Institute for 21st Century Education
The Discovery Learning Model for Early Childhood Education is grounded in the belief that each child has an inborn joy of discovery and love of learning. Because the early years provide a unique opportunity for exploration and discovery, we celebrate the joy of learning in the moment as well as looking forward to a lifetime of growth.
A dedication to inquiry and innovation is at the heart of Discovery Learning. Interwoven with every aspect of our curriculum is a respect for the child, for the family and for the greater community, as well as an awareness that building positive, collaborative relationships is integral to the learning process, impacting not only the school years, but the years beyond.
The importance of fostering creative expression in the early years is integral to the Discovery Learning model. The classroom environment is designed to stimulate exploration and discovery as the children share questions, offer solutions and expand ideas.
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Autonomy: The First Steps
Learning through Discovery
A natural move toward autonomy is apparent from birth. Babies explore the environment with remarkable focus and perseverance, and toddlers literally run away to make new discoveries. As children become more social in their interactions with the world, they begin to incorporate peer relationships in this ongoing journey toward independence.
The move toward autonomy is complex and multifaceted. A stimulating environment, supportive adults and the opportunity to interact in a community of peers are all fundamental elements in helping children to develop the tools and skills necessary for negotiating the challenges along the way.
The early years at school can provide consistent support for the young child who is engaged in ever-widening forays outside the safety net of home and family. With the right preparation and encouragement from teachers, along with a social environment designed to stimulate exploration and discovery, the classroom becomes a microcosm of the world that awaits.
The following areas broadly define the spectrum of development essential for healthy autonomy: