Importance of Play


Play is a vital learning medium for a child. In a sense, play is his work. Sunbird students get a lot of opportunities to play, ‘make believe’ time while developing  good friendships at the same time. The toys provided are durable to provide the support  for their play time. Enjoy Sunbird’s happy children ‘at work’.



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Quote for the Month

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

–Maya Angelou

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Sunbird’s First Art Exhibition

Dear Reader

The title may come as a surprise, but the intention was just that, to put the children in touch with the professionals of the many areas of learning. Sandhya Sirsi, who invited them to her atelier just a couple of months ago, graciously agreed to hold a exhibiton, with the intention to bring the children and their parents closer to art!! As a continued program, Sunbird is now open on Saturdays for art classes for adults, where the build up happens of six weeks modules. Please do get in touch if interested.

Sunbird wishes its readers a Happy Diwali with posititveness and prosperity for the coming year!

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Learning Pays Off

The children enjoy learning in the afternoons as well. Some of the following pictures are taken of our after care children. Again, lots of repetition brings forth the desired results.Whether play or being guided by a teacher, every moment is a great learning experience. Our piano teacher spices up the musical experience on Tuesdays and has a great ability to get the children interested. He is a well sought after  piano teacher in another music academy. Enjoy the outdoor pics!

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Prime-Time Parenting Part 3

Dear parents, we hope this series is a beneficial write up of how to make  the best of the time with the children. Below are some tips given to address and remedy some misconceptions about time with children. You will also find good tips on benefits of one parent spending time with the child. Happy reading!!!


The Problem of Not Enough Time

One parent expressed the problem in these words: “There is never enough time to get everything done at home that needs to be done. It is the same on the weekends. Just about the time I feel I have everything done in the home, and want to settle down with the kids or do something for myself, it’s Monday morning again.”

There’s always something to do, whether you’re a full-time working parent, a part-time working parent, or a non-working parent. The important thing is to realise that your children are the first priority. The rest of the time must be planned accordingly. Once a mother chooses to work, it is impossible for her to continue to do everything she did when she was a non-working parent. You have to make choices & decide what is really important for you, & eliminate the rest or find other ways to accomplish the same things.

Here are some solutions that may help you find more time to be with your children.

  1. Take turns. In order to stretch time to meet all your commitments, it is vital to share responsibilities. Such sharing must be flexible, based on the individual’s needs & the particular situation. If one parent tries to shoulder all the responsibilities in one particular area all the time, he or she is likely to feel overwhelmed, resentful, & exhausted.

Some families utilize this concept creatively by allowing each parent “free” evenings. Prime time with one parent is better than halfhearted time with two. Monday & Wednesday are Mom’s evenings to go shopping, write letters, visit friends, or whatever. Dad knows that Tuesday & Thursday is his time off. Just an hour to do your own thing can give you a new lease on life & you will return to your children with renewed energy & enthusiasm for parenting.

  1. Establish a routine. It can save precious time, since everyone knows what to do next & what his or her responsibilities are. It is also true that when children know what to expect, they can be more helpful.

Children, especially young children, need the consistency that routines assure. As a nursery school teacher I often observed the difficulties that a child had when a mother worked irregular hours. The child would be brought to the center at various times–in the middle of a story, during art time, or even halfway through naptime. These children usually had severe adjustment problems–unless they were highly adaptable children. Farewell time was especially difficult since they never knew when Mom would show up again. If the parent brought the child to nursery school on a regular schedule, the child could adapt more easily to the idea of separation.

All children need a regular time each day at home with their parents. Both children & parents are growing & changing daily, & if you habitually miss daily time together, you soon realise that you don’t know each other very well. In addition, there is a warm sense of security that pervades children when they know their parents are consistently there when they need them.

  1. First things first. Limit newspaper reading & watch 30 minutes of daily news on TV instead or listen to the radio while you are involved in another activity. Limit TV viewing. Let the nonessentials wait. As you plan your day or evening, list everything you’d like to do, then rank these items in terms of their importance & level of interest for you. Start the day–or evening–with the most essential, highest-interest activity & proceed from there. Prime time is too short to get bogged down with nonessentials.
  2. Think convenience. When you decorate your home think about convenience. Semigloss paint is easier to wash than flat. Waxing floors is a hassle; choose nonwax vinyls. Cleaning up spills is much easier on a tiled or vinyl floor surface than a carpeted surface. Never buy a knickknack unless you really want to invest time in dusting it.

