Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents
As announced earlier this month, we are publishing small articles for your parental enrichment. Enjoy these suggestions with your little ones.

THE JOY OF SPONTANEOUS DELIGHT

I was alone one day, walking to lunch on a busy Boston street. Ahead was an old man, begging, “Any spare change?” The young businessman ahead of me brushed him off. “No, no–sorry.” Too busy. Then I came up to the beggar. I saw his face. I saw character mixed with tragedy in the old eyes. “Come on–come to lunch with me.” Spontaneous, spur of the moment. The man was surprised. I was surprised. I’ll forget other lunches, but never that one. The incredible story of a broken man’s life–it did him good to tell it; it did me good to hear it. He left with a full stomach & with a flicker of hope because someone had cared & listened. I left happy because I had helped, but also because I had done something spontaneous–free–open.

The Child’s Perspective

I was upstairs in my bedroom; eighteen-month-old Josh was right below me downstairs in his sister’s room. At first I thought he was crying, but as I listened again, I heard it for what it was; a loud, spontaneous belly-laugh. I knew he was down there by himself, because I could hear his sisters with Linda in the kitchen, so I sneaked quietly down to observe. I peeked through the door just in time for the next peal of laughter. Josh, his back to me, was sitting on his haunches facing Saren’s bed. The bedspread, hanging to the floor, suddenly bulged & then lifted to reveal Barney, our big black Labrador, squirming out from under the bed. There was something funny about Barney’s shifty-eyed sheepish look as he pushed his head out from under the spread. Josh laughed so hard he fell sideways. Then he promptly crawled under the end of the bed (Barney following), crawled back out from under the bedspread, & turned to watch Barney come out again.
Josh’s laugh made me smile, made me feel free. Adult laughter is too often sarcastic or boisterous or somehow forced & brittle. Josh’s spontaneous laugh pealed out like a thousand bells–the kind of free, delighted laugh that most little children have & most adults lose.

How To

The key method is encouragement & reinforcement. Children will repeat what they are praised for.
There are many ways to encourage & sanction a particular behaviour; perhaps the best way of all is by participating in that particular behaviour yourself.
Get excited with children. Swallow your sophistication–be a child with them, emote with them. When they say, “Oh, look!” you say, “Wow, yes!” Don’t say, “Calm down, son,” or “Not here, dear.”
Do spontaneous things with them. “Josh, your mom looks tired. Let’s put her to bed for a nap, & you & I will fix dinner.”
Make spontaneity a high priority. Place enough value on spontaneity that you let it happen even if it’s a little inconvenient. Suppose you are walking outside on a warm Summer afternoon & you spot your two-year-old stomping with delight in his first puddle. Resist the urge to yank him out with a “No, no!” Put rubber boots on him & let him do it. (Or put boots on yourself & do it with him!)
Get up & do a little dance when the music & the mood hit you.
Engage in the kind of play that produces exciting & unpredictable results.
Blow bubbles with a straw (in a glass of soapy water, or in the tub at bath time).
Play in water with empty plastic bottles, straws, or funnels.
Finger paint with shaving cream. Squirt a small amount of aerosol shaving cream on a smooth formica surface or table in front of each child & sprinkle on a little red powdered tempera paint. Let the children spread it around with their fingers or whole hands. Then sprinkle on a little blue & yellow tempera paint in different places so they can mix colours & see what happens.

The Family Treasure Chest

We have a “treasure chest.” It is just an old wooden box, painted many beautiful colours, with a big combination lock on it. The children know from experience that there is always a surprise in it.
Once or twice a week, on special occasions or perhaps for rewards, the chest is opened by daddy, the only one who knows the lock’s combination. It is amazing how delighted a child can be with one small peanut butter ball, a pine cone, or even a small sponge so he can help wipe off the table. Anything, so long as it comes out of the treasure chest, produces spontaneous delight.

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Enjoy yourself in a dazzling kaleidoscope of a Sunbird week

Come along and travel with us through a week of activities, where the fun continues, be it learning how to find a rhythm, listening to classic musical masters, pegging bowls, engrossing in a creative story telling session and celebrate a birthday, this time our never tiring driver.

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Quotes

The child discovers the joy that comes

from learning something new….

and his vision grows as he begins

to see all the things he can do     (Author Unknown)

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Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents

Introducing to you a series of small articles with the hope to support the fine tuning of parenting. Many of you are already aware of these points, but in our busy lives it is not always easy to apply each aspect. Enjoy!

