Journey of Discovery
The Journey of Discovery is simply a chosen theme that the students and teachers delve into together. The Journey begins as the students work together to choose a topic to explore. It is a consensus-based process that involves patience and listening. Once the Journey has been chosen, the students ask questions and decide what aspects of the theme they want to pursue. They stay with the Journey only as long as it piques their interests, which so far has been anywhere from one week to three months.
Examples of past Journeys: animals and humans, a play, dinosaurs, electricity, ancient Egypt, simple machines, Awesome Arts, world politics, the forest, the Middle Ages, chemistry, sports & games, space, ancient Greece, building & mechanics, and Body/Mind/Spirit.
Some of the skills that may be learned in a Journey:
* Communication skills: recording, discussing, inviting, presenting, analyzing, and wondering.
* Planning skills with scheduling and mapping
* Observation skills with all of the senses
* Quantitative applications
* Recording skills through artistic and written expression
* Reading and information gathering
* Collaboration skills
These are the critical skills that we find valuable in our ever-changing world. In the Journey of Discovery, the teachers work alongside the students: guiding, observing, and asking questions themselves. There is no predetermined outcome to the Journey, and thus the students' and teachers' Journey experience is truly collaborative and full of diligent work and learning.
The Journey of Discovery is similar to two other models of curriculum design. One is Project Based Learning (PBL), a public school initiative, and the other is the Reggio Emilia approach, a whole school reform that began in Italy. Woodland's Journeys are similar to PBL and Reggio Emilia in that the Journey is the core of the curriculum. The learning in all three revolves around the project, and as a result learning happens within a context. Both PBL and Reggio Emilia are also successful educational models.