Discovery Center Guidelines

Drop-in to The Discovery Center!

This is a place for you and your young child to enjoy together. Inside, you will find many different materials and activities to explore. Based on the premise that children learn best through multi-sensory hands-on activities, this environment is designed to provide play-based learning opportunities. Playgroups here are fun, interactive programs where social, emotional, and communication skills are embedded in our daily interactions.

Our philosophy is that the best programs are those in which both the staff and the parents work together to ensure a successful experience for all. We are always open to your suggestions and ideas. It is our goal to provide the best programs possible for you and your children. With this in mind, we incorporate some common values to guide our groups.

Playgroup Values

  • Kindness to others in play and conversation
  • Respect for different cultures, beliefs, and abilities
  • Safety, a place where children may explore with a caregiver’s guidance and monitoring
  • Connecting caregiver and child as well as family to family
  • Engaging parent and child together in play

Do Be a Good Friend!

  • Be respectful of other people’s feelings
  • Be generous & share- you’ll make new friends!
  • Be safe- feet on the floor & hands to yourself

Routines and Recordkeeping

  • Please sign in each time on the attendance sheet, and once each year complete a registration form.
  • Please give your child snack at the snack table, at the designated snack time, if possible.
    Infants may be fed at any point.
  • We recommend that you bring a change of clothes, and if appropriate, diaper and wipes, for your child each week. We use paints at the easel and water in the water table.
  • Please restrict cell phone usage to urgent needs. This is your time to enjoy your child!

Health and Safety

  • Supervise your child(ren) closely at all times. Almost any material can be dangerous if used incorrectly. –
  • Please put anything that a child has mouthed or soiled in the bucket labeled “to be washed”
  • Accompany your child to the restroom at all times.
  • If your child is contagious, please keep them at home. Discovery Center staff may ask you to leave if your child is unwell. This includes the first 48 after your child has been placed on an antibiotic for a communicable condition.
  • No candy, gum, nuts or hot beverages are allowed.

Your Discovery Staff

The Discovery Center is an initiative of the Sandwich Partnership for Families, a program of the Sandwich Public Schools. The Sandwich Partnership Program Coordinator is Lauren Melillo.

An Early Childhood Educator since 1979, she has worked in many public and non-profit early education programs, including 19 years with the Sandwich Public Schools. As founder of the Discovery Center, her duties include grant funding, outreach & communication as well as the development of program offerings & supervision of operations.

Christina Hallas is the Discovery Center Director. “Miss Chris” has a Masters in Education with a concentration in Special Education, and has worked with young children in a variety of educational settings. She is responsible for the daily operations of the Discovery Center, including curriculum design and implementation.

Charity O’Neill is the Early Childhood Specialist. With a Masters degree and experience working in various educational and therapeutic settings, she is able to contribute her skills in art and education to contribute many valuable insights, ideas, and talents to enrich the environment and curriculum of the Discovery Center.

Their parenting experiences include children with special needs, adoptive and foster parenting, parenting of boys, and parenting of girls (very different experiences!) and bi-racial parenting.

Their office is located in Room 132 of the Forestdale School (next to the school library). Input on program offerings, messages or inquiries may be directed to 508-477-6600, ext. 132 or by email to

All registered playgroup attendees will have the opportunity for an individual Ages and Stages Assessment completed for their child. This screening provides a “snapshot” of your child’s current growth and strengths and provides an insight into the next phase of development. We will help you identify your goals for your child, and suggestions to achieve them. If, at any time, you would like to review your child’s progress, or have any concerns, simply ask your Playgroup Leader.

We also offer a Get Ready To Read Literacy Screening for children four and older to help identify the pre-reading skills your child has attained, and what skills are still to be mastered.

The number one priority of the Discovery Center is to assure all children and families have the support they need to grow healthy, safe and happy. If we are concerned about the safety and/or wellbeing of your child, we will follow the Sandwich Public Schools protocol as Mandated Reporters to the Dept. of Children and Families. We would, of course, work with you to remedy the situation, address the concern, and refer you and your family to community services.

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