Discovery is pleased to offer an assortment of enrichment classes that help supplement our core programming. Please explore our offerings to get a more in depth review of what each program has to offer.
- Art Education
- World Languages
- Physical Education
- STEM at Discovery
- Ecoliteracy & Youth Philanthrophy
Toddler art curriculum focuses on four areas: Fine Motor Skills, Exploring Textures, Movement/Dramatic Play, and Creative Expression. Each area is explored for three to four sessions before moving onto the next. Emphasis is placed on process and sensory experience as toddlers engage in self-directed play with materials. Each Toddler Art class meets once a month in the Toddler classrooms.
Kindergarten art focuses on four areas: Recognizing Colors, Art Techniques, Exploring Textures, and Puppetry. Students are exposed to a variety of art-making materials including paint, watercolor, oil pastels, chalks, and more. Students are encouraged to engage in exploration and imaginative play with materials. Kindergarten Art meets once a week in the STEaM classroom.
Foundational Elementary art focuses on integrating with the classroom IB curriculum to allow opportunities for students to make art connections across disciplines. Students engage in art projects that support the lessons in their FE classrooms as well as in other enrichments. Projects encourage students to make art with various materials and tools to explore personal interests, questions, and curiosity.
Lower Elementary art focuses on integrating with the classroom IB curriculum with added opportunities for collaborative small-group projects. Student projects support material being learned in their LE classrooms as well as in other enrichments. Students are given more opportunities to apply their knowledge of art-making tools/technologies to investigate their personal ideas.
Upper Elementary art focuses on integrating with the classroom IB curriculum with further opportunities for small-group work and independent studies. Students explore larger-scale art projects as well as service-learning projects. Students are encouraged to brainstorm multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem. Emphasis is placed on creating artwork that is meaningful and has a purpose for the students.
Middle School art focuses on integrating with classroom curriculum and engages students in art projects that encourage innovation and risk-taking. Students work both individually and in small groups while developing persistence with methods and materials for design and art-making. MS Art also focuses on developing students' ability to reflect and explain important information about their personal artwork.
An important part of the IB Program is to foster “International Mindedness” and to promote a love for language learning. Students learn to appreciate and better understand other cultures by studying their language and traditions. Having access to different languages provides students with access to different perspectives, thereby enriching their personal development and facilitating international-mindedness. In order to develop multicultural awareness and gain a global perspective, students study two World Languages at The Discovery School: Spanish and Japanese.
Spanish is taught to the Kindergarten, Foundational Elementary, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary classes. These classes occur once a week for Kindergarten for 30 minutes, and twice a week for Foundational Elementary for 45 minutes. Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary meet 5 times a week for 30 minutes.
Japanese is also taught once a week for 45 minutes at the Foundational Elementary, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary levels.
Spanish Learner Outcomes
The Spanish Language program goal at The Discovery School is for students to acquire the Spanish language rather than learn about it. During class, the teacher speaks in Spanish 90% of the time, but this language is sheltered and supported with visuals and gestures to ensure full comprehension. Students read and create stories, sing songs, explore culture, talk about their lives, watch short videos, and play games, all as vehicles to deliver Spanish that they understand. Throughout the year students’ vocabulary will grow and develop, and they will acquire the language naturally rather than memorize it and study its grammar. The Spanish Language program also strives to make meaningful connections to the IB themes and line of inquiry being studied in each class level whenever applicable.
Kindergarten Spanish curriculum has a foundation from The PBS Spanish Learning Program for Children called SALSA. In each SALSA video, scaffolded vocabulary, cultural concepts, and language structures are introduced by fun characters in recognizable storylines. Each episode’s concepts and structures are reinforced and practiced with stories and songs that highlight similar content.
Foundational Elementary Spanish curriculum has the platform from The PBS animated video series, Oh Noah. In each of these videos, that are designed to teach Spanish to children between the ages of 6 and 8, a language misunderstanding leads to a comical misadventure. Each episode’s vocabulary, cultural concepts, and language structures are reinforced and practiced with stories and songs that highlight similar content. Students are challenged to retell these stories through guided discussion, and eventually will create alternate endings and original stories.
Lower Elementary Spanish curriculum uses the base of Señor Wooly (songs and music videos for Spanish language learners), and the short story series for young Spanish language learners, El Ratón Pablito. Very specific target language structures and vocabulary are introduced and provide many opportunities for practice and acquisition in each music video and short story. To ensure variety, and exposure to these target structures in different contexts, the curriculum also includes authentic music, short video clips, and Hispanic culture investigations, all of which serve as vehicles for hearing Spanish that the students understand and will eventually acquire.
