Creative Curriculum and the Project Approach provide the framework of Discovery’s curriculum, which is aligned with the Illinois Early Learning Standards.
Creative Curriculum highlights developmentally appropriate practice, meaning children learn through “hands on” experiences. Materials, activities, and the subject matter are appropriate to the age, abilities, and interests of the children. There are numerous learning opportunities each day highlighted by center time, large group learning experiences, small group activity, and outside fun.
The Project Approach is an adaptation of Reggio-Emilia. Amazing learning takes place as teachers and children research together topics of interest to the class. Classes engage in an in-depth study of their topics. Examples of projects that have developed in classes include castles, trees, bugs, pizza, and pets.
The Three Phases of a Project
Phase 1: Beginning
* Identify potential topic initiated by children.
* Build children’s background knowledge.
* Narrow topic further.
* Help children create a list of questions to investigate.
Phase 2: Investigation
* Collect resources for investigating topic (books, videos, artifacts).
* Help children use resources.
* Arrange to meet with experts on topic.
* Arrange field site visits.
* Note new questions.
* Help children record and represent what they’ve learned.
Phase 3: Culmination
* Guide children to reflect on what they’ve learned.
* List what children know now.
* Help children find a way to share their learning (make a book, give a presentation, visit another class).
Harris Helm, Judy. “Best Brains in Science Under Five: Helping Children Develop Intentionality.” Child Care ExchangeJanuary/February 2009:50-52.
A typical day for the children at Discovery:
* Creative Arts
* Sensory Play
* Cognitive Development
* Fine Motor Development
* Gross Motor Development
Although our program is very flexible, there is a great deal of structure involved in our preparation of the learning environment. Parents are often eager to have their children learn their academics. Academics are stressed through the integration of all subjects together. Throughout the course of a day, teacher initiated activities will be conducted through both large and small group activities that are tailored to meet the needs and interests of the children.
We believe that learning should be a joyful experience. We hope to give your child a good start in this direction!
Children are assessed during the year through observation notes, portfolio samples, and a development report of skills, concepts, and preferences. Two parent-teacher conferences are conducted each year to discuss the child’s progress. Portfolios are maintained, and a written report is given to parents at the end of the year conference.