School Profile

Why Choose Daniel Island Academy?

A licensed educational facility founded in 2004, Daniel Island Academy on Daniel Island, South Carolina (county of Berkeley, city of Charleston) offers preschool classes for children 12 months through Pre-K. Our mission is to provide the best learning and developmental environment for a child to reach his or her full potential. Conveniently located between Mount Pleasant and North Charleston, our facility can accommodate up to 280 students at any given time. We offer full-day programs. For the safety of all our children, we DO NOT accept medical or religious immunization exemptions and have a strict no outside-food policy.

Now, more than ever, high quality childcare is extremely important. We know that many families are understandably concerned with the health and safety of their children, especially when they are away from home and in a school.  DIA follows SCDHEC Childcare Setting Guidance for COVID.

Thinking of scheduling a tour?  Click here for more info.  

Average Class Size


  • 12-23 Months: Four Classes – 10 Children Each
  • 24-36 Months: Five Classes – 12-14 Children Each
  • Three Years: Three Classes – 20 Children Each
  • Pre-k: Three Classes – 20 Children Each


Teacher-To-Student Ratio

Full-Day (7:00am-5:30pm – must not exceed 10 hours daily)

  • Pre-Toddler (12-24 Months): 1:5
  • Toddler-Young (24-30 Months): 1:6
  • Toddler-Old (30-36 Months): 1:7
  • Full-Day Threes (36-48 Months): 1:10
  • Full-Day Fours/Pre-k (48-60 Months): 1:10

*all ratios are below state requirements

Daniel Island Academy is open year around (allowance for holidays and teacher workdays) and offers full day programs, Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Calendars (per school year) can be accessed on the Important Documents page.

Daniel Island Academy (DIA) is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which sets the highest standards for education, health and safety, including teacher qualifications. Our school goes through re-accreditation every two years. We are also a proud A+ partner of ABC Quality South Carolina.

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy and research. The association advances a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and supports all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. Learn more.
  • ABC Quality - A voluntary rating and improvement program that helps South Carolina parents find high quality child care. Child care providers who opt to participate in ABC Quality must demonstrate that they meet, exceed or surpass basic child care standards. The program is administered by the Division of Early Care and Education of the SC Department of Social Services. Providers who participate receive an ABC Quality rating to demonstrate their commitment to creating higher quality experiences:
  • The School Nutrition Association (SNA) - The only professional association dedicated solely to the support and well being of school nutrition professionals in advancing good nutrition for all children.
  • The South Carolina Farm to Preschool Program - A state-wide program that connects preschools with local agriculture to achieve many educational goals. Learn more.
  • Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood Program - We proudly meet the requirements of a preferred provider for this reduced fee assistance program for active duty or deployed service members.

NAEYC stipulates that 75% of lead teachers and 50% of assistant teachers are required to hold or be working towards a degree in early childhood education or related discipline. Our school consistently achieves and exceeds NAEYC standards. Teaching staff are supervised and supported by the School Director, Curriculum Coordinator, Reference Point Coordinator and Business Manager.

Daniel Island Academy has established the following policies and practices in support of its NAEYC requirements:

  • Teachers are required to complete 20 continuing education hours annually; exceeds state standards of 15 hours annually
  • Teacher training sessions are held on-site and specially designed to meet the needs of our school and its student body. Classes in curriculum, growth and development, health and safety, among others, are included
  • All DIA staff are required to be CPR and blood-borne pathogen certified (the state requires only one certified person be on site during operating hours)
  • All DIA staff are required to submit to background screenings
  • All DIA staff are required to submit to drug testing at the time of employment, with random testing as needed (the state does not require drug testing)
  • Prospective teachers undergo an extensive interview process, including a working interview during which they spend approximately 1.5 hours in two separate classrooms (one younger child classroom, one older child classroom). Current teachers provide feedback to the School Director on performance and child interaction
  • Successful applicants must share in the school philosophy and convey a sense of commitment in the workplace, especially in the education of the whole child
  • Participation in Turtle Team- DIA's monthly incentive program

Turtle Team - Rewarding Excellence in Teaching and Caring for Your Child

The Turtle Team monthly compensation/incentive program works in conjunction with the school's NAEYC requirements, with a structured program for achieving and maintaining those standards. It rewards teachers for hard work and dedication to our school. Turtle Team is tailored to each staff position through an Individualized Staff Professional Development Plan created by the School Director and the Curriculum Coordinator. The Professional Development Plan is intended to provide direction, guidance and resources to all teachers currently working at Daniel Island Academy.