Fresh flowers may boost your spirits. If so, fine. If not, decorate your home with dry flower arrangements.

When organising the kitchen, place everyday tableware at a level easily accessible to the children. They can more readily set the table & unload the dishwasher this way.

  1. Limit non-family outside social activities. Instead, plan social activities that include the family. Don’t be afraid to ask, “Mind if we bring the kids along?” When entertaining business associates, why not invite them home for a simple meal & an evening with your family, rather than subjecting them to another restaurant? They probably will never forget the occasion.
  2. Wait until the kids are in bed. The evening hours–from the moment you walk through the door after work until the children’s bedtime–should be prime time for the children. For most kids, these hours are the best part of their day. And if you aren’t careful, this prime time will be eaten up by various projects that, with a little planning, could be scheduled after the kids’ bedtime.
  3. Get organised. Work efficiency is diminished in the midst of chaos. Searching for lost objects can waste valuable minutes. Effective organisation does take time, but it takes less time to handle things consistently than to wait until a situation has grown out of proportion.

If the children are encouraged to keep their rooms neat, cleaning is relatively simple. But when clothes, books, & toys are left scattered all over the floor, both children & parents panic at the sight. How much better to stay on top of clutter!

  1. Don’t go it alone. The most successful prime-time parent does not do all of the housework, cooking, laundering, and yard care alone. We all need help & support, even if it’s just emotional support.
  2. Plan special ways to spend time together. Every family has to find its own special ways & times to get together. Carefully consider your favourite group activities & plan specific ways your family can participate in these activities more often.
  3. Pretend Mommy’s in Africa. Every prime-time parent occasionally must spend extra time on a project in order to meet a deadline. When children’s emotional needs are adequately filled on a regular basis, they can usually cope with short periods of less parental attention. When this happens in our family we play the “Pretend Mommy’s in Africa” game. I’m always pleasantly surprised by the self-sufficiency my children exhibit during these times. They even pride themselves on helping me with my normal housework & meal preparation activities.

During an “African trip” to finish this book, a note was pushed under my study door. “Dear Mom, Do you have time to fly home & give us a back rub before bed? Yes?___ No?___ Love, Kim, Kari, & Kevin.” I marked “yes,” & delivered the answer in person. After all, I’m a prime-time parent!


The Problem of Guilt

Guilt is another problem of working parents. What happens when you bottle up negative guilt feelings? Let’s consider a typical, imaginary situation. You have had a particularly hard week. The boss demanded that you work overtime, & you didn’t get home until after the children’s bedtime. You feel guilty that you haven’t spent more time with the children. On Monday, you realise you’re beginning to feel depressed. You can hardly get up in the morning & get the children off to school. You arrive at work full of resentment toward the job & toward your boss who makes so many demands. Because you feel guilty, depressed, & resentful, you can’t seem to get organised & your efficiency is significantly reduced. By 5 p.m. you still have a stack of work on your desk & you’re feeling guilty about your work load. You come home frustrated & yell at the children for innocently giggling & goofing around. They stop immediately & put their arms around you, saying, “We’re sorry, mom.” You push them away. “I just need to be alone,” you tell them. Later, when the house is quiet, you begin to feel guilty about screaming at the children. Is there no way out of this endless cycle of guilt?

Now, replay the scene with a few modifications. When you wake up on Monday, face those feelings of depression & guilt. After thinking about some possible solutions, you make up your mind: No more overtime. It just cuts too deeply into your time with the family. Making that decision is a relief, although you’re somewhat scared to tell the boss. You kiss the kids good-bye with a cheery, “See you at five.” When you get to work, you confront your boss immediately. “I felt guilty all last week because I couldn’t spend more time with my children, so I’d rather not work overtime any more. I’m willing to work lunch hours, but my children need me after school. They are disappointed when I’m late. I’m sorry, but I hope you can understand my decision.”

What was the difference between the two scenarios? In the first, you felt guilty, but you didn’t do anything about the feelings & they continued to build up. In the second, you recognised the feelings & took constructive action. As a result, the feelings disappeared.

