Getting There


Last time I tried to give three-year-old Josh a bath, the big new shampoo bottle was empty. “Did you dump it out, Josh?” His brow furrowed as he anticipated the worst. “Yes, Dad.” We have a family law against “dumping,” and Josh knows the law, so he needed a little punishment. But I praised him so much for telling the truth that it outbalanced the punishment.
As I dried Josh, I had candor and honesty on my mind and happened to hear Saren, now six, in whom we had tried so hard to preserve that quality. She was in her bedroom with a new friend from school. They were discussing their dolls.
Saren: “This doll has a problem. Her skirt has lost its elastic, so it slips right off.”
Friend: Let’s tie a string around it.”
(Silence for several minutes.)
Saren: It scares me when Miss Christie calls on me to read in school. Does it scare you?
Friend: A little.
Saren: I’m getting over it, though.
Friend: The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Saren: I guess so. There, we got the skirt almost ready.
Friend: Saren, do you like me?
Saren: Of course, silly. I like everything about you.
Friend: Everything?
Saren: Except I didn’t like it when you played with Patty at recess–but Mommy says I was just jealous.
Friend: What’s jealous?
Saren: Not wanting someone to have more fun than you.
Friend: I like you, too, Saren.
To be honest, to be open, to talk freely about the real feelings–what a joy!

How To

Example. Be as real and open as your children are. Verbalise your real feelings, fears and insecurities as well as your joys and loves. Show control, but show honesty! Tell them how you feel–“I’m upset about what happened this afternoon, so I got angrier with you than I should have.” Never let them hear you lie about anything to anyone.
Reinforcement and praise. Whatever they get attention for, they’ll probably do again; whatever they get praise for, they’ll very likely do again; whatever they get joy and praise out of, they’ll almost certainly do again. Encourage them to always tell how they feel–to tell not only you, but also other family members, teachers and friends.
Honesty discussion. Ask the children, “Do you know what it means to tell the truth?” Add to the children’s answers, if necessary, to bring out that telling the truth means to tell things as they are: What really happened, what you really think and how you really feel.
Questions & Answers. Example of a question: If you accidentally bumped into your mother’s plant and knocked some leaves off it and then told Mother that the baby pulled them off, would that be telling the truth? (No) What would that be? (A lie.)
Before going on to the next situation, ask, “How do you think you would feel if you told a lie?” (Sad, bad, worried, ashamed, awful.)
Another question example: What if you forgot to wash your hands for lunch and your mother said, “Did you wash your hands?” If you said, “No, I forgot,” would that be telling the truth? (Yes.)
Bedtime is a good time for a little honest, important dialogue between parent and child. Years ago we started a tradition of asking each child as he was tucked in, “What was your `happy’ and your `sad’ today?” Children like to think back through the day to recognise and talk about emotions. “My happy was when my friend came over to play,” or “when I got two snacks,” or “when I jumped in the leaf pile,” or “when Daddy came home.” “My sad was when Lisa wouldn’t play with me after school,” or “when I couldn’t hop very well in hopscotch,” or “when I cut my finger,” or “I didn’t have any sads today.”
The answers open up quick, golden chances to talk about real feelings. “How did it feel to play with Susan?” “Why do you suppose Lisa wouldn’t play? Did something sad happen to her?”

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Getting There

Dear parents and friends In case you have been wondering, where Sunbird had flown off to, we have good news: The new premises are just about ready!! Here are the projected last stages: Week 3 May 2015: Interiors finished, Exteriors finished Week 4 May 2015: Ready to accept new students, final adjustments Save the date: 30 / 31 May 2015: CARNIVAL AT SUNBIRD. By next week we shall keep you posted with the exact program for the Carnival.

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More Joys


When I was growing up, I knew a group of brothers and sisters, schoolmates of mine. I was always impressed because they seemed so unconcerned about being with the “in group” or the “right people.” They didn’t even care much about wearing the newest thing, the latest style. They were all friendly, though, and all well liked. They seemed so secure, unafraid of failure.
Each of the six had his own personality, but all possessed one similar quality, a quality that I grew to greatly admire. It was a peace, a calm, a security, a naturalness, a confidence. None of these adjectives quite describe it, but it was there. You could feel it; you knew they had it. I was always interested in where it came from. It wasn’t from individual brilliance, exceptional athletic ability, or particular handsomeness or beauty; they were pretty average in each of these categories. The clue seemed to be in their love and acceptance of each other.
One day an unexpected opportunity came to discover the true source of their confidence. The family moved into a house just across the block from my house. Now, instead of seeing them just in school, I saw them at home, and the secret was revealed! The confidence, the assurance, the security, the unity came from the unconditional love in their home. From the outside their home was ordinary; on the inside it was extraordinary.
I remember the youngest child, who was just turning two. The first words he ever said were, “Ah, mush,” a phrase often used in the family to poke fun at the frequent hugs and pats and physical affection that were shown in the house.
I know now that the secret was in the warmth and acceptance and security of that home–a joy irreplaceable, and unavailable from any other source.

