Discovery Year 5. Session 3. Week 1.

Discovery learners launched into Session 3 with energy and autonomy. Take a peek into this session’s Quest and the evolution of Work and Play Cycles!


Cartography Quest presents the opportunity to circumnavigate the globe through your imagination. Learners gain valuable map-making skills through mini-challenges called Voyages. Heroes will also dive deeply into cultural narratives by creating a world fact book. Discoverers completed a campus scavenger hunt using longitude and latitude to find the first clue to their final destination. This week, the Studio heard famous folktales from North and South America. 


Discoverers were eager to resume their Outdoor Play journey in the new session. This week, the Studio witnessed a powerful conflict resolution between two groups of learners building and playing near one another. Outdoor Play is a time in the day when learners gain excellent tools for the skill of self-governance. While creating, building, and exploring, conflict is natural. When it does occur, each individual in the studio has a choice: Will I be a peacemaker or a problem-solver?



Learners calmed their brains and bodies to find flow this week. At times, flow was lost. Through digging deeper into the ideas of distraction, resistance, and victimhood, Discoverers processed the experience of losing flow. These moments of recalibration were supported by the weekly reflection question completed during SMART goals-setting. The question prompted exploration into what learners will start, stop, and continue doing in the Work Cycle. 


Week 1 empowered and equipped Heroes in a multitude of ways. Discoverers have shown bravery in blazing new trails and agency in holding the systems of studio life in their own hands.

Discovery Year 5. Session 2. Week 5.

To quote one learner on their Week 5 experience, “It feels like freedom.” After a session of great challenges and great responsibility, Discovery Heroes celebrated their journey with an Exhibition of Learning, a Work Cycle reflection, and a Badge Ceremony. 


E-Ship Quest came to a powerful culmination at the Trade Show. Family and community members gathered to hear product pitches from young entrepreneurs. Prototypes, market research, and idea funnels were on display to offer a glimpse into the creative process. Heroes competed to earn votes from potential customers while receiving feedback relevant to improving their business. This element of the Exhibition served as a showcase of the unique ideas and excellent work created in Quest. Beyond that, it equips each learner with the skills necessary for success at the Ascent Children’s Business Fair! (See you on Saturday, December 2nd!) 


This element of the Exhibition of Learning brought joyful insight into the Montessori Work Cycle. Throughout the week, learners focused on the “T” in SMART goals which stands for tough.  In preparation for the Work with Me Exhibition, Discoverers entered their Montessori Work Cycle and selected the materials that challenge them most, taking them furthest from their comfort zone; the place where growth can happen. 


The weather was changeable but Heroes stayed true to their mission: play! This week, loose parts were traded for the simple magic of nature and imagination. Observations characterize Outdoor Play as a time of creativity and cooperation. On Wednesday, Discoverers truly tested their limits in P.D. Each learner set a benchmark in sprints, sit-ups, and push-ups. Stay tuned to see if they surpass these limits! 

The Studio discovered rich learning in moments of failure and found triumph in moments of success. We have grace and gratitude for the lessons learned in Session 2. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Discovery Year 5. Session 2. Week 4.

This week, E-Ship Quest set sail for Product Island, the Studio celebrated its first badge ceremony, and Heroes learned about sacred traditions in Ancient Egypt! 


Discovers dug into the product creation process as their entrepreneurship ideas entered the prototyping phase. In Week 4, learners explored 2D prototypes, like design sketches, and 3D prototypes, like scale models. They analyzed each type before deciding which format would best serve their business. On Friday, the Studio discussed the process of writing a pitch. The entrepreneurs reviewed excellent examples and received support in “perfecting their pitch” from Explorers. 


Week 4 brought expansion to Outdoor Play. By demonstrating a commitment to respecting materials, one another, and their community as a whole – learners earned even more choices in their play. Artwork in the natural world and building with small parts became an energetic, exciting part of the day. 


The tribe traveled back to their continuing story in early Egypt. They took a deep dive into the history of mummification and the role sacred tradition plays in society. 