Working parents often blame themselves (or the fact that they are working), for their children’s problems. Friends, neighbours, & relatives can increase such guilt feelings by wagging their tongues & fingers disapprovingly, “If only she’d stay home & be a mother, she wouldn’t have problems with her children.” Research does not support this idea. Nonworking mothers have as many problems with their children as working mothers. If a mother is happy, whether she is working or not, her children tend to be fairly well adjusted.

However you choose to deal with guilt, do not allow occasional guilt feelings to affect your parenting. The following list includes the most common child-rearing mistakes made by guilty parents.

  1. Overprotecting the child. “I’m not home very often, so I want to compensate by being with my child whenever I’m home & carefully monitoring her time when I’m not home.” Children thrive on age-related independence–not smothering.
  2. Giving unnecessary gifts. Some parents believe that they can make up for their absence by giving gifts. Presents never take the place of parental presence.
  3. Giving in to demands. Children often play on a parent’s guilt feelings to get what they want. Parents fall into this trap by trying to meet every desire & whim of their child. In such situations, the child runs the home–and it’s not a happy place for either parent or child.
  4. Feeling sorry for the child. “Oh, you poor dear. I feel so sorry for you when I have to work. You don’t have a mommy here when you get home from school.” This attitude only encourages the child to feel sorry for himself. Instead, help your child to see the benefits that can be derived from your work.
  5. Allowing the child to escape home responsibilities. “After all, this poor child has a mommy who works, so the least I can do is to make it up to him by doing his chores & picking up after him.” Balderdash!
  6. Ignoring misbehavior. “I don’t want to deal with my child since I’m home so little. I’ll leave that to the babysitter. I want my child to like me, so I’ll just ignore the bad things he does.” This attitude is particularly dangerous because you are encouraging your child to exhibit more of this bad behaviour.

Children need parents who are willing to parent–and that includes healthy doses of both love & discipline. Don’t deny your child his valuable training because you feel guilty about working. Instead, do your best, keep happy, apologize when you fail, & plan ways to avoid repeating the mistake.


The Problem of Illness & Fatigue

Most parents don’t consider the possibility of fatigue & illness, whether their own or their child’s, when they plan their life with children. Stark reality is expressed vividly by Jayme Curley, a working mother who wrote in her diary, “Shana has caught the cold I have just recovered from. David & I were up six times with her last night, she was sweaty & coughing. Of the 203 days of her life, she has been sick 50 days with colds, two with stomachaches. I’ve been sick 74 days with colds & the breast infections. David, 15 days with colds. What a mess we’ve been.”

How do prime-time parents cope with illness & fatigue? Prevention is the best answer. As one mother told me, “I don’t have time to be sick, so I put all my effort into prevention.”



There are three general principles to follow to prevent illness & fatigue.

  1. Keep your family in good physical condition. If you have a minor problem, have it taken care of immediately.
  2. Maintain good eating habits, drink plenty of water, and don’t indulge in harmful practices such as drinking alcohol, taking drugs or smoking.
  3. Use your body carefully. Get plenty of rest & regular exercise. Do not abuse yourself with inactivity or drive yourself too hard.


Coping with Fatigue

If fatigue is your problem, be sure to get enough sleep each night & take a few catnaps during the day. Find a place where you can nap during your break time. When you return home, take a 15-minute nap before settling into the evening routine.

Exercise is a good way to get rid of fatigue. Get up for five minutes every hour & move around briskly enough to feel your heart pump a little harder. Try a number of exercises to stretch & move each part of your body. If your office building has stairs, use them. If the lounge has space to jump rope–jump. If there is a recreational facility at your place of employment or nearby, use the swimming pool, racketball or volleyball courts, or the gym.

Diet not only affects your general health, it can also affect your level of fatigue. Diets that are high in sugars, starches, & fats have a way of slowing down the system. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of energy foods, such as vegetables & good protein.

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Sunbird October Birthdays

Congratulations to Atse and Advay on their birthdays in October. Atse is the first student to have a party in our premises. There were old and new friends that came and everyone had fun with the clown, the musicians, the sword fights and the games!! It was a magical time and thanks to all who made it possible!

