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Discovery Program

**** Wording and picture copied from Mrs Ditto's website

The Discovery Program is a "multiage program". A multiage classroom is a combination of ages and grades deliberately grouped together for educational benefits. Students stay with the same teacher for 2 years. In this way, the families really get to know the teacher and vice versa and a bond is created. Inherent in theprogram a "learner/leader" relationship is created between the first graders and the kindergartners and is then reversed in the following year. Students in the lower grade can enrich their learning by attending to the material designed for the higher grade, while the students in the higher grade can profit from opportunities to review the material designed for the lower grade. The older students also know the rules or “agreements” of the classroom and are quick to help the newer students learn the “ropes” of how the classroom runs. We encourage students to help each other and to learn together. The classroom is child-centered and theme-based, with integrated curricula where possible. Multiage classrooms develop into “families,” with emphasis on caring, cooperation and collaboration.

The Discovery Program’s goal is to foster lifelong learning through a climate of inclusion and trust. Children are valued for their individual learning styles. Critical thinking is encouraged, with an emphasis on process over product. The Discovery Program reinforces character education utilizing a Tribes-based* teaching philosophy, stressing mutual respect, attentive listening, and appreciation in a community environment. The "Character Traits" (Responsibility, Respect, Self Discipline, etc.) are specifically taught. Character Education is essential to maintaining a highly successful classroom. As the year progresses, you should see evidence of this.

What is Tribes?
Tribes is a democratic group process used to establish a caring environment for cooperative learning, and a structure for positive interaction. In classrooms, the Community Agreements: Attentive Listening, Appreciations/No Put-Downs, The Right to Pass, and Mutual Respect are taught and continually reinforced throughout the school day. As students and teachers use these agreements, inclusion for all members in the group is achieved. This leads to influence, where all individuals value differences, think constructively, make responsible decisions and resolve conflict. As inclusion and influence grow, a positive and effective community of learners is built. The mission of Tribes is to assure the healthy development of every child so that each has the knowledge, skills, and resiliency to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

The Discovery Program has been in existence for 30+ years at Walnut Grove. The Tribes philosophy has been a cornerstone of the program since its inception.

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Discovery Teachers 2011-2012
Mrs. Peters, Mrs. Hilton, Mrs. Dias, Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Kozlow, Mrs. Mercer
Mrs. Kinney, Mrs. Sweeney and Mrs. Ditto with Tilly the dog