Learners witnessed a fellow traveler earn the first badge of the year! Each studio member leaned in to hear the Hero share the challenges and rewards faced while working toward their goal. Beyond this, the Work Cycles continued with collective goal setting and sharing. This week, discussions included reflections on the current working environment, the art of balancing work and play, and tools for finding flow despite distraction. 

We look forward to the final week of Session 2 as well as the challenges, growth, and celebration coming with it! 

Discovery Year 5. Session 2. Week 3.

It’s hard to believe that we are over halfway through Session 2! This week, the tribe trekked forth in E-Ship Quest, Outdoor Play, P.D., Civilization, and Work Cycles. 


Week 3 of Quest led learners to Economics Island. The Studio took a deep dive into unit economics and the act of counting money. Discovery entrepreneurs received support from Explorers who served as the Cost Research Team. Together, Discoverers and Explorers calculated how much it would cost to start their business and used that information to determine pricing for each item they’re selling. Heroes learned new terms like profit, cost, price, and break even.



Discoverers didn’t let the colder weather inhibit their expression or imagination; quite the opposite! Frost on the Outdoor Play materials was a source of endless fascination. Heroes bundled up and huddled together to design, create, and craft using both loose parts and items found in nature.


During Physical Development, Heroes participated in a circuit training to prepare for the P.D. Olympics! The circuit is a series of eight energetic exercises completed in pairs or groups of three. Learners are working hard to set benchmarks for themselves in the skills of the circuit. At the end of the year, the Studio will compete in these same activities with the goal of surpassing their original benchmarks!


In Civilization, learners heard a story about the invention of writing. The Studio’s journey through history has taken them to ancient Egypt and the Fertile Crescent; a region in the Middle East often thought of as the birthplace of human civilization. In Week 3, they studied Egyptian hieroglyphs and Sumerian cuneiform, two early forms of writing. Heroes then reflected on the impact written systems have on society.


Learners experimented with the freedom to float in their Work Cycles this week. This looks and feels like having the choice of which Work Cycle you start with and how much time you spend in each cycle. Learners were invited to set both Montessori and Work Cycle SMART goals. The cycle concluded with a reflection on how they chose to structure their time.

Now, we begin looking forward to the final two weeks of the session. With courage and curiosity, the Studio is ready to face the unknown!

Discovery Year 5. Session 2. Week 2.

This week, Discoverers dug deep to find resilience, persistence, and adaptability. To quote one learner on their Week 2 experience, “It was challenging. A lot of people needed support but also a lot of people wanted to help.” 


The E-Ship adventure sailed onward this week. Learners explored entrepreneurial concepts like goods and services, brand identity, and market research. Squads collaborated on the creation of a company logo and booth design. Each learner engaged in real-time market research as they surveyed potential customers to gauge profitability.



Through rain and shine, the Studio found new, exciting avenues for expression. Outdoor Play supports Heroes in cultivating their natural creativity and curiosity. Learners can find flow with the world around them, connect with their peers, or explore their inner wonder. 


In Civ, Discoverers listened to a tale of the earliest Egyptians settling along the Nile River. Gathered together, they discussed an ancient battle between the White Crown King and Red Crown King. Beyond this, the Studio dove deep into the rich lore of Egyptian Gods and Pharaohs. 


This week in Work Cycles, learners experimented with different methods of goal-setting. They set goals independently, in Squads, and as a group. These cycles undergo constant evolution and there is space for trial and error. Heroes put forth triumphant effort in setting, reaching for, and reflecting upon their Work Cycle goals.

We look forward to the learning and growth the next 3 weeks will bring! 

Discovery Year 5. Session 2. Week 1.

Session 2 started with energy, excitement, and anticipation. Discoverers launched bravely into E-Ship Quest, Outdoor Play, Civilization, and S.M.A.R.T. goals! 


In this session, the studio doubles as an incubator for each Squad to formulate a start-up: a lemonade stand! This Quest is designed to equip young entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, and frameworks necessary to build a business; all while assessing their strengths within a team. In Week 1, Squads collaborated on a company name, mission statement, and role designation. 