Advay too enjoyed his birthday, when the grandparents and cousins came to celebrate in school! Advay is with us for quite some time and learned to speak and walk in Sunbird! Congratulations, our four year old birthday boy is a polite and studious young man! Happy Birthday to both! We are proud to have you!

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A Glimpse Through Our Themes

This is a compilation of theme pictures for you to enjoy. One was titled: ‘Seven Wonders of the World’, where the children attempted to recreate some famous buildings, another was titled:’ Nagaland’, which was culturally very enriching, thanks to Sharon (!) and the recent one was from the week of sign language, where they attempted to learn to speak with their hands. The excursion to a government school for the deaf was the conclusion of the theme. Thanks to all the parents who contributed art and craft items generously towards these deaf children.

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Sunbird Quote of the Month

Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.      Rabindranath Tagore

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Sunbird is proud to present you the first art exhibition on the coming weekend. In our relentless effort to be creative, we would like to popularize the local art professionals. As you may remember, last year the students had an amazing encounter with Kalyan Rathore the sculptor and artist. Let us celebrate Dussera with artist SANDHYA SIRSI. She has given already one art class to the students and is planning to introduce art classes also for non Sunbird students and adults on Saturdays. Looking forward to see you!!!

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Birthdays September 2015

Congratulations to our sweet little princesses, which bring us so much joy and love!!

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Prime-Time-Parenting Pt.2


Parents who have highly demanding jobs must rely on someone else to take the major responsibility for child care. Taking sole responsibility for parenting (child care) while holding down a full-time job is like trying to light a candle with just half of a match–it’s a lot easier to get your fingers burned. And the chances of lighting the candle properly are just not as good. Sometimes it works–if it’s a fairly easy candle to light or if the candle is older & has been lit before–but sometimes it does not. Some candles are just harder to light than others & require more time, & it’s the same way with children. Some children are more difficult to rear & they simply require more time from one or a variety of caregivers.

Qualifications of the Caregiver

  1. The caregiver should be supportive of the parents. Leslie, the mother of three small boys, was going through a very difficult period in her life. She was forced to keep a demanding full-time job because her husband did not have a regular job & was very irresponsible about his family obligations. Leslie had searched for the right type of care for her children & finally found another mother of three who was willing to watch her boys for a reasonable rate. Leslie promised to pick up her children before suppertime each evening. But she was not able to keep her promise on certain evenings when her husband took their only car & did not return on time. This, of course, infringed on the caregiver’s family because they wanted to have supper alone. The caregiver would put the three little boys in another room & feed her own children. When the boys would cry, “We’re hungry,” the caregiver would say, “I’m sorry. Your mother promised to be here to pick you up before supper & if she really cared about you & loved you she would be here.”

Such a seemingly innocent remark. But in reality this was much more painful to these little boys than a spanking would have been. When this was said every time Leslie was unable to pick up her children on time, it slowly destroyed the children’s belief that their mother really loved & cared about them. And in their confusion of feelings they began to reason that if their mother, their very own mother, did not love & care for them, then they must not be very worthwhile little people.

Do not let this happen to your children. Be very careful to communicate with the caregiver so she can support you & help your children understand how much you love them even though you must be away from them part of the day.

  1. The caregiver should be a master at combining love & discipline. Too often, babysitters allow the child to get away with anything. On the other extreme, they may dictate & punish the child into submission.
  2. The caregiver should be open & willing to learn. It is difficult to work with anyone who thinks that she knows all the answers. A caregiver should be open to new suggestions, & should not feel threatened when you disagree. She should be capable of making good decisions without having to ask you for detailed instructions. On the other hand, don’t abdicate your responsibility as the parent & take a back seat when it comes to child rearing.
  3. The caregiver should be the kind of person you want your children to grow up to be. Because children are master imitators, you want them to spend time with someone who has personality traits that you will enjoy seeing exhibited in your children’s behaviour. Look for a happy, enthusiastic, optimistic person who loves children. Next, look for evidence of orderliness, honesty, integrity, firmness to principle, & patience.
  4. The caregiver should be willing to teach your child. A good caregiver should be willing to teach whenever the teachable moment occurs. If everyone is sunbathing outside & your child is busy watching a line of ants & asks, “Where are the ants going?” you don’t want the caregiver to say, “I’m reading a book, don’t bother me.” Rather, you want her to put down the book, get up & say, “That’s a good question. Let’s follow them as far as we can.” Your children should have every learning opportunity that they would have if you were home with them full time.