The Creative Curriculum® is taught in all Daniel Island Academy classrooms. Additionally, related arts classes are provided in full day programs, including, foreign language (Spanish), physical education and literacy. All classes are offered our proprietary assessment program- Reference Point. The program meets and exceeds State of South Carolina standards, with a core curriculum including, math, science, handwriting, literacy, Spanish immersion, reading, health and wellness education.

A number of enrichment programs are selected by our team and offered throughout the year, including, dance, science, karate, foreign language, creative movement and more. We select enrichments that offer the best opportunity for additional development through art, sports, science, dance or literacy (parents sign students up for their choice of activities which occur on-site during the day). We take great pride in the established relationships we have with our enrichment providers.

The Daniel Island Academy Parent's Association (PADIA) leads the school in a number of community service projects to benefit area charities. Since we opened our doors, we have worked hard to help others. Those have included organizations such as: East Cooper Community Outreach, Meals-On-Wheels, Christmas Commandos, Lowcountry Children's Center, I Heart Hungry Kids, Lowcountry Food Bank, Lowcountry Orphan Relief and more.

We are giving our wonderful teachers an opportunity to share "What Makes DIA Special"! Stay tuned for more resources, photos and videos of some really unique things that happen at our school.

Creative Curriculum

Conscious Discipline and I Love You Rituals

Reference Point

DIA Teacher Training 2019

Why We Get Messy at DIA!

Gross Motor Development at DIA!

Nutrition and Allergy Awareness

Our Story

Located at the heart of the Charleston Metro area, Daniel Island Academy is a 17,500-square foot campus with 17 classrooms, a multi-purpose room, two playgrounds, and a gated courtyard that serves as an outdoor classroom, complete with gardens, water play areas, and outdoor musical instruments. We have an allergy-safe environment, which means that all meals and snacks are carefully monitored to avoid the use of common allergy-inducing ingredients. We truly believe in educating the whole child.

Our Building

The United States Green Building Council’s LEED principles and credits were followed closely when designing and construction our school. Completed in 2004, the building utilized sustainable components such as light monitors for increased natural light, geothermal mechanical system, and the use of low-VOC materials. Our entire facility is meticulously cleaned with environmentally sensitive products to eliminate the presence of allergy triggers. The building is also equipped with the highest level of security and safety measures. As technologies advance, we make modifications to stay ahead of best practices and high standards.

Our Team

Our team takes great pride in caring for, educating and nurturing our students. Our teaching staff regularly attend ongoing training and educational seminars to learn new and exciting things which they bring back to the classroom to engage and educate the students and share with their peers. Since our teachers receive competitive salaries and benefit packages, they are among the best and brightest educators and are rewarded for the good work they do with your child. NAEYC stipulates that 75% of lead teachers and 50% of assistant teachers are required to hold or be working towards a degree in early childhood education or related discipline. To learn more about individual teachers, please see their detailed profile outside their classroom on the communication board.


Being a team member at DIA is very rewarding. We offer competitive salaries, numerous training opportunities, growth opportunity and benefits. We are always interested in receiving resumes from qualified lead and assistant teachers. Click here to submit your letter of intent and resume. 


Well-trained lead teachers who have been with DIA for several years are the heart of our new-hire mentor program. As a collaborative program, the mentors work to help new teachers and staff learn the Daniel Island Academy culture and curriculum while increasing their ability to enrich the lives of our students.

Administrative Staff

Our admin team is here to help run the business side of our educational facility and support the teaching staff and our families. Each team member has a dedicated area of responsibility. Please feel free to reach out to them as needed.

Parent’s Association

The Parent’s Association of Daniel Island Academy (PADIA) was formed to improve our children’s development by assisting the school staff and teachers and support the families in these efforts. All DIA families are strongly encouraged to join PADIA. See the PADIA page for more details on the planned current school year activities and leadership team.

DIA in the News



January 2020: Jenell Simmons Wins News 2’s “Cool School Teacher of the Week”

May 2020: Erica Lear Wins Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Teacher Award


March 2019: Kindness Counts at Daniel Island Academy

May 2019: Daniel Island Academy Hosts the Daniel Island Garden Club


March 2017: Daniel Island Academy Receives visit from Octavia Mitchell and is awarded Charleston News2 Cool School of the Week. See the coverage and profile. See the award ceremony.


Sept. 2016: DIA earns re-accreditation from National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

July 2016: Daniel Island Academy Helps Raise Awareness of Homeless in Charleston and Supportive Organizations

May 2016: DIA Named SC Farm to Preschool Program Site and Grant Recipient – press release