Heroes took to nature for the next part of their day: Outdoor Play. This is an opportunity for Discoverers to immerse themselves in the beauty of the natural world and unstructured loose parts play. There is time to find deep solo flow, engage in team games, and work in tandem to build or create. 



The yurt transformed into a time machine as learners engaged in the first day of Civilization, or Civ for short. Civ allows Heroes to imagine themselves in various historical settings through rich storytelling and riveting Socratic Discussion. Discoverers heard tales of Nomads who lived 7,000 years ago and reflected on the importance of learning from the past. 



The Work Cycle momentum carried over into Session 2. This energy is channeled into intention with the help of S.M.A.R.T. goals; an acronym representing five guiding principles for goal-setting. Before each cycle, learners set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Tough goals. This process includes sharing goals to receive feedback and meaningful goal reflection as the cycle concludes. 


The seeds planted by the Studio in Week 1 find fruition in the future. Stay tuned to see how this work takes root, bears fruit, and blossoms.


Year 5. Session 1. Week 5.

The building momentum of the first few weeks came to a powerful climax. As work cycles wrapped up for the session, Discovery learners prepared to make their debut at Friday’s Exhibition of Learning. 

The Studio charted unfamiliar territory this session. This came in the form of tech programs, Montessori works, and outdoor projects.  One member of the studio expressed the energy of the final week by saying, “It’s just that feeling of all your hard work paying off.”


Week 5 was full of tradition. From a birthday celebration to contract completion, the Studio formed their first rituals. 

Afternoons were dedicated to Exhibition preparation. This process largely consists of setting intentions: what do learners want their showcase to look and feel like? The Studio rehearsed the order of events with Spark learners Thursday afternoon! 

Discoverers experienced the culmination of their efforts early Friday morning. The space was buzzing with anticipation and excitement at the opportunity to offer a glimpse into studio life. The first Exhibition of Learning contained a tech program tour, team-building challenge, a Lip Dub viewing, and a Q&A panel. 

In every setting and through each challenge, learners found the courage to face the unknown; both as Heroes on an individual journey and as a community with a shared destiny.

Year 5. Session 1. Week 4.

It’s hard to believe that Session 1 is more than halfway over. Still, on the cusp of their journey, Discoverers have managed to meet wondrous heights. This week’s accomplishments included outdoor project progression, mastering new software, and an introduction to exhibition planning.

With nature as a guide, learners made massive strides in developing their Outdoor Works. The tribe spent time cutting/painting wood for the campus bike rack, creating art from natural materials, and assembling self-designed structures.

Heroes found themselves invested in hard work, but they didn’t forget the importance of play. P.D. games in Week 4 utilized and strengthened foundational skills for physical activity. This skill set is ever-expanding; the current focuses are balance, dexterity, memory, and coordination.

Throughout the week, learners found flow in various work cycles. The resources comprising these cycles undergo constant evolution. Curiosity is a torch through change, leading the way amid unfamiliar territory. The pictures below capture learners as they conquer new math programs and navigate new language/science works.

The Studio continued the path to autonomy through Socratic discussion and meaningful reflection. Discoverers drafted and implemented Hero Bucks. Based on peer-to-peer accountability, it is an entirely self-governed system led by an elected committee of learners. Votes were also cast for next week’s Exhibition Hosts. The week closed with Town Hall. Heroes engaged in productive conversations centered around freedoms and responsibilities.


In looking forward to the final week of the session, the forecast is full of hope.

Year 5. Session 1. Week 3.

This week, the Tribe started searching for solid ground within their environment. Discovery learners were introduced to outdoor projects and P.D. while delving deeper into Montessori and Tech Work Cycles.

The daily rhythm begins by venturing forth: into the orchard, out to the field, or onto the court. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are marked by the Outdoor Work Cycle. This is a time for learners to craft collaborative projects. Currently, Travelers are re-imagining their outdoor workspace; bringing organization and design elements together with creative vision. Beyond this, the Studio is building and painting a bike rack to serve members of our community who come to campus on two wheels!

Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to Physical Development. This cycle will contain a variety of warm-ups, games, challenges, sports, and stretches. Check out the P.D. activities the Heroes launched in their third week:


Outdoor Work flows to and from the Montessori Work Cycle. If you could walk around the space in the mornings, you’re likely to observe deep solo flow existing alongside daring collective adventure.

As the Studio came together to support one another in completing the Tech Challenge, they earned the freedom, privilege, and responsibility of embarking on an individual journey. Discovery learners will utilize their courage and curiosity to explore online programs for the remainder of this session.

Week three came to a close in a ceremonial fashion. Friday afternoon, Discoverers led their first Town Hall. This is a weekly tradition in which the Studio sits down round table style to propose ideas, address concerns, and outline goals. Town Hall is a sacred space meant for exchanging ideas at the highest, most insightful level. In following the Rules of Engagement, the Tribe builds a culture on a bedrock of respectful discussion. Town Hall represents just one of many opportunities for self-governance.

This portion of our story brought in autonomy and expansion. To that we say: three cheers for three weeks!

Year 5. Session 1. Week 2.

With just one week under their belts, learners faced great challenges and blazed new trails. The second-week experience encompassed an introduction to the Montessori Work Cycle, the Tech Challenge, and further exploration into team-building exercises.

Monday morning Discovery went digital! As the world of technology opened, Discoverers found that epic freedoms bring mighty responsibilities. Before diving into online learning, every member of the Studio must complete the Tech Challenge. A week-long pursuit leads learners through basic computer operations and maintenance as well as guidelines for safe internet use. Completing this challenge earns the privilege to begin or resume the journey of virtual education programs.

Simultaneously, learners took the first steps into the world of Montessori works. This introduction contained a careful analysis of the cycle and an in-depth exploration of materials. During the second week, the Studio explored language and math works to familiarize themselves with the Montessori process. Working in Squads, Discoverers probed into the subject of endangered and extinct animals; a topic curated with the interests of current Travelers in mind. These materials represent a brave new avenue for learning enrichment. In the words of Maria Montessori, “Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”

Team-building games found further evolution this week. Take a glimpse into three activities intended to unite the Tribe.

The Blindfold Relay was a test of communication, coordination, and trust. The Studio was split into two teams and huddled briefly with their group to devise an approach. One person at a time navigated through an obstacle course containing hula hoop chains, bean bag sorting, staggered cones, and number organization; all while being completely blindfolded. Both teams employed ingenious auditory cues to lead the way. Success in this challenge was dependent on the strength of each non-seeing member’s listening skills and the collective instruction of those who could see. Post-game reflection was centered on what it means to depend on the guidance of others to follow a path you have yet to discover.

Later in the week, the Studio took to the stars. Crossing the Galaxy proved to be a game with a simple set-up but a daunting execution. Learners started in a single file line. The first astronaut held eight paper plates and stood at the edge of the galaxy. Plates represented space stations, points of safety to stand upon. Any person who lost contact with a station drifted into the cosmos and out of the game. Any station that lost contact with a person floated away to the same fate. Many strategies were theorized, tested, and tweaked until each team found a system to cross the galaxy.


The Bridge Challenge is a classic in Discovery. Using only thirty popsicle sticks and one roll of tape, each Squad was tasked with creating a suspension bridge between two chairs. The bridge had to measure at least thirteen inches in length. With only twenty minutes to work, this challenge was a true test of planning, cooperation, and building. Once construction time came to a close, the contest commenced. All bridges were tested under increasing weight in the form of marbles, coins, and books. Learners gathered to spectate the contest and participate in the judging process.


Finally, Friday afternoon, Discovery hosted Spark and Explore Studios for the Hero’s Talent Show: a showcase of the vast passions among learners. Days of planning and rehearsal culminated in a series of fourteen phenomenal talents. This showing required a tremendous amount of courage on account of the performers. Sparks and Explorers were commended for their encouraging, inclusive audience participation. Acts included dance routines, poetry recitations, comedy skits, and many more!


Through peaks and valleys, Travelers remained brave. This week the Studio learned to dance in the rain and by all means the future looks bright!