How To

Genealogy. Children love knowing “where they came from” in the genealogical sense. Some ways to convey this are:
1. Frame old family pictures and group them together on a special wall.
2. Draw a simple family tree, with each child as a branch and the parents as the trunk, and the grandparents as individual roots. Put pictures of the parents and grandparents on the trunk and roots and of brothers and sisters on the limbs. Frame it and hang it on the same wall as the ancestor pictures.
Consistency. Children need to be able to depend on certain constants in their lives. There are four areas in which consistency is particularly important:
1. In discipline. If a family law is broken, the punishment or consequence should be automatic, expected & consistent.
2. In example. Make yourself predictable to your children–trying to always do right in their presence, but admitting mistakes.
3. In regular schedules for certain important things such as the evening meal or a weekly family meeting.
4. In always keeping promises.
Constant awareness of promises.
1. Support each other’s activities
2. Show love for your spouse openly. As the saying goes, “The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
Family song or chant: “Because We Are a Family.”

Mom always loves me, don’t you see,
Because we are a family.

When I’m scared, Dad holds me on his knee,
Because we are a family.

Who helps each other? You see, it’s we,
Because we are a family.

We hug a lot and kiss…well, gee,
Because we are a family.

We work at becoming the best we can be,
Because we are a family.

We keep our house as neat as can be,
Because we are a family.

We work things out when we disagree,
Because we are a family.

My mom and dad are proud of me,
Because we are a family.

I cheer for my brother and he cheers for me,
Because we are a family.

When someone needs us, we try to see,
Because we are a family!

Display open gratitude for children. How simple–and how incredibly important–it is to let a child know how much he is wanted and needed, how precious and important he is to the family.
Tell the child a simple story about the day (or night) he was born and about how much you wanted him and how happy he made you.

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Hello everybody

Sunbird is offering an amazing range of exciting themes for kids aged 2 – 8 years.

April 2015:

Date: 6th to 30th April 2015

Time: 10 am to 12:30 pm

Venue: Sunbird Early Learning Centre, 145, 29/10 Kasavanahalli, Off Sarjapur Road


Week 1: Art as Tools

Week 2: Under the Sea

Week 3: Weaving/Block Printing

Week 4: History of Writing

May 2015:

Date: 4th to 29th May 2015

Time: 10 am to 12:30 pm

Venue: Sunbird Early Learning Centre, No 46, Shubha Enclave, Haralur Main Road Opp. ‘Fishermen’s Wharf’ Restaurant


Week 1: Seven Wonders of the World

Week 2: You are the light

Week 3: Basics of Engineering sculpture for Kids

Week 4: Flying Object

Call us to register now! See you there!

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Hello Sunbird parents and interested parents

Updates from our Haralur Road project:

The work is in full swing in our new premises. At the moment the outside is getting leveled. Extra care is taken to make sure, the safety standards are upheld. Next week, our interiors are starting. In the last week of April the final touches should transform the school to a welcoming and fun loving place, where children love to be!

We  are planning a celebration at the end of the month. Please stay tuned for the updates!!!

Your Sunbird Team

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Sunbird Graduation Party 2015

Congratulations to all Sunbird students! They made tremendous progress this past year! It showed up, when they performed in various ways for the graduation party. Whether they swung across the monkey bars, completed perfect somersaults, acted out animal movements and sounds, sang ‘do a deer, a female deer’, acted out a drama or danced to catchy tunes, they knew what they were doing and they enjoyed it. There was not one dull moment and the many parents and visitors were proud of their kids!

Thank you dear teachers, you deserve a big round of applause for your tired less work around the clock to incorporate such a show besides the teaching and other responsibilities that you have!

Thank you parents for your support throughout the year which is an integral part of Sunbird’s success! The grand finale of handing out various certificates for exemplary achievements and ‘grade promotions’ was certainly enhanced by the amazing various snacks, pani puri and sweets made with pounded jaggery! Mmhh…

A Happy Holiday to all, both children and parents! For those who are moving on, all the best, and for the ones who stay with us, we will have a big surprise coming up!