Some children have a difficult time adjusting to new situations. Even though the situation seems ideal to you, your child may not be happy with the care that you have arranged. To ease your child’s adjustment, let him get to know the caregiver in your presence. Act confident & matter-of-fact about the decision that you have made. If your child perceives that you are hesitant about the childcare arrangements & feel guilty about leaving him, he is more likely to put on a good crying show for you & give you plenty of reasons for staying. If you feel confident, that attitude will help your child to adjust to the new experience.

Don’t be surprised if your child breaks down in a flood of tears when you return, even though he may have been happy & contentedly playing while you were away. This is natural. He has experienced many emotions during your absence & the sight of a familiar person will release all these emotions at once.

Questions about Child Care

1.How do you handle your own jealousy when your child seems to like the babysitter more than you?

Answer: Spend more time with your child. This is a sign that you have not spent enough quality time together with your child, so your relationship has not continued to grow. Be thankful you have found a person your child enjoys so much. If the caregiver is supportive of you, you have nothing to worry about.

  1. What guidelines should I give my school age children when I leave them alone? (Editor: It’s far preferable to never be faced with this kind of situation except in extreme emergencies. It’s much safer to make sure a responsible adult is with your children almost continually. However, these tips are helpful should such an emergency occur, & are also good to share with friends who may be parents of such “latch-key kids.”)

Answer: It is important to give them the following common-sense instructions:

  1. Keep the doors locked, even if you only leave the house for a short time. Keep an extra key holder outside the house in case you lose your keys.
  2. If someone comes to the door, don’t open it unless you recognise both the name & the voice. Don’t tell anyone that you are home alone. Politely ask them to come back later, or ask them to go next door if they need help.
  3. Don’t give your name when answering the phone. Don’t tell a caller that you are alone. Take a message & tell the caller that your parents will return the call.
  4. If you receive a crank call, hang up immediately.
  5. Don’t entertain friends without first getting parental permission.
  6. If in doubt about the safety or sensibleness of an activity, ask your parents’ approval first.
  7. Be predictable. Be where your parents expect you to be at the time they expect.
  8. Keep emergency phone numbers handy.
  9. Write down the procedure to follow in case of an emergency, such as fire, accident, or illness.
  10. Keep the house neat & do what you can to prepare for your parents’ arrival. For example: Finish your chores and your homework; start dinner if you have your parents’ approval; and think of something you can do to pleasantly surprise your parents.
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Organic Farming Part 2

Hello everyone, we are back with the second excursion to a flower nursery and an organic farm that we visited last month. The children got  busy themselves and planted fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, spinach, onion and radish seeds. Now after diligently watering the plants for a month, the little plants are surfacing. We also already had one harvest of fenugreek leaves. The children learned that little things like diligently watering will bring fruits and they were excited that it all payed off.

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To all art lovers

At Sunbird, we encourage and introduce all the arts, crafts, music and important sciences available. This time, at the graceful invitation of the Sirsi’s, Sunbird headed out to their home. The Field trip proved to be quite the entertainment. Besides the atelier in the home, the familiy Sirsi explained the outdoors, which was amazing. Everyone was captured at so many new things to be learned. Thank you, dear Family Sirsi, for opening the door to us and of course, Sandhya for all the lovely work the children were able to admire.

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Quote of the month

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

–Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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Sunbird Goes Organic 1

Everyone at Sunbird has welcomed the rain these past weeks. The children have been introduced into farming and gardening. The theme was ‘South Indian Flora’. It is so rich in variety, that it was a difficult choice for the teachers to pick the ‘right’ plants, vegetables and herbs. So as a start, Sunbird students visited an organic farm of a friend nearby. He explained the way he looks after his vegetables and fruits. The children also learned about the word ‘irrigation’. Thereafter, they loved to ‘dig’ themselves into our own little ‘Sunbird earth.’ with the help of Albert, the master farmer.

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