PS-3 Discovery

Play is the underpinning foundation of all learning in preschool. Teachers set up an environment of purposeful learning centers and activities. For young children, play is their work. Each Discovery class is taught by a certified early childhood teacher and an assistant. Children also visit a certified music teacher each day for music and movement. There is a half day or full day option with carpool pickups available at noon and 3:00 p.m. The Southfield Extended Day program is available until 5:30 p.m. and early drop-off is available beginning at 7:30 a.m. Discovery students who use the Extended Day Program remain with familiar teachers and friends. They continue the Discovery experience throughout the afternoon.

Language Arts
The goal of the Discovery Language Arts program is to encourage a love of literature, to enrich and increase vocabulary, to develop a desire for reading, and to provide a supportive environment for the development of written language. We encourage children to express their ideas verbally. Quality children’s literature is a focal point in the classroom and children hear stories often each day. Language experience activities which use children’s words in writing stimulate expressive language. The print-rich environment creates a heightened understanding of language. Children experience weekly visits to the library for story time with the Library Director.

Discovery Mathematics emerges from the interests and curiosity of our youngest children and is implemented in a hands-on approach. Teachers facilitate and guide activities of children as they explore materials and develop understandings of patterning, sorting, classifying, measuring, comparing, and graphing. Children learn to predict and verbalize their findings. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills develop as a part of this discovery process. Children use these concrete experiences to extend their mathematical skills and conceptual thinking.

Discovery Science is integrated into each thematic unit of the curriculum. Children learn concepts by participating in hands-on activities which emphasize discovery, experimentation, and natural curiosity. Our students develop a beginning understanding of making predictions, weather and temperature, measurement, geography, the senses, plant life, animal life, magnetism, and seasons. They enjoy making science a part of their daily experience and indulging their natural inclination to understand the world around them.

Social Studies
The Discovery Social Studies curriculum introduces children to society and cultures through children’s literature, cooking, projects, art activities, globes, and maps. Children study Ancient Africa and participate in the school-wide Civilization Fair. They enjoy dramatic role-playing in classroom centers and attend monthly school-wide Flag Ceremonies. Teachers plan activities which introduce community helpers, holidays around the world, and guests who share family traditions and job skills with the class.

Technology in the Discovery classrooms includes the use of balances, scales, measuring implements and audio players. Children learn to use this equipment in ways that are developmentally appropriate and support the thematic curriculum. Due to the overwhelming availability of digital media outside the classroom, we focus on hands-on experiences while at school. We understand that technology for young children should enhance both cognitive and social abilities, and we encourage them to work together on these activities. Use of passive media such as television or DVDs is extremely rare and limited to developmentally appropriate programming.

Discovery students visit a certified music specialist each day to learn music, dance, and movement. They use instruments, learn songs and finger-plays, and develop listening skills. Teachers use music and movement daily to reinforce learning themes in the classroom. Children also experience the “composer of the month” program which exposes them to a study of classical composers with the Southfield Orchestra Director.

Discovery students use dramatic play as an outlet for their vivid imaginations and as a primary way of understanding the world around them. They also learn to play cooperatively, share and negotiate with friends. We encourage children to use language to express feelings and ideas. Dramatic play areas are in each classroom and include puppets, dress-up clothing, home living areas, and other drama props. Children also participate in holiday programs and the schoolwide Civilization Fair.

Discovery teachers provide concrete, sensory art experiences that introduce children to colors, shapes, and textures. Children have daily opportunities to create art from their ideas, emotions, and imagination. We emphasize the importance of the art process rather than the product and encourage children to experiment with various media and art forms. Children talk about their work and describe their thoughts, establishing a concrete connection between art and experience. They develop better small and large motor coordination and delight in their success.

Physical Education
Discovery classes play outside each day on our large and engaging Playground which includes climbing structures, swings, slides, sand play, water play, a play house, and a path for riding toys. They also use the preschool courtyard to extend large and small motor play opportunities during the fall and spring. Music classes emphasize movement daily, and teachers plan classroom experiences to strengthen large and small muscles and teach body awareness.