Upper Elementary Spanish uses the foundation of the beginning chapters of the comprehension based curriculum, SOMOS. SOMOS lessons are designed to provide students with vast amounts of comprehensible input through reading, storytelling, film, discussion, and music. The curriculum is supplemented by Señor Wooly songs and music videos, a class reader (designed for beginning Spanish language learners), authentic music, short video clips, and Hispanic culture investigations. These serve as vehicles for hearing Spanish that the students understand and will eventually acquire.
The Middle School Spanish program will complete the Level 1 SOMOS curriculum over the course of seventh and eighth grade. SOMOS lessons are designed to provide students with vast amounts of comprehensible input through reading, storytelling, film, discussion, and music. The curriculum is supplemented by Señor Wooly songs and music videos, a class reader (designed for beginning Spanish language learners), authentic music, short video clips, and Hispanic culture investigations. These resources serve as vehicles for hearing Spanish that the students understand and will eventually acquire.
The Kindergarten framework focuses on movement, which is a vital part of the core content for all students. It is the basis for developing, expanding, and refining children’s range of motor skills and awareness. Students will experience a wide variety of applications of fundamental movements that are learned through various instructional tools, collaborative games in addition to traditional sports.
Students in Foundational Elementary will focus on primary and complex movement patterns. They will improve on their physical fitness, and begin to develop their throwing, catching, and striking skills. Through various competitive sports, they will build upon their personal and social growth development as well as become more aware of healthy lifestyle choices.
Students in Lower Elementary will build upon their basic and complex movement patterns. They will improve their physical fitness levels, and continue developing their throwing, catching, and striking skills. Through various competitive sports, they will learn about sportsmanship and fair play. Their personal and social growth development will continue to mature, and they will become more responsible for making healthy lifestyle choices.
Students in Upper Elementary will use their fundamental movement skills through multiple team sports. The expectation of physical fitness grows significantly as they will be expected to be in better shape. Their throwing, catching, and striking skills are becoming more proficient and accurate. They will become leaders and display appropriate sportsmanship and fair play. Personal and social growth development will continue to mature, and students will take ownership of their lifestyle choices, with their health in mind.
Students in Middle School will continue to demonstrate their fundamental movement skills throughout all team sports. Physical fitness will play a vital role in daily life. Their development of spatial awareness and mental understanding of the game improves. Their leadership and sportsmanship of fair play are evident at all times. They will be responsible for choosing their teams, running their classes at times, and troubleshooting any frustrations together as a group with the teacher watching from a distance. Personal and social growth development will continue to mature, and students will take ownership of their lifestyle choices, with their health and hygiene in mind.
The Discovery School students are encouraged to be critical and effective thinkers, makers, and communicators by reading diverse and engaging books available in the school library. Students are provided the opportunity to check out and read a variety of fiction, nonfiction, and picture books, with those resources promoting reading for learning and personal enjoyment. To deepen their understanding of the world, students explore various month-long literary-themed events including Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Poetry Month.
Toddlers are encouraged to be attentive listeners through the reading of age-appropriate fiction, non-fiction, and picture books. Students explore literary themes throughout the year that reflect seasonal topics as well as promote Montessori themes used in the classroom: peace, independence, and exploration.
Primary students are encouraged to be critical and attentive listeners through the promotion and reading of selected picture books. The literary themes mirror the Montessori themes and International Baccalaureate Units of Study used in the classroom. In addition, students learn about the proper care of books.
Kindergarten students explore literary themes throughout the school year during library class to enhance classroom International Baccalaureate themes. Students demonstrate an understanding of new concepts through group discussions, projects, and class exercises.
Foundational Elementary students explore a variety of literary themes that support the International Baccalaureate Units of Study presented in their classes. Students demonstrate skill acquisition through presentations and projects, and demonstrate conceptual understanding through discussions and projects.
Lower Elementary students explore literary themes throughout the school year that enhance the International Baccalaureate units they are studying in the classroom. Library classes empower students to confidently and successfully utilize technology by promoting effective use of educational technologies and creating awareness of Digital Citizenship and Internet Safety. Students demonstrate skill acquisition through presentations, projects, and discussions.
