Discovery School Daily Experiences

Daily activities are designed based on the children’s interests using an emergent curriculum model and designed to nurture social and emotional development by maximizing opportunities for collaboration and encouraging pro-social behavior. Teachers use documentation of children’s learning, reflective teaching practices and observations of children’s work in the program to guide decision making around curriculum.

Children and educators will create a community of learning together as they engage in art, science, music, and literacy activities. We have an outdoor area for the exclusive use of children in the program, but we will also take daily field trips to play in the Museum exhibits and go on outdoor adventures around Fort Baker.

Weekdays when the Museum is closed to the public, children enrolled in the program will have exclusive use of the exhibitions.

Observation, Documentation & Evaluation

Observation is performed to learn more about the children and adults who visit in order to assess their prior knowledge and skills, to better adapt our programs to suit their needs, and to understand the impact of our work.

Documentation is used as a tool for recording observations and to “make children’s learning visible” through photographs, wall displays and communications collateral.

We reflect on what we have learned through observation and subsequent documentation and employ formal evaluation strategies such as surveys and behavioral coding in order to measure the success of our programs.

We will never evaluate or assess children in terms of whether they are meeting certain criteria, though we may study their behavior in order to evaluate our own teaching practices or to inform our overall understanding of how to nurture creativity in the best way.

When children are playing in Museum exhibitions, Discovery School teachers will supervise children’s play and support their social skills. More often than not, teachers will abstain from participating in children’s play while in exhibitions unless children invite them to participate or need scaffolding to play with other children. We feel that one of the most important gifts we can offer children here is the experience of child-directed play. Teachers will use these opportunities to gather documentation and observe children’s behavior.

We are inspired by best practices in the field of early childhood education such as Constructivist theory, Bank Street College, the Reggio Emilia approach, and Bev Bos at Roseville Community Preschool. Our peers in the informal learning community—The Portland Children’s Museum Opal School, The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Preschool and the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center—have served as crucial inspiration in the development of this program.

Typical Daily Schedule

9 - 9:10 a.m. Arrival

9:10 - 9:30 a.m. Classroom Open Exploration 

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. Morning Gathering

9:45 - 10:30 a.m.. Small Groups and Project Work

10:30 - 11 a.m. Story and Snack

11 a.m. - 12 p.m. Outside Adventures

12 - 12:45 p.m. Lunch

12:45 – 1 p.m. Group Reflections and Dismissal 

Please note this is a basic outline of our daily routine. We find it important to be flexible to honor the ever changing needs of the children. 

Alternate Daily Schedule (As Per Licensing Regulations):

9 - 9:15 a.m. Arrival

9:15 - 10:15 a.m

  • Group 1: Classroom Play and Project Work
  • Group 2: Outdoor Play

9:45 – 10:15 a.m. Bathrooms

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Snack

10:30 – 11:30 a.m

  • Group 1: Outdoor Play
  • Group 2: Classroom Play and Project Work

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Group Meeting

12 – 12:45 p.m. Lunch

12:45 – 1 p.m. Closing Rituals and Dismissal

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