Featured Project: Investigating Jellyfish

Children love sharing their discoveries from visiting the ocean with their families. One day, the children began talking about the jellyfish they had seen.

This sparked an interest with many of the children, so we began asking them what they knew and wanted to learn about these creatures.

We started our learning by observing photographs and diagrams. We began to study the different parts of the jellyfish with a particular interest in their stinging tentacles.

To create their individual jellyfish, the children collected natural materials such as clear plastic tops, twine and bubble wrap. They incorporated the bell, mouth, oral arms and tentacles.

One of the students remarked, “I want a neon jellyfish!” So, he chose to paint his bell with fluorescent paint to ensure his jellyfish could be seen in the deep, dark ocean.

The children utilized their fine motor skills and vocabulary as they drew jellyfish using oil pastels. Another student observed that “the jellyfish needs water to live.” So, the children painted over their drawing with liquid watercolors to create a drifting or wandering jellyfish in the ocean.

The children were fascinated with the jellyfish and their many colors. They are so proud of their miraculous masterpieces!

Featured Teacher: Susan Hodges | Lead Teacher | Venning Road

Formally a coordinator with Lexington Medical Child Development Center in Columbia, South Carolina, Susan moved to the Charleston area around six years ago.

She had read about Children’s Discovery Center in Parents magazine and decided to apply for a position as a lead teacher. Once she became a part of the team, she felt right at home.

“The environment and staff were so welcoming,” said Susan. “The overall atmosphere was warm and conducive to children learning and I wanted to be a part of the team.”

One of her favorite aspects of working at Children’s Discovery Center is the Reggio approach. She values the opportunity to listen and observe the children to see what their interests are each day.

“Discovering what makes them tick, what they find interesting and what they love to explore is the best part.”

Additionally, she appreciates that the children are part of the process of co-constructing knowledge and shared understanding with each other. Susan loves seeing their faces light up as they explore and learn.

“My biggest reward is the relationship with the children and their families as well as partnering with them to provide the best possible care.”

When she’s not busy exploring with her students, Susan enjoys shopping and spending time with her grandchildren. In addition to the children at Children’s Discovery Center, Susan says her grandchildren “are priceless and bring such joy to my heart.”

Featured Project: Examining Fingerprints

While investigating their skin tones, the Preschool B class began discussing the many other factors that make us different. For example, how we all have different eye colors, hair texture and fingerprints.

Fingerprints quickly became the focus of the lesson because of how interested the children were and the many questions they came up with regarding fingerprints.

The Preschool B class then began to examine and create their own fingerprints. They practiced illustrating and using different art materials to create fingerprints. They even painted them using the art mediums we created to match our different skin tones.

Overall, this project has become a celebration of multiculturalism and we cannot wait to see where our class’s curiosity leads us next!

Featured Teacher: Shauntel Foreman | Pre-school B Lead Teacher | Park West

For as long as she can remember, Shauntel knew she wanted to work with children. She began substitute teaching for Children’s Discovery Center while she was still in college and officially joined the team after graduation — and she hasn’t looked back since!

“Working here was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said Shauntel.

Her favorite part about working at Children’s Discovery Center is when she arrives at her classroom in the morning and her students immediately run up to her and give her hugs.

Shauntel loves the opportunity to incorporate natural materials that her students can get right outside the classroom and see what they can do with them. Letting their imagination run wild is especially fun for her.

In addition to using natural materials, Shauntel enjoys using music in her lessons, too.

“My assistant Ms. Alecia has a beautiful voice, and while preparing lunch, Ms. Alecia will take what we did during morning meeting and turn it into a song. The kids love it and sing along.”

A Charleston native, Shauntel enjoys trying new restaurants and spending time with her family in her spare time. She is a firm believer that “if life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade — make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.”