Curriculum Overview

Daniel Island Academy is proud to be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Every age brings an important stage in the growth and development of your child. The goal of the Daniel Island Academy curriculum program is to foster that development throughout the day and assist your child with reaching their full potential. Your children are inventors that develop using natural curiosity coupled with observing, exploring, drawing and creating. Our curriculum is comprised of several programs that encourage development and facilitate the best environment for learning.


Our curriculum standards begin when our doors open at 7:00 a.m. and continue until the last child is picked up at 5:30 p.m.

What are Developmentally Appropriate Practices?

We ensure that each child is introduced to activities and skills that meet his or her particular needs. We start by evaluating your child’s needs and plan lessons and activities that will move each child toward developmentally appropriate competencies.

Creative Curriculum®

Daniel Island Academy selected The Creative Curriculum®, a NAEYC-approved curriculum of excellence, to complement our school’s child-centered approach to learning. A play-based curriculum, this program utilizes classroom environment and center activities as key components in the learning process. Our curriculum includes a balanced schedule of planned activities and free choice; quiet time and physical play; individual attention and group activities. We ensure a high level of one-on-one interaction by maintaining low child-to-teacher ratios. Read more about our curriculum below and download our NAEYC Curriculum Flyer.

Reference Point®

Map Out Your Child’s Strengths

Reference Point is Daniel Island Academy’s proprietary assessment program that provides a comprehensive educational portfolio for each child at Daniel Island Academy. This program is used to map out each student’s educational and developmental strengths. This process involves one-on-one developmental screenings with a developmental specialist. Motor, social and adaptive skills, language and early learning are all assessed. The data from these assessments provides information for families to better understand how their child is developing, what developmental skills they are learning and fun ideas to help nurture this at home.

At school, we use this data to develop programming, train teachers, purchase curriculum tools and modify classroom teaching to serve each individual child. We have found that the process of assessment is empowering for teachers to understand their classroom, for parents to understand their child, and as a school, for us to provide the highest quality of programming and instruction at a developmentally appropriate level for all the children of the school.

As part of the enrollment process, we require parents to complete a brief developmental questionnaire. In that, parents provide information about their child’s self-help skills, socialization, play at home and other important data that is also included in this assessment. Learn more in the Reference Point® manual.

Tadpoles Parent Communication System

From Tadpoles, teachers send a daily report for each child in their classroom. This gives parents a glimpse into their child’s day. The daily report includes daily activities, learning experiences and care events. All photos, videos and daily reports are emailed directly to parents. Parents also have access via the Tadpoles Parent app available on Apple and Android devices or online at

Conscious Discipline®

Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based, classroom management and social-emotional learning solution. It utilizes everyday events rather than an external curriculum, and addresses the adult’s emotional intelligence as well as the child’s. The tools empower adults to consciously respond to daily conflict, transforming it into an opportunity to teach critical life skills to children and in turn creating an entire school culture of cooperation, constructive problem solving and academic success. PADIA hosts several Conscious Discipline Workshops for parents throughout the school year. Look for details in the PADIA Newsletter.


This award-winning program uses lively music and playful activities to help young children build a solid foundation for school success. The curriculum base is full of developmentally appropriate activities that teach children about letters, body awareness, numbers, sequencing, and sharing in a fun, engaging and informal manner while fostering a lifetime of joyful learning.

Related Arts

Daniel Island Academy’s Early Literacy Initiative led to the development of Related Arts curriculum enhancements. We employ professionals and leaders in the respective fields of physical education, foreign language and literacy to teach children a wide range of subjects.

Scholastic Reading Club: We are proud participants of this group. Our Library Committee helps ensure age appropriate classic reads and new books get into the hands of our students in their class and at home. Flyers come home via teachers regularly and all purchases earn points to help the school buy literacy tools for all classes. Purchases can be made online year-round and we encourage families to share our code (NC869) with family members as books are always great gift ideas!

2017 Literacy Initiative: Our Library Committee took their passion for literacy one step further by using point prowess to support the Cynthia Graham Hurd Foundation. All points earned through our Scholastic Reading Club purchases the first half of 2017 went towards purchasing books for this amazing foundation that was started in 2016. Founded by her four brothers, the Foundation honors the memory of 31-year librarian, branch manager of the Charleston County Public Library, and all around literacy advocate, Cynthia Hurd, who died alongside eight other parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in June 2015.

Learn more about the Foundation and the great work it is doing.


A cornerstone to our program is providing proper nutrition for building healthy minds and bodies. Our Chef prepares all lunches and snacks to ensure that children receive the highest standards for wholesome nutrition and an allergy-safe menu while at Daniel Island Academy. This includes the exclusive use of organic milk, whole grain, and fresh or frozen products. We strive to accommodate special requests for preferred menus due to religious practices or health requirements, however, we make NO exceptions to our no-outside food or snack rule.

Mealtime is not only a time to eat, but a time to learn as well. Family-style dining is taught in the classroom to encourage cooperation and sharing at the table. Nutrition education is also a part of our curriculum. We are a proud member of the School Nutrition Association, a national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the quality of school meal programs through education and advocacy. View a sample lunch menu.

Our garden is an important extension of each classroom. We see it as a way to connect students to their environment while instilling life skills and a sense of community within the classrooms and the entire school. Planting a garden requires teamwork, patience and perseverance. We have found that caring for a living thing, watching it grow and thrive, and reaping the harvest and then enjoying it family-style with classmates teaches respect, pride and commitment.