TEACHING CHILDREN JOY–By Linda & Richard Eyre

INTRODUCTION

When our children were born, we began to search for objectives. We began to ask what we most wanted for our children, what we wanted to give them. The trouble was, there were so many things: Love, security, confidence, creativity, friendliness, peace of mind, self-esteem, imagination, concern for others, individuality, a sense of service. The list kept getting longer.
The breakthrough occurred one evening when we had the opportunity to speak to a large group of parents. We handed out a slip of paper to each couple & asked them to write the ages of their children on one side. On the other side they were to write, in one word, the thing they would most like to give their children. We said, “If you had a one-word wish for your children, what would it be?”
The results were quite remarkable. Virtually all parents of preschoolers said the same thing. Parents of elementary-school-age children were also relatively unified, but in a different direction. Parents of teenagers had still another wish. For preschoolers, parents wanted happiness. For elementary-school-age children, parents hoped for responsibility. And for teenagers, most parents wished for more unselfishness, more service & less self-centeredness.
It was the beginning of our program of “parenting by objective.” We decided that we would consciously adopt the following objectives & sequence:

Ages 0-6: Teach our children joy.
Ages 4-12: Teach our children responsibility.
Ages 10-16: Teach our children service & empathy.

We knew there were overlaps. There were elements of responsibility within joy, & service within responsibility, but we felt that we needed a focus–a clear, strong, single goal to work on for each phase of a child’s growth.
This book, “Teaching children Joy,” was born of our efforts. Each chapter presents one particular “joy.”
One problem most parents face is a difficulty in measuring their success. Since they do not have specific goals for a “yardstick,” they not only do more reacting than acting, they end up measuring their success by the emotions of frustration & impatience that they often feel.
A parent with one basic objective each month, on the other hand, can look past the momentary crises that come to all families & can see the progress the children are making in the area of that monthly goal. This is why we recommend that you select one “joy” to focus on each month.

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Health, Nutrition and Safety

Dear Parents

Sunbird announces the date for our upcoming seminar:

PEP FOR HEALTH, NUTRITION AND SAFETY

DATE: 26/7/2014

TIME:  10 am to 12 pm

VENUE: SUNBIRD EARLY LEARNING CENTRE

Thank you for marking this date and registering at the earliest.

Your Sunbird Team

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Great Outdoors

A welcome change, Sunbird takes the children twice a week for organised game activities to Sunbird Play. Enjoy the snaps.

 

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teaching methods

Sunbird’s First Field Trip of the Year: Kalyan Rathore (http://www.saatchiart.com/jksrathore)

A very big thank you to Kalyan, Bhavna and his family for welcoming us in his studio on the ORR. On Friday morning, Sunbird caravan set off on a long ride, and thanks to our accompanying smart parents using the GPS, we found the place just in time. Though it was quite a long and winding road through terrific traffic, your brave students got a special treat from Kaylan: how to make their own cube and giraffe from a piece of paper. On top of it, all were treated to a lovely warm chocolate with delicious cake. Indeed, we shall have an eye feast on the following photos. Happy viewing.

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Early Learning is fun

Sunbird’s first two weeks, looks like all had a lot of fun learning!

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nutrition truth for your toddler

Dear Parents

Every year we face a lot of questions about proper nutrition for toddlers. As we all know, this aspect is a fundamental one to growth and well being of a child, which has repercussions much later on as well. Since part of our management is a dietitian, the following link has been studied and suggested to you for your information. If you have any clarifications on this, please do not hesitate to write to us at our email. Happy studies!

https://www.coursera.org/learn/childnutrition/outline

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Who Are Our Children, Really?

Who Are Our Children, Really?

By Linda Kavelin Popov with Dan Popov, Ph.D., and John Kavelin, book excerpt

What kids are

Like an acorn, which has within it the capacity to become a towering oak, a child has great potential. All children are born with all the virtues, the gifts within, waiting to grow. You may have noticed sometime or other a plant sprouting up through the concrete of a city street. The urge for growth is one of the strongest needs of any living thing.

What a child becomes is a result of four things: nature, nurturance, opportunity, and effort. Nature is a child’s natural giftedness or virtues “profile.” Although each child has all the virtues within them in potential to one degree or another, the potential for the development of certain virtues is greater in a particular child, just as a rose has different attributes than a chrysanthemum. Nurturance is how a child is educated, how his gifts are recognized and supported, the difference between watering a plant and letting it wilt. The opportunities children have to act on their virtues give them the possibility to become who they are. A great musician of world-class creativity without an instrument may never learn of the special music she has within her. Effort is a child’s responsibility, his ability to respond to the opportunities to practice the virtues.