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Growing More


I had a favourite professor in graduate school, a man whose every move transmitted a certain, “I’m okay, you’re okay” joy to all who were around him. He had remarkable patience. When a student could not seem to grasp a point, he would not chide or criticise; instead he would compliment the student on some other point where he was strong.
He couldn’t sing or speak well. In fact, he seemed to have few particular abilities, yet he always seemed totally self-confident–not cocky or overbearing, just quietly of the belief that he could discuss anything, do anything.
I did well in his class, in part because I found him so interesting, and by the end of the year I knew him well enough that we had lunch together once in awhile. I asked the source of his confidence. He said there were two elements, the first of which was his faith. He expressed to me, with no hesitation or inhibition, his belief in a higher power to whom he could pray and who he felt would guide and nudge and help him through life.
“What is the second thing?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “I’m a little like the great craftsman who made the finest violins in the World. Stradivari used to say, `God can’t make a Stradivarius without Antonio Stradivari.’ I have certain gifts, and I think I have discovered what most of them are. I am sufficiently confident in two or three basic areas that I feel equal to anyone.”
I’ve thought a great deal about what he said. His joy was confidence. His confidence was a combination of faith and gifts he had discovered. I realised that everyone can have both, that no one is precluded from faith, & no one is without particular, unique gifts.
Children can feel the joy of individual confidence and uniqueness. This fact is often illustrated by children themselves at our experimental Joy School. Early in our first year, while we were dealing with the physical joys, I had an experience that taught me something about the joy of individual confidence. A group of children were dancing, and the teacher was showing them how to skip. I was sitting at the side, observing. There were about ten children, four of whom just could not grasp the technique or coordination of skipping. It intrigued me that three of the four looked dejected, embarrassed and upset because they couldn’t do it. Each of the three, in his own way, stopped trying: One cried, one walked out and one started acting silly and boisterous to distract attention from his failure. The fourth little boy showed absolutely no embarrassment or concern or self-consciousness for not being able to skip. He kept watching, kept trying, kept failing, kept watching, kept trying. When the exercise was over, I asked him some questions:
“Do you like to skip?”
“Yes, but I can’t do it very good.”
“Well, did you wish they’d stop skipping and do something you were better at?”
“No, because I want to learn how.”
“Do you feel bad because you can’t skip?”
“Why not?”
“Because I’m better at other things.”
“Like what?”
“Mommy says I’m good at painting pictures.”
“I see.”
“And I’m ‘specially good at keeping my baby brother happy.”
“I see, Jimmy. Thanks for answering my questions.”
“That’s all right. Don’t worry; some day I’m going to be good at skipping, too.”
An amazing interchange for a four-year-old! But the principle behind it is not particularly amazing–it’s quite natural. A person who is secure in the knowledge that he is good at certain things can much more easily accept the things he is not good at.

