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The Discovery Center

775 South Maple Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

(734) 663-7496


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

The program of The Discovery Center is designed to enhance the development of each child. Children are encouraged to explore "discovery centers" set up by staff throughout the classroom and to participate in a full range of opportunities throughout the day. Children explore their interests individually, or in small groups, as well as the daily large groups that are planned.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • monthly professional story teller, songs, and music, print rich environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • sorting, counting materials, number games, a wide variety of materials available
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • a wide variety of materials available
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • cd's music collections, monthly visit by a musician
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • a wide variety of materials available
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • an indoor large motor playspace with a wide variety of materials
Other subjects taught Spanish is introduced on a weekly basis by an enrichment instructor.

From the Director:

The Discovery Center promotes the development of the following characteristics in each child: curiosity, independence, self-confidence, adaptability, creativity, physical, social and intellectual awareness, acceptance of others, self-control, cooperation, trust, verbal ability, world awareness. Hands on experience, with the guidance from highly trained staff is essential. Small groups, large groups, active and relective learning take place regularly.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Large and small group experiences are presented daily. Each child's individual learning styles and needs are taken into consideration when planning activities and experiences.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Every individual is unique and develops best when his/her uniqueness is respected. Young children are in a critical developmental period in which environment plays an important part. The Discovery Center provides an environment where each child is able to approach optimum physical, social, emotional, aesthetic, and intellectual growth. All aspects of development are interrelated and must be treated as such by adults responsible for a child's total individual growth . Secure personal relantionships, creative opportunities for learning and self-expression, and appropriate guidance at each stage of a child's development are essential to The Discovery Center program.

A Typical Day

Arrival and Greeting
Independent and Free Play Choices
Large Motor Room Activities
Group Time
Snack Time
Teacher Directed Activities
Outdoor Play
Story Time
Nap time
Continuing in the afternoon, the schedule includes additional outdoor play, large motor activities, snack time, story time, and independent free play choices.
Preparation for Departure

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We offer two formal conference times each year. A comprehensive evaluation of all areas of a child's development are included. Classrooms provide monthly newsletters, notes home, and other individual meetings for families. There is a monthly school wide newsletter that goes out and a parent reference shelf in the lobby of the center with materials related to the needs of the families and children in our program. Communication is done through day to day, face to face interactions by the staff, and through our center website.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation

Handling Separation: From the Director

Children are required to do at least one 45 minute parent/child visit in their classroom prior to beginning on their regular schedule. While one is required, families can choose to do up to four of these 45 minute visits. Staff is always available to provide support to both the child and parent(s) if having a "difficult separation".