Ultimately it is the choice of a child to act on her own potential. It is said that God provides nature and a parent provides nurture. The child himself must choose to respond to the opportunities in his life. Choice is at the core of moral will.

We have such a short but critical time in which to have a fundamental impact on the development of the character of our children, which is the greatest asset for their happiness. Much of their character development is complete by the time they turn seven.

What kids are not

We are used to thinking of children as psychological beings who need good physical care and also affection, respect, and a healthy balance between dependence and independence. The idea of a parent as a spiritual educator builds on yet goes beyond the notion of the child as a psychological being.

The book offers a frame of reference in which a child’s need for character education is primary. A parent, as spiritual mentor, focuses first of all on facilitating the child’s moral readiness. In order to make the shift from caretaker to educator, it is helpful to let go of notions about children which are not true to their spiritual nature.

Your child is not born a blank slate upon which you will write. There is no such thing as a generic baby. True, a child’s personality and character are not fully formed. But they are “in there.” Just as an oak is in an acorn—not a spruce or a palm but an oak—each child is born with a special bundle of potential. In that bundle are three things:

  • Inherited traits
  • Individual temperament
  • Innate capacities: gifts, talents, abilities, limitations, and virtues

Spiritual parenting involves a focus on a child’s gifts and possibilities, a readiness to support them to develop all they can be—to give life their best effort.

A child is not a prince(ss) which parents warp into a frog. This is a modern notion which implies that if we left them to their own devices, children would be pure, undefiled, whole, and perfect. It contends that we are the ones who mess them up and “dethrone” them. This is a half truth. Parents do have enormous influence on children and can shape the script a child carries through life. But it is also true that left to their own devices, children are likely to take the path of least resistance, resorting to survival instincts, the animal side of their nature as material/spiritual beings. It is easier to develop the lower side of their nature, which doesn’t require them to engage their will. So children very much need a guiding hand to lead them. They are not inherently “pure.” They have the potential for both goodness and for destructiveness. Every quality they possess, every virtue, can be directed or misdirected. That’s why your role is so vital to their success.

There are many virtues that thrive only under conditions of challenge. How can one learn patience without having to wait? How would a child ever develop determination if life did not provide frustrations? How could we learn forgiveness without being hurt? If we don’t use our virtues, we lose them, just like muscle tone in the physical body. Protecting children from their challenges is running interference with the Creator. As moral champions, our children deserve more respect.

Some of the best parents have children who make very bad choices or are born with a particularly difficult temperament. How you parent is your responsibility, how they turn out is a complex and mysterious process, with many influences other than yours.

The opposititis trap

We often unconsciously project onto our children the unmet needs we had as children. If something in our childhood caused us pain—usually a lack of love—we tend to go one of two ways. Either we unconsciously repeat our parents’ behavior with our own children, or we go to the opposite extreme.

We are far more aware of wanting to correct the sins of our parents when they emerge in our behavior than to catch the more insidious habit of opposititis. For example, if our parents were very judgmental and made their affection conditional on our performance, we want to give unconditional love to our children. What that may look like, unfortunately, is giving them carte blanche acceptance no matter what they do, whether they are being rude or courteous, kind or cruel. In doing so, we are ignoring their true needs for mastery and meaning. If our parents tended to be too affectionate and sloppily sentimental, we may hold our children at arm’s length, giving them the respect and space we always craved. Meanwhile, they may be longing for more hugs.

The problem is that either way we are “reacting” to our own story rather than truly seeing our children. Our parenting becomes dictated by our needs and experiences rather than what is going on for our children. Rather than consciously treating our children as they need to be treated, we are treating them as we wish we had been treated by our parents.

The “chip off the old block” syndrome

Seeing a child for who she is, a unique individual, calls for us to detach ourselves from any expectations we may have of what the basic nature or “virtues profile” a child of ours “should” have, especially in the service of our egos. If she seems to be a quiet child who likes to read and has only one or two friends, it is not our place to try to shape her personality into that of an outgoing socialite. If we happen to be shy and have some painful memories of social awkwardness, we may feel the need to push this gentle little soul in a direction that is not hers.