Upper Elementary students explore library resources through a variety of fiction and nonfiction books, and explore literary themes throughout the school year that are related to the themes they are discussing and learning about in their classes. Library classes empower students to confidently and successfully utilize technology by promoting effective use of educational technologies and creating awareness of Digital Citizenship, Internet Safety, and scholarly research guidelines. Students demonstrate their skill acquisition through presentations and projects.
Middle School students are empowered to confidently and successfully utilize technology by promoting effective use of educational technologies and by modeling effective Digital Citizenship. Internet Safety and scholarly research guidelines are emphasized. Students demonstrate skill acquisition and conceptual understanding through presentations and projects.
The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program at Discovery is designed to leverage technology in the service of great education. The technology that is utilized may be high tech, such as programmable robots, or it might be low tech, such as shaping wood with hand and power tools.
The goal of STEM is to provide an opportunity for all students to be proficient in working within the STEM 4.0 framework utilizing their skills to find solutions to real-world problems. Students will employ Microsoft Hacking STEM kits, OzoBot EVOs, Lego We Do 2.0 kits, field experiences, and data collection in order to collaboratively work through the engineering design process toward solutions.
Toddlers will experience the world of STEM by interacting with their environment highlighting the involvement of science in their lives. They will explore the concept of buoyancy during the floaty things lab followed by a wind power experience with wings and sails. Additionally, students will have some fun with Rube Goldberg machines and the elementary physics concepts of simple machines and force/motion.
Kindergarten students will be able to collaborate, problem solve, and test possible solutions. They will also learn to use the engineering design process to improve their creations. Once students have mastered the design process, paper airplane, bridge building, and tower building challenges will allow students to demonstrate their understanding and have fun while doing it.
Foundational Elementary students will experience a variety of contexts within the world of STEM ranging from STEM in Sports and Robotics to Engineering Design challenges. Students will be asked to think in a collaborative, transdisciplinary mindset in order to grow in their understanding and development.
Lower Elementary students will dive into the disciplines of coding, STEM in Sports, Engineering Design, and problem-solving while successfully completing engineering challenges and learning through play.
Upper Elementary students will be able to effectively utilize data, the engineering design process, and collaborative learning to solve real-world problems. The course will also integrate core classroom topics of study into problem-based learning while challenging students to design and refine solutions. They will also discover how science allows us to enjoy the many modern amenities we now have.
Middle school students will enjoy a student inquiry led transdisciplinary STEM course. Students will participate in engineering challenges based on expressed interests and grounded in real-world problem-solving. Students will utilize the engineering design process and collaborative learning to engage in activities that allow them to effectively employ prior knowledge in an effort to create solutions. Microsoft Hacking STEM projects and Teacher generated activities along with Lego We Do 2.0 will provide a platform for this exploration of STEM principles and best practices
At Discovery, we believe that music is an effective, engaging, and rewarding way to practice executive functioning, social-emotional interactions, motor skill, communication skill, inclusiveness, and impulse control.
In Primary, students listen to music and begin to learn about the musicians while discussing and identifying the instruments they hear. Students also have a chance to interact with the music by dancing and coloring pictures. This adds a physical and visual aspect of the music.
In Kindergarten, students listen to music and begin to learn about the musicians while discussing and identifying the instruments they hear. Students begin to play percussion instruments, learn how to hold and play the ukulele, and sing with different dynamics.
In Foundational Elementary, students begin to learn basic music theory and apply it to the playing of instruments such as ukuleles, guitars, pianos, drums, and percussion. This will help Foundational Elementary students get acquainted with different musical styles, instruments, techniques, and concepts.
In Lower Elementary, the focus of music instruction is for students to learn basic music theory and apply it to real instruments such as ukuleles, guitars, pianos, drums, and percussion. Through the exposure and study of a variety of different instruments, students will have the ability to make an informed decision about the instrument they would like to play when they reach Upper Elementary.
In Upper Elementary, students engage in detailed discussions about a variety of genres and the work of specific musicians. Also, students will study music theory and apply it to the instruments of their choice. Students coordinate their efforts to create a fully-functioning band that writes, records, and performs music. The music the students play is a mixture of cover songs and original material.
The focus of music instruction at the Middle School level is to have in-depth studies of music theory and appreciation and apply these concepts to create musical content that reflects the students' creative ideas. Students collaborate and produce musical content of their choice. The music the students play is a mixture of cover songs and original material.
