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Our Philosophy

The philosophy of education and pedagogy of Discovery Place reflects our dedication to what is

acknowledged as best practice in early childhood education. Our view is based on the belief that children

are active researchers of their world. Children construct and co-construct knowledge, and this knowledge is reinforced through self-expression and reflection. This philosophy of learning stems from the legacy of constructivist, social-constructivist, and systems thinking theories of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky, and Jerome Bruner. More recently the work of Howard Gardner, Loris Malaguzzi, Carlina  Rinaldi and others influence the field of early childhood development.


Curriculum Design

The Discovery Place curriculum is informed by accepted research and theory based on predictable principles of development. The program uses a developmentally appropriate, emergent, and multi-dimensional curriculum design for in-depth, integrated learning. Areas of content which align with local, state, and national standards include: self esteem, autonomy, social/emotional, cultural, literacy, language, critical thinking, math, science and nature, humanities, motor skills, health and fitness, and self-expression (through art, music, movement, and drama).

The Reggio Inspired Approach

Influenced by the distinguished schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, our curriculum is designed to display this inspiration. In Reggio Emilia, Italy, each child is believed to be naturally creative, competent, and full of potential. Educators are encouraged to utilize research-based ideology where theory informs practice and practice informs theory. Fundamental principals of this approach include:


  • Close observation of children’s work and the expression of ideas, thus allowing the teacher to document the learning process. This documentation is reflected upon to interpret and convey the child’s thinking.  

  • Child-centered, in-depth project work where children learn through interaction with multi-age peers, adults, and materials.

  • Teachers who work in harmony with staff, parents, and children while engaging in continuous negotiations and interpretations of their work and the work of children to build theoretical foundations. 

  • An environment that is a “third teacher” where design, organization, and use of space and materials supports individual, group, and negotiated learning. 

  • Parents who are valued partners who play an active part in their children’s learning experiences.


Discovery Place admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, national origin (ancestry), and disability to all rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, veteran status or sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies and other school-administered programs. 

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