About Us » Our Program
What makes us different
Discovery School takes a different approach to learning, one designed to foster academic and social success and establish self-esteem and good study skills in students with learning difficulties. We are a Category 1 Independent school, receiving 50% of our funding from the Provincial Government. We teach B.C. core curriculum, providing vision training, motor training, auditory perceptual training, cognitive therapy, social skills sessions, counselling and speech therapy as needed.
Our students are people with generally average to above average intelligence in grades 1-10, who have different learning styles. They have the capacity to learn, but are not achieving their potential, and have often struggled in conventional class settings because their school, parents and even they themselves have not understood that they learn differently. Because of this, school has been discouraging and frustrating for them.
Many students at Discovery School have been diagnosed with dyslexia or other language processing issues. Only certified education specialists and/or psychologists can make this diagnosis.
|If students show any of the following difficulties,
our approach may help.
||Poor comprehension, inability to follow instructions
||Problems with recall and order
||Reading below grade level, lack of oral fluency, poor comprehension
||Unusual difficulty copying notes
||Poor sentence and paragraph structure, difficulty organizing thoughts onto paper
||Inconsistent spelling, omitted syllables
||Insistence on printing, lack of progress
||Difficulty finding the word for an idea
||Confusing operations, procedures, and sequencing
||Loses track of possessions and assignments, can’t complete tasks efficiently or thoroughly or within a reasonable time, can’t always sequence spoken or written thoughts.
Positive, nurturing atmosphere. Improved academic skills.
The main focus of our program is to build academic skills in a positive, nurturing atmosphere. We set up an Individual Education Plan for each student, and allow each student to work at his or her own level and pace in their academic, adapted, or modified special education program. Although Science, Social Studies, P.E., Art, Computer Education, Business Education and Drama are important to our curriculum, we place considerable emphasis on the core skills of Math and English. Emphasis is also placed on developing self-esteem, organization skills, work habits and strategies training.
Unlike some schools, which adopt a single teaching technique and use it for every student, we believe it is important to have many techniques and teaching styles in our repertoire. We keep up to date and well trained in a number of teaching programs and methods, and match the right program or method to the individual student’s learning styles and needs.
Each year we accept a limited number of students, grouping them into very low ratio classes of like ages. Standardized testing and close monitoring help us assess areas of strength and weakness. We are then able to modify our teaching style, environment and materials to capitalize on strengths and improve weaknesses. Two special education consultants on staff provide individual assistance with perceptual difficulties, motor skills and academics.
We have large, bright, attractively decorated classrooms, and a timetable and daily schedule like regular classrooms, with time for each subject, recess and lunch. Students go on many academic and physical education field trips, and participate in swimming, aqua sport, skating, gymnastics, camp and curling programmes.
Our program is different because we offer:
Extremely small classes: Our school has a low student/teacher ratio. Students are placed in classes with others of the same age, where they work on individual subjects at their own grade level.
Comprehensive assessment, placement and monitoring: We use school, health and academic history; hearing, vision, speech and motor skills testing; academic, medical and psychological evaluation to help place children, and we monitor their progress daily.
Individualized programs, school-wide structure: Each student works at their own pace, but within a school environment structured to optimize learning and skill development. We develop an individual educational program plan for each student, emphasizing areas of focus in academics, work and study skills and personal development.
Intensive learning assistance: We offer vision training, fine and gross motor therapy, standardized testing, tutoring, language development assistance, and remedial instruction on a one to one basis.
Spiritual and emotional growth: Ours is a caring and loving environment that helps students develop social skills and self-confidence and grow personally and spiritually. Our Health and Planning course incorporates our school’s Christian philosophy and includes many proven programs that help students become aware of their personal strengths and areas of difficulty, while helping them develop coping strategies to deal appropriately with problem areas. We guide students through personal goal setting and development of personal responsibility. As they develop confidence and a sense of competence in academic subjects, their self-esteem improves.
Strategy training: Strategy training is emphasized throughout the students' day. This includes focusing on developing attention, homework, organization, memorization, test taking, and note-taking skills, as well as skills in decoding, comprehension, writing, and math.
Moderate intervention: For students who qualify, we offer moderate intervention programs including speech, language and social skills assistance, cognitive, occupational and physiotherapy, counselling, and student educational assistants.
Adapted and modified programming based on BC’s curriculum: We base individual programs on the BC curriculum, tailoring them with adaptations and modifications that address the specific needs of each child.
Computer education: Many of our students have difficulty expressing their ideas in writing, because of a lack of organizational ability, poor spelling and grammar and/or physical difficulties with the motor skills required to write legibly. We teach all students writing strategies to overcome these challenges, but all students also receive weekly times of dedicated computer skills training, using assistive technology where needed. They begin with keyboarding skills and work towards proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software applications and adaptive technology. We have class sets of neoboards and a variety of writing and mind mapping software. Students have the opportunity to complete essays and reports on a computer, using adaptive technology when needed. For computer lessons the current ratio is 4 or 6 students to 1 teacher. With 4 to 6 desktop computers in each classroom, and a set of school-based laptops, and a computer lab, any student who can benefit from the use of a computer or neoboard has easy access to one. The school has also begun equipping classrooms with smartboards.
Please note: We are mandated to accept students whose main difficulty is a specific learning disability. We are not equipped to work with children who have severe intellectual, psychological, physical or behavioural difficulties that interfere with classroom management.