Many people spend years feeling they are not enough no matter what they do. The disappointment of a parent is devastating to a child. When our children disappoint us—and they will—it is for one of several reasons. Some of these are:

  • We may not be setting clear boundaries about the specific virtues we feel are called for in a situation.
  • We have unreasonable expectations.
  • We are failing to see the individual that our child is.
  • We are reacting to some lack we feel in ourselves.
  • They are having an off day—and need a little tolerance.

Of course, we have a desire to pass on what we have learned to our children, but the truth is that they meet life with a fresh perspective. It is far more empowering to focus on the virtue of excellence or purposefulness and then to discover, with great curiosity and openness, how your child will uniquely express these virtues in his life.

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Quotes

Think not that he is all too young to teach,

His heart will like a magnet reach,

And touch the truth for which you have no speech.  Author Unknown

 

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New Beginnings

Dear Parents

Another year at Sunbird! We both like to thank our existing parents for enrolling the children again and welcome the new ones along with their little ones. As always, we at Sunbird look forward to a year where lots of fun, laughter and learning takes place. When we say learning, we also mean learning for all; students, parents and teachers alike!

Yes, you read right! Sunbird invites parents to take part in a monthly theme, choose a field trip to join the fun and  have a choice to attend three seminars!!! You will receive invites for all the above and we are looking forward to a happy cooperation.

Sunbird also will continue to support parents with useful tips on practical life skills, health and nutrition, character development etc. via articles and personal counseling.

Hang on to your hats,2014 here we come!!!!

 

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Quotes

While children are struggling to be unique, the world around them is trying all means to make them look like everybody else.

A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

 

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For Parents: Happy Holiday tips

The following tips are for all the parents , who face some obstacles with their little ones’ eating habits. These tips will enhance peaceful and happy holidays together.

MEALTIME MADNESS

Mealtime! It can be the most pleasant time of day for a family. Unfortunately, for many families, mealtimes turn into unhappy times filled with squabbles & chaos that leave everybody upset. Kids fight with each other, fuss over their food, whine & complain. Parents yell, threaten & occasionally send misbehaving youngsters away from the table crying.

Let’s find out how parents can cope with mealtime misbehaviours & enjoy peaceful meals.

On Cleaning the Plate

Q: Do you believe in insisting that children eat everything that is on their plates at the table?

A: No. I believe the less fuss you make about what your children eat, the fewer problems you will have at mealtime.

(Editor: You could have each child decide on three foods which they like the least, & have an agreement that if one of these is served they could simply not take a helping of it & just eat the rest of the meal, but all other foods they would eat cheerfully.)

The role of parents is to make nutritious food available to their children for meals & snacks. Notice the difference between making food available & insisting that the kids eat all the food served in the amounts the parents feel are appropriate. It is not the role of the parent to force a child to eat everything that is served at every meal. In fact, such attempts to force a child to eat usually result in balky, picky eaters who hassle their parents at every meal.

Rotate your menus so that each person’s favourites appear eventually & that particular dislikes don’t appear continuously.

Eliminate snacks if you feel your kids don’t eat well at mealtime. There’s nothing like an empty stomach to convince a child to eat what’s served.

If your children consistently leave food on their plates, have you considered that perhaps you are giving them too much food?

Better yet, why not put the food on the table in large bowls & let the kids help themselves? Provide small serving utensils & small plates if the kids tend to take too much food.

 

Endless Eater Needs Limits

Q: My daughter, age seven, takes a full hour to eat dinner every night. Should I ignore her because some children are just naturally slow, or is there a way to make her eat faster?

A: I don’t think there is a trait called “naturally slow” that is passed along through genetic inheritance. Children often learn to eat slowly & to dawdle, however, as a way to gain special attention from parents or to engage parents in a power struggle.

Make a decision regarding how long dinner will remain on the table in your house. Thirty minutes should be enough time for any child to eat. Before the next meal, sit down with your children & explain that mealtimes are taking too long. Explain that from now on the table will be cleared at the end of thirty minutes, & no more food will be served until the next morning. In a calm, friendly voice explain that it is their decision how quickly or slowly to eat, & that you no longer will remind or nag them to finish.

At dinner that night, clear the table without a word at the end of thirty minutes. If there is still food on your daughter’s plate, give no postmortem lecture on why she should have eaten faster, & make no prediction about how hungry she’ll be later. Remember, silence is golden when a parent is taking appropriate action.

If your daughter comes to you later complaining of hunger, be friendly, acknowledge her feelings & let her know you’re looking forward to seeing her at breakfast. Do not engage in a long discussion about eating. Do not feel sorry for her; she will not starve by going to bed hungry. You need not feel like a terrible mother because your child is hungry; it was her choice to eat very slowly.

As soon as your daughter is allowed to experience the consequences of slow eating, she will learn to eat her dinner in the allotted time.

Make Peace with Picky Eater

Q: How can I get my child to stop being a picky eater?

A: You will lose, as long as mealtime is approached as a battle. Whether we like it or not, a child is in control of what goes into his mouth & what is swallowed! Yet there are ways to entice a child into wholesome eating habits.

One way is to give a child some choice of what is to be served. The scope of the choice depends upon the child’s age. A two-year-old can be given a choice between two or three different kinds of cereal in the morning. A nine-year-old can sit with a parent & help plan the weekly menus. Planning menus is the best time, by the way, for teaching a child about nutrition.

Another way to change a picky eater’s habits is for the parents to serve only healthful, nutritious foods for both meals & snacks, to let the child eat what he wishes, & not to be concerned if the child refuses to eat a certain food.

Set the examples by eating all foods served yourself. A child who constantly hears Mom & Dad refusing various foods will assume that he has the same prerogative.

Spillers Sponge the Spills

Q: My kids are very clumsy at the table. They spill food as they take it from the serving bowls. They frequently knock over juice or milk glasses. I’m tired of cleaning up their messes!

A: Good. I’m glad you’re tired of cleaning up their messes. You can stop doing that today. The people who should be cleaning up the messes are the people who make them.

Kids can clean up spills from serving bowls with sponges or paper towels. You can avoid some of their messes by paying careful attention to the type of serving utensils you use. Ladles & plastic measuring cups with long handles used in place of spoons make it easier to scoop food without spilling.

Raw Vegetables. Some youngsters complain of being hungry an hour before dinner is served & beg for snacks. For anyone who just can’t wait, accommodate this by having a bowl of raw veggies ready. Include any combination of carrot & celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower & broccoli heads, cucumber slices & so forth. The snack itself is so light & healthful that it won’t matter if the kids eat their fill.

Clearing the Table. Everybody eats, so everybody should help clear the table. Any child old enough to sit on a regular chair at the table with the family is old enough to carry his or her own dishes from the table, scrape them & stack them appropriately. Adults are old enough too. If you clear your own dishes after eating, the kids will follow your example.

Kids Cooking. Teach each child in the family to prepare certain “specialties” for the family to enjoy. It cuts down on the parents’ work & it increases the child’s self-esteem. Give each child his own small metal box in which to file recipes. Children feel good as they watch their files expand.

Points to Remember:

* Recognise the power struggles that occur when a parent says, “Eat this,” & the child, by his stalling or picky behaviour, says, “You can’t make me.”

* The more attention a parent gives in coaxing or forcing a child to eat something, the more payoff the child gets by refusing.

* Serve only healthful, nutritious foods, for both meals & snacks. Then if your kids choose not to eat a particular food, they can have a nutritious meal by eating everything else.

* Involve the kids in planning, cooking & serving meals.

Excerpts from the article :  LINDA ALBERT’S ADVICE FOR COPING WITH KIDS–By Linda Albert

 

 

 

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Graduation Day 2014

Congratulations to all our children for a year completed with much progress. The performance on Graduation Day gave insight to and made all the parents proud of what their little ones had mastered during the past year. Pictures display the following:

Brachiation : ( Movement in which the suspended body swings by the arms from one hold to another) in which the early                                           cortex is functional and  brachiation stimulates coordination

rolling in a disciplined manner : a part of the fundamental active balance program

“Bridge” : a part of the fundamental active balance program and a ‘primer’ for the eventual backward somersault

Sunbird Early Learning Centre philosophy is that a big part of early learning is early mobility. This stimulates the brain and will enhance other early learning skills, such as reading, maths, creativity, etc.

Creative story telling is another emphasised activity in Sunbird. There are already some young ones, picking up on the skill and narrating their own stories in front of an audience.

Reading comes natural to children, if they are introduced into it early. Reading a book at four years old isn’t that much of a challenge after all.

The ‘wheels’ on the bus is an all time favorite in the school. The youngsters performed three dances and action songs. Since they are well associated with movement, doing such things is a piece of cake!

 

Every student received a certificate for their outstanding qualities or completion of a class. The Graduation Day ended with a grand finale of all the parents inviting everyone to a sumptous potluck lunch. Thank you

 

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