How To

Obvious, open, unconditional love. A child who feels an inalterable parental love has a built-in foundation for confidence. He knows no failure, no mistake, will rob him of that love and family acceptance. Tell him of your consistent love.
Know each child well as an individual. You can’t help a child build confidence around his inherent gifts and talents unless you come to know what those gifts and talents are. Two ways to learn: (1) In private chats with the child, time spent together watching and appreciating; and (2) in organised time, spent as husband and wife, discussing each child, sharing perceptions, taking notes, discovering together more about the personality and individual character of each child.
Genuinely respect each child and his own gifts. Our children are human beings, deserving not only our love but our respect. With this thought in mind, sometimes it becomes a bit easier to (1) show an added measure of faith in them after any kind of failure; (2) discuss our own failures with them and tell them what we learned from each; (3) praise their accomplishments lavishly and honestly, particularly accomplishments in areas where we perceive special aptitude; and (4) never criticise or tear the children down personally. We should criticise instead the bad things they have done, making sure they still know our total love for them. Never criticise in public–“praise in public, correct in private.”
Independence, self-reliance, responsibility at an early age. Confidence and its joy tie directly into being able to do useful things. Each child should have a job in the family, for the family–particularly daily or weekly jobs–for which he is praised & made to feel very able and very important, very much a part of the family.
Help the children to see what their own unique gifts are–and that these gifts are as good as anyone else’s.
1. The “one thing I like about you” game: Sit five or six children in a circle, with one in the middle. Let each child say something he likes about the one in the middle, such as “One thing I like about Tommy is that he can tie his own shoes.”
2. Individual profile charts: Trace a profile from each child’s shadow on a poster. Then, under each profile, write in the eye colour, hair colour, sex, age, position in the family, and what the child is good at. Put the posters up on the wall and let each child take pride in his uniqueness.
Special nicknames for each child. A similar feeling of specialness comes with an affectionate nickname, especially when it is used exclusively by one parent. To Daddy, Saren is “Princess,” Shawni is “Pixie,” Josh is “Herkimer,” Saydi is “Sugar Plum” or “Tater Tot,” Jonah is “Boomer Bumpkin,” Talmadge is “Mudgie” and Noah is “Nobie.”
Mommy & Daddy dates. Set aside a special time each week when there is a one-to-one relationship between mother or father (or both) and one child. These occasions may sometimes take planning, and other times they may consist simply of maximising the moment.
“Empty Books.” A dear friend mentioned at the time our first two children were still tiny that she got a great deal of satisfaction from buying an “empty book” (well-bound with empty pages) for each child when he was a baby and recording special events and character changes in the child’s life as he grew. The ultimate plan was to present it to him on his wedding day.
We have followed her example and have found many benefits that we hadn’t planned. The children know we are keeping the books and they feel a great sense of uniqueness and pride in knowing that even though, for the most part, the contents are secret until their wedding day, they themselves are individuals in their parents’ eyes. They see us writing about those special events and are secretly thrilled that we take time for just them. Also, in reading back over events from these first few years, we realise how easily we forget those momentous moments (birth, toddler’s mischief, starting school) in a child’s life unless they are recorded. They’ll make great “vicarious journals” and will be lots of fun for our children’s children to read some day. Reading back through them is also, for us, a chance to evaluate the progress and needs of each child.

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Pat-a-Cake, Pat-a-Cake, Baker’s Man……..

The crowning and final excursion for 2014 -2015 was BAKING!!! Thanks to Sunila, our parent and advocate of healthy loaves, the children started to really love getting ‘into the dough’. At first they all baked a yummy banana bread, that was made with pounded jaggery, brown sugar and whole wheat flour!! The result was perfect as you can see in the picture.

Next, Mrs. Durga Menon, owner of Iluvia Bakery on Sarjapur Road and equally a health food enthusiast, invited the children for a hands on learning how to make a pizza. They kneaded the dough, topped it with tomato paste and cheese and got to eat it in the end. What Fun learning. Thank you mam, the kids loved it and so did the adults!!

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Of Looms, Yarn, Warp and Weft

You may wonder, what little children would know about such big words? At Sunbird, they will learn interesting facts about as many topics as possible. The term ‘weaving’ was introduced and practised by them for the theme by the same name.  They learned the skill with paper to understand what happens in a loom with ‘warp’ and ‘weft’. The finale surprise was a visit to NIFT institute. They were welcomed by Professor Mogha, who enthusiastically led them through the different departments of young aspiring artists. They learned about the loom, spinning ‘Jenny’, knitting, designing, and stitching, as well as different types of cloth material. The students cheerfully taught them different ‘techniques’. Thank you , Prof. Shivalingaiah, Prof. Mogha and wonderful young people!!

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Outdoor Play: A Hot Favorite

Many magic moments happen in our outdoor free play time. Enjoy this feast for the eyes!

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Sunbird is moving to…………….Haralur Road!!!! Awaiting all Sunbird Students an amazing place with 4000sqft of outdoor space… stay tuned to the updates!!!

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Growing Together


I spent a Summer in Hawaii one year working and saving money for the next year of school. I had a friend there named Kathy. It was the first week in Hawaii for both of us. We had just met each other, and we had both just met a Hawaiian named Kiki. Kiki invited us to a beach party, “a real Hawaiian one,” he said. It was on a Saturday afternoon, on a beach at the far side of the island. As I recall, the party had three distinct parts: Surfing, eating and dancing. My inclination was to watch all three. Her inclination was to do all three.
The joy of trying things and of new participation and new interest is a classic and significant joy. There is so much to do in the World, so many good things to try, 360 degrees of experience. Yet most of us eat the same narrow 10-degree sliver of pie over and over again, too afraid or inhibited (or sophisticated?) to try the other 350 degrees. Somewhere we have lost our grasp of the joy of basic confidence to try.
There are two kinds of basic fears in the World: Fear of getting hurt and fear of failure. Both kinds of fear apply to all facets of life. We fear failure physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, and we fear being hurt physically, emotionally and socially. Both fears are self-fulfilling. Physical fear often causes physical hurt, and fear of failing almost always causes failure.
Children are born with neither of these two fears; it is the learning of the fears that takes away the joy.

