Red Deer Catholic School Board introduces new Pre-K program

Play-based discovery for early learning in Red Deer

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools launched the Discovery School pilot-program in January as a part of the Pre-Kindergarten program being run in the clubhouse of River Bend Golf and Recreation area.

“It’s an inquiry-based program that we’re using with a Reggio Emilia approach to it, teachers and educational assistants really get to see it in action with their students,” said Suzy Potts, coordinator of early learning with Red Deer Catholic Schools who pitched the idea for the pilot project to the school board.

Discovery School has a unique play-based learning space, along with access to the Discovery Canyon playground and the forest areas to interact with nature and wildlife.

The approach comes out of Italy and focuses on natural materials and helping kids become community-minded. Students play with open-ended objects from nature or the real world like kitchen utensils, rather than single purpose plastic toys.

The philosophy is that this encourages creativity, curiosity and discovery.

“It was a good fit so we got that ball going—I’ve really enjoyed it; this is usually a pretty quiet place in the winter-time and it’s a lot more fun now,” said Brian Miller, general manager of River Bend Golf and Recreation Area.

The chef at River Bend makes snacks for the children and they get to use real dishes to eat off and then clean them in the industrial kitchen afterward.

“It’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen,” Potts said.

“Spills are going to happen but that’s how you’re going to learn that’s how to take care of things. It gives them that kind of real world approach to things.”

This year each of the 12 pre-K classes in the City will get to come out to the Red Deer Golf Course for a week-long field trip.

The response from parents and teachers has overwhelmingly supportive of the initiative, said Potts.

If the pilot is a success, they hope to expand to a full-year program next year and include Kindergarten class and rural schools.

“Our division and early learning has been moving towards a playful learning model for our littlest ones in the division,” she said.

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer to host WHL Bantam Draft and WHL Awards

Hockey Alberta also working to host 2019 Alberta Cup to create a new hockey festival

Alberta Professional Chuckwagon & Chariot Association back for Westerner Days

Association back as organization for Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships

City rejects $50,000 rent supplement for Asooahum Crossing

Council will advocate provincial, federal governments for sustainable funding

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Series launches Feb. 22nd in the Nickle Studios

Three one-acts already sold out, full-length June production is in the works

WATCH: New Habitat for Humanity builds in Red Deer launched

Organization has 130 families on the waiting list for new homes

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BC Wine Institute to take legal action against Alberta

The BC Wine Institute to seek injunction to protect B.C. wineries from Alberta wine ban

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Canada wins gold in men’s ski cross

Leman earns redemption with ski cross gold; Homan out early

Trump says more must be done to protect children

In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump indicated he wants to strengthen the background check system, but offered no specifics.

Evangelist Billy Graham has died at 99

Graham died Wednesday morning at his home in Montreat, North Carolina.

Canadians capture bronze in women’s bobsled event

Canadians Humphries, George take bronze in women’s bobsled event at Olympics

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence