Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents
We hope you have been able to implement these suggestions with your little ones. Here is Part 3:


There is such a beauty in the Earth. Joy comes through sensing it–with all five senses. I remember a poet I knew who wrote mostly of the Earth, who saw so much in the World that I didn’t see. He had a sign on his wall that said, “Five Sense Sagacity.” I asked him about it. He said that serendipity, which means happy accidents, pleasant surprises, comes about through sagacity, which means acute awareness, appreciation, sensitivity, which in turn comes about through applied, thorough use of all five senses. Think about that for a moment; it is quite a message: Happiness comes through awareness.

The Child’s Perspective

Our son Josh was fifteen months old & it was April. The Summer before, he had been too small to be outside much, so, on this first warm day of the year, he was seeing the backyard for the first time. I watched him in silence from the window. He started with the grass, first feeling it, then sitting down in it, moving his legs back & forth, so delighted that he laughed aloud. Then he lay down, mouth open with an expression of anticipation, as he felt the grass with the back of his head & neck. From that position he noticed the sky & the clouds. He lifted both arms, pointed both forefingers, formed a round O with his little mouth, & said, with a tone of reverence & amazement, “Oooh!”
Then a bird chirped in the nearby tree. Josh cocked his head, a little startled, not sure where the sound had come from. The bird chirped again. This time Josh saw where it was. He stood up & toddled toward the tree. The bird swooped down, floated twenty yards or so, & landed on the lawn. Josh followed the flight with a look of delight & utter amazement. As he watched, motionless, the bird began his staccato pecking at the grass & an instant later pulled up a squirming, wiggling worm. Josh shook his head, as if in disbelief, & started shuffling toward the bird. The bird fluttered back up into the tree, chirping all the way.
Josh repeated his earlier cloud gesture, pointing up at the bird with both hands & saying, “Oooh!”

How To

Teach the Earth’s terminology.
1. Look together at large picture books of animals, trees & flowers. Point to a picture & have the children say the name, or you say the name & have them point.
2. Point at things in nature wherever you go–point & say the names.
3. Involve the children in picnics, nature walks, exposure to the out-of-doors. At zoos or botanical gardens, or at home in the backyard, notice nature. Talk about it; ask the children to tell about it.
Teach deep appreciation for the Earth.
1. Take nature walks. You don’t have to be in the woods or mountains; a vacant field or park will do. Point out things, but without too much explanation let the children explore. If you find an ant hill, stop to watch. Ask what the ants are doing. Ask lots of questions to help the children figure things out. Take nature walks to the same place in all four seasons, & ask, “How have things changed?”
2. Teach children to distinguish nature from nonnature. On nature walks, ask them to find things that are not nature’s–cans, paper, litter. Point out that Man’s things are not as beautiful as those in nature; show that each little thing in nature is unique, while Man’s things are often mass-produced.
3. Paste up a collage from each season. Look through magazines together for pictures.
4. Watch & feed birds.
5. Have pets. Learn about them & how to take care of them.
Teach the joys of the use of nature.
1. Milk a cow, drink the milk & make butter. Gather eggs & cook them.
2. Have a nature meal, with honey, eggs, milk & home-baked bread.
3. While the question of “where things come from” is still on the children’s minds, place some of the following objects in a box. Set or hold it high enough that the children cannot see inside. Give each child a turn to reach in & take out one object & then try to tell where it comes from. Give what explanations are necessary. (Item examples: Carrot, banana, apple, bread, can of tuna, honey, milk, raisins, cereal, hot dog, cotton, woolen mittens, wood, glass, paper.)
4. Play a “riddle game” with the children. Say, “I’m thinking of something that is part of our wonderful World. I’ll tell you some things about it & then see if you can guess what it is that I’m thinking about. If you think you know, raise your hand, but don’t say anything until I say, `What is it?'”
* “I’m thinking of something that is green. It grows. Sometimes it is small. Sometimes it grows very tall. It has leaves. Sometimes fruit grows on it. What is it?” (A tree.)
* “I’m thinking of something that is up in the sky. It is white. We see it mostly at night. It is round. It shines & gives us light. What is it?” (The moon.)

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Gym Time

Breathe! That is an important  part of Sunbird’s daily gym time. Correct posture and breathing the right way is taught every other day in the form of baby yoga, where the little ones are learning to master their movements. As with all other exercises, the sessions are kept short and lively and always stop before the children want to stop. Enjoy some pics in Gym Time!



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Drama Class Update

Hello everybody, Sunbird is happy to announce that the Drama class is picking up. Parents are giving us feed back, of how the children are using mimics in their conversations and starting to “act” out certain activities. Joseph has been coming regularly now for almost a month. Each Wednesday, he is bringing new tools to make the class lively and exciting. Enjoy the pictures of a duck (sculpted balloon) and a lion (puppet) story.

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Most of us end up with no more than

five or six people that remember us.

Teachers have thousands of people

who remember them for the rest of their lives.       Andrew A. Rooney


               H A P P Y  T E A C H E R’S  D A Y

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Thank You Teachers, it is Your Day

There is a long list to describe what teachers are, but here are two favorites for our teachers!

Teachers are great resource centers. They are constantly involved in the learning process. Hence they are accumulating learning from two perspectives–from their own discoveries, and from the experiences of their pupils.

Successful teachers share certain traits that have contributed greatly to their success. For one thing, they prize creativity. For another thing, they know how and when to maintain discipline. They can also judge and evaluate people accurately. They have a sense of humour. And they have open minds–they are alert to new ideas and new developments in teaching.

                                                             H A P P Y  T E A C H E R ‘S  D A Y

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gardening and greens

This was a theme in August in Sunbird. For three weeks all students took time to plant, water and watch their little seeds sprout to little green shoots. Along with their teachers they planted ragi, mehti, mustard seeds. Their patience was rewarded and after taking the plants home, most students replanted their material into clay pots. A big thank you to all the parents who helped taking the lively ‘Sunbirds’ to the majestic vast and colorful Lalbagh park. Great teamwork!!



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Sunbird went to Assam

Sunbird is proud to announce the amazing trip to Assam. Well, to be precise, our parents from there brought Assam to Sunbird.  They are busy people but took the time to come over in their Assamese traditional outfits. They showed us where their home is, which the children learned lies far away from Bangalore. Traditional food, music and instruments, animals, plants and much more were presented in a lively power point.  In the end, all got treated to some Assamese sweets! Thank you, Prantika and Atanu!

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Teaching Children JOY

Dear Parents
We hope you liked Part 1 of this article. Here is part 2. Looking forward to your feedback.

The Child’s Perspective

Here is a conversation I had with my three-year-old.
“Why do you have a body?”
“To skip with!”
“To skip with?”
“I see. What’s the best part of your body?”
“The eyes.”
“‘Cause I see the flowers.”
“But the nose is too, ’cause I smell them.”
“Do you hear them?”
“No, but if you close your eyes you do hear teensy little things.”
“Like what?”
“Wind & trees.”
“How do they sound?”
“Swish, swish, but quieter than that.”
“Any other part of the body you like?”
“The tongue to talk–you hold onto it & you can’t talk–try it–say my name.”
“See!” (Laughter)
“Shawni, does your body make you happy?”
“My body is the happy!”
The spontaneous delight & built-in curiosity of little children make them receptive to the joy of the body. They are perfect pupils, but they still need teachers. The sensing equipment is built in–they receive the sensation–but they need to interpret it to feel its joy. A child’s senses are more acute than ours, but the joy of the body lies in understanding what we sense, & that is where the teaching comes in.

How To

Learning the name of the body parts.
1. Play “Simon Says.” The leader gives various commands. “Touch your tummy.” “Lift your left foot.” “Close your eyes.” The rest of the players follow a command only if it is preceded by “Simon Says.”
2. Play “Hoky Poky.” Players stand in a circle & act out this rhyme: “You put your left foot in, you put your left foot out, you put your left foot in & you shake it all about. You do the Hoky Poky & you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about–hey!” Rhyme is repeated with each part of the body.
3. Make a large puzzle of the body out of heavy cardboard pieces for children to put together. As they do, they name each part & tell what it can do.
Teaching appreciation for the body.
1. “What is it?” game. Blindfold the children. Then let them hear & smell & touch & taste various things & try to identify them. Use things with interesting textures (sandpaper, cotton, polished stones); different sounds (bottled water, marbles in a box, a bell); distinct odors (perfume, popcorn, pickles); distinct tastes (sugar, salt, peanut butter).
2. Teach appreciation of the human body over other bodies. Pretend you are an elephant, bird or squirrel–what can you do? What can’t you do? (Walk on two legs, pick up things with your fingers, talk, walk while carrying something.) Now pretend you are a plant–what can’t you do? (Almost everything.)
3. Relate the senses to their uses. Make a chart with six columns. List the five senses across the top of the chart in columns two through six. Let the children pick items to list down the left column & put checks in the appropriate columns for the senses that perceive them. Examples: Wind–we hear it, feel it. A hot dog–we smell it, feel it, taste it, see it.
4. Talk about each activity afterward; recall it with glee. Say, “Wasn’t it great to see which senses we use?” “Wasn’t it fun to identify the sound?” Also, while the activity is actually taking place, try to find opportunities to say, “Isn’t this fun?” “Aren’t our bodies great?” (Note: This is a key throughout the process of teaching children joy. During & after each experience with joy, help the child to identify the joy & be conscious that he is feeling it, so that he wants it & recognises it the next time.)
Use & development of bodily skills.
1. Dancing & marching. Use a variety of music, ranging from light, fairylike ballet to heavy soldier marches. The stronger the rhythm the better. Encourage freedom of movement & lack of inhibition: “Try to kick the ceiling.” “Look like a big tree swaying in the breeze.”
2. Learning to catch a ball. Few abilities give a child a greater sense of physical confidence & satisfaction. A large foam or sponge ball is easy to catch, a good first step.
3. Hearing game. Record some common sounds & play them for the children. See if they can identify them, for example:
Doorbell ringing
Corn popping
Blowing of bubbles (straw in soap solution)
Toilet flushing
4. Outside obstacle course. If your yard conditions permit, set up outside some of the following things to form an obstacle course:
* a six- to eight-foot-long 2×4 beam, set up on two bricks (one on each end) for the children to walk along.
* Old tires laid down in a row, to walk on or in.
* A rope stretched between two trees, eight or ten inches from the ground to jump over.
* A large inflated inner tube to climb over.
* Large cardboard cartons with one end open & a hole cut in the other end or the top for the children to crawl into & climb out of.
Be creative. Look around your yard or garage for additional ideas. Be sure the materials are free of slivers, nails, or other hazards & are on a safe surface so the children will not get hurt if they fall. Caution the children against pushing. Everyone should go in the same direction.
Care of the body.
1. Show children pictures of two people: One an “In-shape” athlete, one a sagging, out-of-shape person. List the things one does that the other doesn’t do: Exercises, eats good food, keeps himself clean, gets enough sleep, etc.
2. Identify “healthful” & “sometimes” foods. You will need a flannelboard, a piece of yarn to divide the flannelboard into two sections & several food pictures cut from magazines (coloured ones are best). Prepare each picture for the flannelboard by gluing a piece of flannel on the back. Put the pictures in a box.
Ask the children to tell you some food that helps them to be well & strong. Then ask them to name some foods that taste good but that we should not eat too often (cake, cookies & other sweets). Then say, “In this box I have some pictures of foods that are very good for you & also some foods that we will call `sometime foods’, those that we should not eat too much of. This side of the flannelboard will be for the healthful foods & that side for `sometime foods’.

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Independence Day 2014

The day began with a hearty play outdoors and ended with hilarious performances by our young dancers! It was great to see all perform so carefree and happy! What a way to celebrate the Spirit of Freedom! Enjoy the pictures!
















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Drama in Sunbird!

Drama in Sunbird! What do you mean?

Indeed, “Drama Bugs” is the newest thing in Sunbird. Introducing to you our creative art teacher, Joseph.
Joseph is not new to Sunbird. He has been there for a while, entertaining the children with puppet shows and lending a supportive hand with many improvements in the school.
Joseph is involved in various activities with an NGO, where he spends many hours with underprivileged children.
Also known as Jockel the Clown, he changes into a role of art, drama and humor. He comes around for birthday parties and has a lot of tricks up his sleeve.
(You can contact him at 8105117653 and see his blog on http://www.jockeltheclown.blogspot.in)

Now Sunbird is privileged to have him once a week for drama class. It is a part of the after care curriculum and enhances children’s interpersonal skills. Enjoy the fun moments captured with him.

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To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.    John Ruskin

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Lots of New Learning

Sunbird students explore new means of learning in various ways; a feast of new experiences for all senses. Thanks to all the parents who contributed! Enjoy the crisscross photos clicked throughout the first term.

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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.


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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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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