Discovery 2.0

Childhood Outdoors

Just over a year ago we set out with the goal of providing a different educational path for our two young boys with Discovery.

We were lucky enough to be joined by Ms Sara – a teacher with a similar vision – as a partner on this adventure, who quickly lead the charge as our Education Program Coordinator.

Although we’ve been relatively quiet of late, the concept for Discovery has undergone many evolutionary steps – some dictated by necessity, and some by a natural change in perspective when diving head first into a challenge.

Ms Sara attended a conference in Finland earlier this year. Revered by many as the epicentre of educational reform, the visit provided us with a much needed insight into how an environment can be created to support the individual growth of each child. Notably, understanding the policies and budgeting for the schools in the region made it clear that it’s not how much money is spent, but how mindfully it’s spent, treating teachers with respect and understanding their important role in our society.

These findings, coupled with a growing world wide interest in educational reform, supported our ideas and gave us both confidence and clarity to move forward and push through some of the larger hurdles.


Physical space has been a looming challenge; earlier in the year we were able to secure and quickly transform an old school classroom into an airy and open environment. It was exciting to understand how the space could be used and we ran many camps which introduced other families to Discovery. Although these were a success, we didn’t feel comfortable moving to the next step without a permanent home. This became an exercise in patience and diligence with very few locations available to fit our vision while meeting necessary requirements.

During this time we were also reflecting on the concept of the school itself and the question of ultimately, how do we turn it into a viable business model? For it to be successful we needed to ensure that it was also sustainable. We looked at many models, and found that labeling Discovery a ‘school’ became a barrier for much of what we were trying to achieve. After time, we stopped referring to it as a school and began calling it a “Discovery Centre” which fit our vision more accurately.

 

charming rustic wooden fence of a small organic village backyard
By the end of summer, we managed to secure a new permanent home which has been slowly undergoing renovations. Along with plans for the inside, our outdoor environment will begin see a lot of love with Ms Jamie recently joining the team as our Nature and Garden Program Coordinator. Having previously worked at both Hamilton Conservation Area and the Royal Botanical Gardens children’s programs, partnered with a background in science and biology, she makes a great addition to the team. Not only will Ms Jamie be helping to grow our gardens arounds the centre, she will also devise a nature program that will be able to take advantage of the 160 acres of private conservation land our new location gives us access too.


We now have a lot more clarity. With all the changes, new location and updated concept, we’re lovingly calling this stage in our development Discovery 2.0 – there’s still a lot of work to do but as the team grows and pieces fall into place our excitement can’t help but build.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts about the Discovery Centre concept, our amazing new location, and the Creative Learning Lab.

Article by Colin Doncaster

I'm a father, husband and craftsperson who loves creative technology, visual storytelling and a great user experience. With 20 years of VFX and animation production behind me I'm now focused on my family and our sustainable studio where great ideas, art and technology can thrive.