Ecoliteracy and sustainability are a central part of The Discovery’s School heritage and will play an exciting part in its future. Ecoliteracy is founded on the integration of emotional, social, and ecological intelligence. These principles support and bolster the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program’s mission of creating a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.
Nine years ago The Discovery School launched a Youth Philanthropy initiative to advance our mission of cultivating young people who are responsible, courageous world citizens. We defined Youth Philanthropy (YP) as the donation of time, energy, or resources by children and youth towards philanthropic causes. Youth Philanthropy educates young people about social change in order to identify community problems and design the most appropriate solutions. To date, the Youth Philanthropy programs have raised over $10,000 for our conservation partners. This successful program has been presented at state, regional, and national professional conferences.
- Rainforest Alliance
In 2010, with the support and guidance of Leigh Weaver, Discovery launched a pilot program with the Rainforest Alliance to integrate their conservation curriculum throughout the Primary and Elementary programs. This partnership with the Rainforest Alliance provided a unique opportunity for our students to be engaged with an international organization focused on sustainable practices around the world. The curriculum brought hands-on real world experiences to the students. It ignited a passion in the students to further explore and understand the challenges that face our planet. It provided them the opportunity to see themselves as true agents of change.
This partnership also created an avenue for Discovery to present to the executive director of the American Montessori Society in the summer of 2012 about the potential to create a national curriculum partner.
- Rainforest Alliance
- White Oak
By partnering with White Oak Conservation Center, Discovery is able to bring students face-to-face with some of the world’s most endangered species and the people working to save them. By using one species as a focal point, White Oak and Discovery are able to engage students in learning about ecosystems and cultures across the globe in places like Kenya, Nepal, and Colombia. This year elementary students produced a promotional video in Spanish about an endangered bird species, which is being used by a Colombian non-profit to raise awareness in schools in the species’ home range.
- White Oak
- Jacksonville Zoo and Manatee Conservation
In 2014, Discovery partnered with the Jacksonville Zoo to help conserve a local species, the manatee. Students raised money for the zoo’s proposed Manatee Critical Care Center, and were the only school invited to participate in the release of a rehabilitated manatee into the Trout River. Move forward to February 2017 and Discovery students were granted the honor of leading the parade and ceremony for the grand opening of the Critical Care Center.
- Jacksonville Zoo and Manatee Conservation
Change, if it is to be long lasting, cannot simply be imposed on a system, such as a school or community. And education for sustainability requires more than merely introducing one more program. It must pervade the school and move outward into the community. We launched the Eco Action Team in 2016 to encourage student and staff leadership in pervading the school with an ecological ethos. Every Friday 14 elementary students and six faculty team-members meet to take part in the National Wildlife Federation’s Eco-Schools program. This global program engages students, faculty, and community volunteers in comprehensive, environmental-based program to improve student environmental literacy and skills. Schools themselves become greener and cleaner through student led projects.
Green Apple Day of Service
In 2018, Discovery partnered with Haskell to participate in the Green Apple Day of Service. This day is meant to unite communities to transform schools into safe, healthy, and sustainable learning environments. Volunteers came together to transform our playing field into an outdoor learning center, complete with a wooden learning pod and a variety of different gardens. This day of service was an opportunity to give students hands-on-experience with sustainability, strengthening environmental literacy, project management skills, and civic leadership.
Successful place-based programs involve students as participants in the life of their communities. With construction of a new community accessible learning space the gardens, forest, wetlands, technology, and Discovery staff will be more easily shared with the greater Jacksonville community. Significant community opportunities exist at the intersection of STEaM and sustainability, an emerging discipline called Green STEaM. These programs connect children’s innate curiosity about the natural world with innovation in STEaM, and the proposed Discovery learning space is the perfect place for that connection to ignite/emerge.
- University of Florida Partnership
Lauren Watkins, a PhD student at the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation, is proposing an opportunity for The Discovery School to be involved in a long-term research project in collaboration with UF and White Oak Conservation Foundation. The project would assess the efficacy of students’ exposure to conservation science curricula over a several year period. The project will investigate if the students, and potentially parents and teachers, adopt environmentally responsible behaviors and increase environmental literacy through repeated exposure to science in partnership with informal educational institutions. This project will also focus on building capacity of teachers, female students and families through interdisciplinary, problem-based learning approaches that take an adaptive and holistic approach to integrating science learning into the student's overall learning experience.