Individualized Learning

Here at Discovery Trails, we recognize that children do not learn the same thing, the same way, at the same time. As we develop lesson plans, we take into consideration each child’s strengths and weaknesses. Our goal is to create an environment that inspires successful learning. We encourage personal growth by offering each student the opportunity to take his or her skills to the height of their individual capabilities. We design situations that allow children to be stretched without breaking their spirit and love of learning. Children at Discovery Trails enjoy emotional and academic challenges through interactions with the world around them and through self reflection.

Expeditionary Education

Expeditionary Learning is a curricular idea that promotes critical thinking. By engaging students with in-depth investigation of the subject matter, students enjoy real-world learning experiences. At Discovery Trails, we make learning real for children by either going on field trips, inviting guests to our school, or bringing the subject to class. Expeditionary Learning is an experienced-based curriculum which reinforces that students should be active participants in their own learning. This instills in children the desire to look beyond information given and draw their own conclusions.

High-Quality Learning Experience

Research has shown that a high-quality early learning experience has lasting effects on children. Not only do students perform better in school several years out, but children with a positive learning experience early in life will have lifelong benefits. John Dewey, an American philosopher and educational reformer, once said that children learn best when education is paired with emotions. Children need to have a relationship with the subject matter to remember what is being taught. Experienced-based education offers a sense of realism for students. Hands-on, face to face learning, not only encourages an emotional bond, but helps students to retain information longer. What better emotion to connect with learning than happiness? When children are happy and excited about learning, there is no end to their possibilities.

Thematic Approach to Learning

At Discovery Trails Early Learning Academy, the Thematic Approach to teaching is a means to weave curriculum and integrate subjects within a topic. By connecting different subjects within a theme, the flow of learning is less fragmented and more natural. Themes are used as vehicles to practice skills in language arts, math, social studies, science, creative and dramatic arts, music and any combination of these. Basing activities on the progression of skills, subjects are linked by a common thread, creating interest and excitement. Like the ripples from a stone thrown in water, learning grows and branches out to new content.

Art Center

Art provides children with many opportunities to express creativity, observe cause and effect with a variety of mediums, increase small muscle development, establish eye-hand coordination, discover colors, shapes, sizes, and textures, and to formulate aesthetic appreciation and independent work skills.

Block Center

Designing and creating structures with the blocks helps children with muscle development, eye-hand coordination, conceptual development of size, number, shape, weight, width, and function of the block, and how to work cooperatively with others. Children learn to manipulate objects to create open-ended ideas and formulate problem-solving skills. It is in the block center that children initiate weights, measurements, and comparisons. Unit blocks, Lincoln logs, cars, trucks, people, animals, and theme-related habitats are found in this area. Paper and writing material is readily available to add literary dimensions, implement street signs, or to record measurement amounts.

Computer

Capitalizing upon the children’s fascination with computers makes it fun and interesting for them to familiarize themselves with components and how they work, and develop concepts with variety of programs appropriate for their developmental level. Word processing allows children to explore typing numbers and letters as well as investigate educational games.

Dramatic Play Center

Often the most popular center, this area encourages children to develop creative expression, vocabulary, imagination, role playing, problem solving, social interaction, small muscle control, and eye-hand coordination. Children acquire ways to work through problems by reenacting real life experiences. Dramatic play offers safe and purposeful situations for children to rehearse life skills.

Library Center

Children develop reading readiness skills, build vocabulary, participate in conversation and acquire conceptual development. They begin to identify roles and relationships as they pertain to characters in stories, listen and participate as a member of a group and enjoy listening and recreating narratives. The library area is the place children learn to be receptive to the written word and emergent literacy is the key component. Children's literate acts emerge from their wealth of experience with oral language and their attempts to enter the rewarding world of print. The process of becoming literate is developmental. There is no reader or non-reader, but literacy development starts early and is ongoing on a continuum of increasing competence.

Math and Manipulative Center

Children express creativity with open-ended materials. They match, sort, sequence, seriate and classify materials by color, shape, size, and texture. They improve small muscle development, eye-hand coordination, increase cognitive ability and inherit social skills such as taking turns, sharing materials, cooperating while creating, and joining in play activities. Problem solving and applying acquired information to a new context is exercised in this area. It is here that children begin to understand the concept of numbers and their meaning as it relates to real events and ideas.

Music and Movement

Children experiment with a variety of mediums to increase large motor development. Cooperative games, dances, rhythms, and activities that promote body movement are emphasized. Music is important to the overall atmosphere by creating a vibrant environment of creative thinkers. Research suggests that music may enhance intelligence, academic achievement, self-esteem, and improve self-discipline. It is closely associated with the patterning necessary for math skills.

Science Center

Children explore, experiment, hypothesize, question, discover, and develop concepts using real objects. As discoveries are made, observations are written and connect the importance of literacy skills. Research shows that children learn best through their senses. At the tactile table, children develop sensory awareness with materials such as sand, water, beans, rice, flour, dirt, pasta or oatmeal. They explore and distinguish textures by sifting, pouring, comparing, measuring and experimenting with a variety of materials. This also develops math concepts, weights, and comparisons.

Writing Center

The term emergent literacy is a better descriptor of this area. Writing does not wait for reading; the two are related, each influencing the other in the course of development. The primary role of this area is to introduce and support children’s experimentation with print. Print awareness depends on an environment rich in print. Children begin by scribbling and soon the drawings become more representational. Literacy learning proceeds naturally at this point as children construct their own knowledge into stories and print. Teachers assist children in developing reading and writing abilities by helping them produce narratives to go along with their pictures. Whether it is by modeling writing, encouraging print or spelling phonetically, children learn the power of the written word. This is an active process.

Sample Assessment Reports

You can view our sample assessment reports by clicking on the following links:

Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Assessment
Jr. Kindergarten Assessment
Download the 2009/2010 School Year Brochure.