First Impressions

A first visit to the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center will reveal:

  • The lack of rows of desks in classrooms
  • The transparent nature of the classroom; what is being worked on is reported and recorded for all to see.
  • The sharing of experiences through display and demonstration
  • Classrooms are called “Discoveries”
  • Students work collaboratively
  • More than one thing goes on at a time in any Discovery
  • The Art/Library/Experiment areas are called Studios and Labs
  • Fluid traffic through hallways as students move from one experience to the next
  • Teachers working in pairs and teams

A second visit will reveal:

  • A high level of parent involvement in projects within the classroom as well as for the school in general
  • Multiple languages are spoken and used in daily school life
  • Stable and long term teachers who are committed to the school
  • An emerging and creative structure of the business of “school” that allows and encourages the Discoveries to function with autonomy and equality
  • A variety of tools to encourage shared information
  • Evidence of a CDC culture

Further visits reveal:

  • Happy kids
  • Invested teachers and administrators

– Mary Witte