The Child’s Perspective

Our two-year-old Shawni came along to her older sister’s dancing class. We were watching the older sister and left the two-year-old sitting down the row of seats. I glanced over and saw her eyes growing wider. The next moment she was up, twirling, whirling, a two-year-old facsimile of modern dance. She wanted to try, to experience.
This is a joy to preserve, a joy that small children almost always have but they often lose early. (Think of the three-year-old afraid to touch the snow or the four-year-old too shy to meet new people.) The symptoms of the loss of this joy are the phrases we have all heard: “Oh, I can’t do it.” “Will you help me? I’m afraid.”
When did they lose it? Where do they leave it? Why? It is our fault. We fail to preserve it in three ways. First, in our preoccupation and “busyness,” we fail ourselves to experience new things and to manifest the joy that comes from them. Failure no.1: Lack of example.
Second, again in our involvement with “more important things,” we fail to praise and encourage their exploration. The encouragement could be verbal or, better yet, could be expressed by us learning from them, trying things with them. By criticising instead of praising, we build fear and rub out the continuing desire to try. A child performs an important experiment by pouring his milk into his soup, and we call him a mess. A child takes off his shoes to see how the grass feels, and we tell him, “That’s silly,” and doesn’t he know he will get dirty. Failure no.2: Criticism instead of praise.
Third, we often compare our children with each other or with other children, thus making them feel inferior. Johnny tries to run a race or improve on the piano and glows with the joy of trying until we say, “Say, that Jones boy sure is learning fast,” or “I wonder how the Smith girl got so good on the piano? She’s only had lessons for as long as Johnny.” Failure no.3: Discouragement by comparison or by overdone caution.

How To

Let children try things physically. Break down a trynd things with them. Climb a tree. Jump off a diving board. It will do you good and give verbal and nonverbal encouragement to your children’s physical confidence. Particularly, try things you are not good at. Let the children see that lack of skill is no reason for not trying.
The trick is to create a basically safe environment, rather than having to constantly warn about physical danger.
Fold a quilt or heavy blanket lengthwise to make a mat and let the children try various types of tumbling. Do a somersault or two yourself.
Win and keep the children’s trust. Children trust us until we violate their trust. A broken trust hurts them not only at the moment, but permanently, because it teaches fear of being hurt. Keep their trust by never lying, even a little. Don’t say, “The doctor won’t hurt you.” Don’t say you’ll spank them if they do it again and then not spank them when they do. Don’t tell them to tell the telephone caller you’re not at home. Don’t forget a promise. If they never learn to doubt you on small things, then they’ll never doubt your compliments to them, your advice to them, your love for them.
Encourage children to try new things. Look for and set up new experiences. When they ask for help, first say, “I’ll be here to help, but try it first.” Then praise the try as much or more than the success.
Praise the attempt and teach them that mistakes are okay. To praise the result when the result is not good violates the trust. But to praise the try, to compliment the effort–this sort of praise will bring about more tries and eventually more success. We thus teach that there is such a thing as successful failure: Failure from which we learn and grow. “It’s okay not be able to do it. It’s okay to miss, to fall down, to make a mistake. This is how we grow.”

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Love Art? Enjoy New Techniques! What Fun!

Most children love to experience colours on paper. Be it scribbling, using fingers or drawing amazing shapes, Sunbird students are no exception. Enjoy the snaps of them learning new applications.

Sunbird celebrated Subhashini’s birthday, and all students love her! Happy Birthday!

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Announcement: Communication with Your Child Seminar

Dear Parents and Friends

On Saturday, 28th of February, Sunbird is conducting a seminar, “Communication with your Child” for parents, caregivers and interested friends. Nine Keys to effective communication will be addressed.

Looking forward to see you! Your Sunbird Team

Venue: Sunbird Early Learning Centre

Time: 10 am to 12 noon

Entry: Free

Snacks and Refreshments will be served

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Nature Walk and Bird Watching

On a sunny Friday morning, with all students present, they packed their little bags and set off for the Kaikondrahalli lake. They took a leisurely walk around the lake, gazing into the trees to look for the nests of big birds, like the migratory stork. But they learned about many other birds that have made their home there. Kingfishers, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Purple Rumped Sunbird, Green Bee Eaters, etc fill the air with their chatter, lovely songs, flapping wings, and amazing diving acrobatics.. They all loved the connect to Nature!

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