Discovery International School

Learning through play, the natural way!

Discovery International School

Discovery programs are inspired by the Early Learning Centers of Reggio Emilia, Italy, widely recognized as world leaders in early childhood education. For ESL students, our approach to second language instruction is informed by socio-cultural theory and Krashen’s theory of comprehensible input.

Learning spaces at Discovery are carefully designed to provide a warm, home-like atmosphere that promotes curiosity, social play, and risk-taking. Our walls host authentic displays of students' works and words, and photographs of students at work.

Discovery teachers are committed to ongoing professional learning about who children are, ways children comprehend, and how teachers can best attend to each child's inquiries and growth. We assist children toward independence in expressing thoughts and emotions, forging positive social relationships, and finding answers to personally relevant questions.

Always, the child's voice is the center of attention.

Play and Integrated Projects

Play project at Discovery International School
Building a house at DIS

Social play is the foundation of learning experiences at Discovery International School. Interests, questions, and conflicts that arise during play inform the content and length of subject-integrated learning projects. A project might arise when children notice that a new family of birds has nested outside our doors; when children discover remarkable properties of shadow and light in the park; when children dispute over how best to construct a block highway; or when children can be seen to benefit from exploring various ways to express emotions.

Building towers at Discovery International School

Projects often involve a small group of children, and project planning is negotiated among teachers and children who are involved. We also invite and welcome parent participation! Project work is documented as it progresses, encouraging children and teachers to reflect on personal growth and new directions of learning. Documentation also provides families with a clear portrait of school pursuits in the children’s own words. A project might last days, weeks, or months, depending on the sustained interest of the children.

In everyday experiences, academic content is rarely utilized in isolation. In real situations, people combine pertinent skills and knowledge of literacy, maths, sciences, and social studies. The combination is contextual—relevant to the true matter at hand—and this is true for children as well as adults.

At Discovery, play-initiated learning projects naturally integrate relevant content and skills from academic subjects. This allows children to internalize new skills and knowledge contextually, which is of tremendously greater benefit than separated subject-content lessons (arithmetic time, phonics time, etc).

Language Development

Language is acquired proficiently when children have a strong personal desire to communicate thoughts and feelings, without fear of mistakes. Children at Discovery are encouraged to communicate through multiple 'languages': speech, drawing, sculpting, dancing, doing, more. Whether a native speaker or beginner to English, children at Discovery joyfully realize that their own thinking is what matters most.

Craft time at Discovery International School Painting the window at DIS!

Daily English focus lessons are scheduled for second language learners, where they learn useful phrases for social participation, and are taught vocabulary and grammar specific to project work and play. Second language learning is connected to real, relevant experiences, allowing children to rapidly and naturally retain new language.

Literacy and Maths

Math at Discovery International School

Director, Finbar Burke, reading with a student at DIS

Literacy learning is a developmental process. Therefore, instruction needs to encourage developmental growth individually. At Discovery, children first learn to love 'reading' books and experimenting with early writing. Read-alouds in groups and one-to-one occur throughout the day, focusing on comprehension, prediction, story extension, story creation, dramatization, practical uses of books and writing, rhyme and rhythm, and much more. Teachers assist children individually in developing knowledge of letter-sound relationships, initial and end sound word recognition, word families, high frequency words, print conventions, and much more. Literacy skills are meaningfully integrated into all project work.

Mathematics are also naturally integrated into many projects: measuring, comparing, sorting, classifying, graphing, counting, mapping, and much more. Numeracy and math concepts are further explored through games, music, and play materials.

Music, Art, and Physical Education

Dancing at Discovery! Children love art projects at DIS Physical Education at Discovery International School

At Discovery, children are encouraged to freely explore with art and music materials: paints, pastels, clay, fabrics, beads, instruments, microphones, and more. Teachers model techniques and usage of tools, encouraging children to use the arts to communicate ideas and emotions. Children learn to reflect on and revise artistic works in order to achieve clarity of expression.

Physical health affects brain development, emotions, the ability to concentrate, and many other areas of growth. At Discovery, time is regularly scheduled for outdoor play. Indoors, we provide plentiful free-choice play and pursue music and movement activities daily. Personal safety and health are always top priorities.

Art, Music, and Physical Education are purposefully integrated into many learning projects.


Day Preschool Program

After Investigators (After School, Elementary)

After Grads (After School for Native/Near-fluent Speakers, Elementary)

Children at Discovery International School in Nagoya Discovery international School in Nagoya, Japan Discovery international School sitemap Email DIS

International English Preschool & After School
Inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach
Licensed Early Childhood Educators
Located just east of Nagoya in Nagakute City
Tel: 0561-63-1222 Fax: 0561-58-7333
2-701 Katahira, Nagakute City, Aichi, Japan 480-1146

Discovery International School
is certified as a child care center
by the Aichi Prefectural government./p>