Teachers are saying … Discovery Time is fantastic!
Since you visited us, we have been able to re-write our timetable to allow a full hour and a half session for Discovery Time every fortnight. Teachers are coming up with some brilliant ideas and it has proved to be many teacher’s (and more importantly the children’s) favorite time of the week.
Hi Brenda and Gay,
Discovery Time is up and running at Hampden Street We have just completed our 5th week. The children are engaged, talking and fantastic conversations are happening. The kids love Friday as do the teachers.
The teachers are enthusiastic, share ideas and love the reflective sessions with the children at the end of each session. At this stage we have only purchased 6 Groovy girls. The rest of the equipment we use is what we have or recycled materials. Thanks again for wonderful and inspiring PD. Warmest regards,
Hampden Street School
We’ve seen some real gifts come through that you don’t see in a standard classroom programme. The teachers have been able to write great things in their reports about the successes of some of their under achieving students.
Hi there, In the latter half of this year I came across your Discovery Time book and have used your ideas for some discovery time sessions with my Year 1 class. I intend to implement these more thoroughly in my new entrant class in 2010. When I trained about 8-10 years I worked with a wonderful Year 0/1 teacher in Christchurch who had a great developmental programme – construction, woodwork table, dress ups, water trough, art easel and paint, kitchen area, etc.
When I began teaching, however, it was sad to see that developmental in many primary classrooms had been sidelined, compared with the 1970s and 80s, while the 3Rs and more structured approaches were taking a front seat.
I worry that National Standards will further erode more child-directed learning programmes although it does seem that everyone’s currently on the inquiry band wagon – of which I think is fine and a lot more child-centred than many other teaching and learning approaches. I am so chuffed, however, to have come across your brilliant book, the links to the key competencies and also your interesting blogsite.
Your ideas have renewed my hope that constructivist and socio-cultural approaches are alive and well and that conservative and more traditional methods are far from totally taking over. It’s also great to see Discovery Time being used beyond the junior school.
We are all very excited with how Discovery Time is going. We have seen real improvement in all areas that we have been focussing on – especially the children co-operating and helping each other.
We are seeing heaps of benefits from Discovery Time. Children are organising activities themselves and cooperating and collaborating all the time.
There is an increased love of learning and time to develop relationships – teacher/child, child/child, teacher/parent. We are seeing increased risk taking by children~at their pace and on their terms (often peer encouraged).
Our children are starting to think more logically, trying new things, starting to problem solve, working together and have higher motivation in follow up language activities. For some of the children being able to make a choice of activity has been a big step. They love coming to school on Discovery day.
The children are so eager and can ’t wait. At this stage turn taking and sharing have improved.
Our main joy has been seeing children getting involved, being prepared to try ideas out and talking about what they are learning. It’s been a great way to include little science activities usually relating to our topic and also including activities which require children to follow simple instructions with some independence.
We introduce each session with a focus related to the key competencies. This is a key part of Discovery Time. We discuss what this will look, sound and feel like! We also role play what we would do or say when completing the focus. At the end of the session we spend 15 – 20 mins as a class reflecting on the session.
We are seeing so many benefits from the programme – the children always ask when is Discovery Time and they cheer when I let them know it is today! We have just shifted it to 9.00 on a Friday instead of 11.30 as set up was very difficult after morning tea. Setting up before school works well. The children are transferring their learning to the playground and at other times during the day. I am hearing the key competency focus being discussed at other times. The children are definitely improving their ability to ask others if they can join in and play, also with taking turns. We have so many very ‘young’ 5 years olds that need this time and really benefit from this very important time.
We consider Discovery Time to be a wonderful way of taking the time to develop a variety of skills which the children do not seem to have when they first arrive at school.
We are loving what the children are saying to each other and to us. Their oral language has been enriched. They are also coming up with ideas of what to do next. It is great to have a program that every child can find some benefit from.
Children are taking more control of their own learning. They generate their own learning when the teacher is busy with guided reading/writing and maths groups. Improved self management and social skills especially when interacting with a wide range of age groups. Improved thinking and problem solving skills. Children have a very good understanding of the Key Competencies and the Habits of Mind and just what they have to focus on to improve their learning. We find it is a great way to prepare younger children for the more formal Inquiry Learning.
Development of language, opportunities to practice the key competencies, social skills development, good opportunity for teachers to observe their children, opportunity for teachers to have meaningful dialogue with students on an individual basis, allows time to develop higher order thinking through skillful, deeper questioning by adults, opportunity for learning through play which helps bridge the gap between preschool and school, opportunity for children to discover, explore, be creative and direct their own learning.
Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour