Mission

Set within the heart of the Panama rainforest and alongside the Panama Canal, the Gamboa Discovery School takes advantage of unique natural, scientific and cultural assets to deliver a comprehensive and unforgettable education. Our core mission elements are:

Scientific Inquiry
Use experimentation to understand the nature, processes and methods of science. Imbue foundational concepts by exciting the child’s natural discovery

Relationships
Cultivate and forge enduring connections between teachers, families and the community

Fun  
Use play to build confidence, inspire creativity, and explore personal limits

Preparation
Develop critical thinking, encourage mature communication and instill collaboration as fundamental tools for the child’s long life ahead

Leadership
Guide students towards being transformational leaders who are able to empower others by imbuing responsibility

Respect
Foster respect and compassion for all living things, cultures and personalities. Challenge prejudice and honor values

 

Our Vision 

Reflecting back on their education we want our pupils to remember a time of outstanding education, personal and social discovery and irreplaceable formative experiences, all within the uniqueness of Gamboa
 

Our Core Values

  • We are adventurous, open-minded and we make learning fun
  • We cherish compassion and promote a high trust culture
  • We are a family and look after each other
  • We value personal and shared accountability
  • We embrace and bring about positive change
  • We strive for pro-activity, innovation, and transparency in everything we do
     

Critical Success Factors

The Gamboa Discovery School will

  1. Establish an exemplary model for exceptional academic and personal development
  2. Promote the development of its staff with openness and stability
  3. Grow ethically and with environmental care
  4. Respect, understand and contribute to local culture, history and surrounds
     

 Teaching Philosophy

The pillars of GDS’ teaching philosophy are joy, kindness, discovery and community. We value and foster joy in our everyday lives and particularly the joy of learning; kindness to take care of one another and our environment; discovery as the motor and method for learning; and community to ground us, support us and inspire us. The pillars are interconnected. Being mindful of the world and others, discovering with curiosity and learning with joy provide us with possibilities to apply our passions with a purpose so that we may, for example, utilize creative problem-solving to serve our community. Our teachers teach with joy and passion. They utilize constant, close, mindful contact with the people and environment in our community to spark curiosity and guide discovery processes for student learning.

Teaching Methods

We base our teaching style on a constructivist understanding of learning processes, and mostly teach by facilitating experiential learning. Constructivism considers that children build new knowledge and skills on top of their existing ones, and considers the whole child and the previous experiences and ideas they bring into the learning process. Constructivism is based on learning by doing, as opposed to receiving information from others. Experiential learning provides students with experiences that require thinking, as well as structured reflection to transform experiences into learning. Through processes based on discovery learning, students interact with the world around them, for example by exploring their surroundings and manipulating objects, in order to acquire information they discover themselves. Our signature strategy is utilizing inquiry-based learning to facilitate carefully designed experiences guided by questions in which students learn by discovering the answers themselves, with the guidance of the teacher. We also utilize other related methods such as project- and problem-based learning, in which students learn by completing products or objectives and finding solution. We place particular value in the collaborative learning and the presentation skills students put into practice through these methods. Gamboa Discovery School emphasizes the application of these methods outside of the classroom, learning outdoors regularly, learning from and in nature, and engaging in excursions outside the Gamboa area, in ways that are integrated with the curriculum. Place-based education allows us to facilitate learning experiences rooted in the unique opportunities and experiences our community has to offer, and immersed in the local landscapes. Project-based learning allows for holistic development, and integrated cross-subject learning. Finally, flipped learning fosters independence, and differentiated instruction includes everyone’s needs and gifts.