Education Director: Betsy McArdle

IMG_1396Education director Betsy McArdle learned about Children’s Discovery Center while researching schools for her own daughter.

“It was the overall feel and commitment to an inquiry-based learning model that led us to immediately enroll our daughter,” she says. Since then, she’s watched the center grow and evolve.

“The environment was always so welcoming, so when there was an opportunity for me to become a part of the team, I jumped on it!”  A public school educator for 12 years, Betsy has worked in general, special education and administration settings in four different states. An early childhood educator for Ohio’s Lakota Local School District, she was part of a team that visited Italy to gain experience with the Reggio framework.

“It was the start of a journey to learn these practices and strive to implement inquiry-based learning into every learning environment I was a part of, including with my own children. The encouragement of students to become investigators, risk-takers and communicators is why I’m so invested in growing this approach.”

In her new position, Betsy ensures lesson plans support state standards and incorporates National Association for the Education of Young Children best practices and behavior management strategies.

“I collaborate with teachers to plan Reggio-inspired projects and aid in creating aesthetically pleasing learning environments. In the classroom, I coach and model teaching techniques. I’m involved with both the Mt. Pleasant and Ohio campuses, so I share plans and ideas from center to center.”

With two children now attending the center, she is thrilled with the care, love and support they receive.

Exploring Pumpkins Inside and Out: Pre-Toddler D

Screen Shot 2014-11-20 at 2.50.51 PMThe children explored with pumpkins in many different ways. They explored through their sense of touch by feeling the outside and insides of a pumpkin. They smelled the inside of the pumpkin. They even painted with pumpkins and orange paint. They used their curiosity while exploring and I learned a lot about how they use their minds to explore.

I placed pumpkins of different sizes around the classroom. Some children sat on the pumpkins while others rolled them across the floor. One child collected pumpkins by placing them one at a time into a basket, counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. A few toddlers picked up a small pumpkin and dropped it on the floor as if it was a ball. Some kicked and banged the pumpkins on the table. While exploring the inside of the pumpkin, the children were skeptical at first. They didn’t seem interested until one child walked over to look at the pumpkin with curiosity. Quietly observing, I wondered what would happen next. They all started peering into the pumpkin, putting their hands inside. They discovered pumpkin seeds and began to pick the seeds from the squishy flesh.

The children also painted pumpkins on paper using paintbrushes and fingers. I placed pumpkins on the table to remind them how a pumpkin looks. It allowed them to visually connect the color and shape of their drawings with the actual pumpkin.