within the room include geography, language, math, book corner, life skills, blocks, and manipulative materials.
The Science Room is a large sun room with windows on 3 sides and skylights. Using open ended questioning, the teacher presents science experiments and cooking to the children. Independent science projects and a sensorial table are available for the child to work on his/her own. This area also contains a dramatic play area that changes every 3 weeks and generally presents themes related to what the children are studying and might include things such as a hospital, bakery, ethnic home, etc. to expand the child’s knowledge, encourage conversation and broaden social skills.
The Art Room is set up twice a day with a teacher-prepared art project which is designed to encourage creativity while practicing fine motor skills. Additionally, materials and tools are provided for open ended creation as well as easel painting and “messy” life skills. The emphasis in our art is process, not product.
The Brown Room is our gym, a large open space with room to move and build. There is a playhouse with a loft and slide, climber, large soft blocks, tunnel and big blocks. An upper level contains constructive materials such as Duplos, driftwood, stones, and Bristle Blocks as well as transportation toys and animals. A work bench is available for woodworking. Music takes place morning and afternoon in this room.
The Play Yard is a large, fenced ½ acre area set up for year round fun and adventure with many ways for children to interact with and care for nature, practice large motor skills and enhance and foster social skills.
Dear Discovery Center Teachers and Staff, I wanted to say thank you for the years of tender loving care you have given Melonie. Discovery Center seems like family and it will be very difficult to leave.
Under your care, Melonie has grown into a self-reliant, independent person. Her experiences at Discovery Center have given her a head start in school and in her personal relationships with other children.
Thank you! We will miss you!
- Nan Morningstar