Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth. – Chanakya
Dear Parents and Friends
On Saturday, 22nd of November, Sunbird is conducting a seminar, “Dare to Discipline” for parents, caregivers and interested friends. Issues of why disciplining, benefits and consistency in discipline will be addressed. Looking forward to see you! Your Sunbird Team
Venue: Sunbird Early Learning Centre
Time: 10 am to 12 noon
Snacks and Refreshments will be served
We hope that you all celebrated the big festivals the way Sunbird did. Our theme was ‘festivals’ and thanks to our sweet Punjabi Family, the students learned all about Diwali and the Baisaki festivals, which are passionately followed in that state. Whatever the celebration, it is done in style!! The children were gifted a “phulkari ” by the parents to complete dancing to the famous Bhangra style!! They brought Kada Prashad (halwa) and Black Gram(dry channe) as Punjab day snacks. The children decorated the Punjabi jutti, which is a Punjabi traditonal footwear. What fun everybody had!
Vedant’s family brought figurines used to celebrate Dussera and the students had fun removing all the books to display the ornaments and learning their names and usages. They also did Golu craft activites. Thank you for your contribution!
A trip to the Rangoli was planned for the children in anticipation of activities relating to Dussera. However, this year did not feature anything for them. Thanks to the help of the parents, the kids were having a trip on the Metro instead with fun time anyways.
Adding to the celebrations were the birthdays of three of our students, Nandana, turned two, Jaiveen turned three and Rehaan turned three. Thank you all for sharing your birthdays and cakes with all your friends!! Congratulations also to Advay, who turned three and Atse who turned six!!
Thank you for all your feedback from these ‘joys’. Looking forward to more. Here is Part 4:
PRESERVING THE JOY OF INTEREST & CURIOSITY
The Child’s Perspective
I remember sitting once, off to the side in a busy shopping mall, looking at passing people–watching to see who was watching. The adults were preoccupied with their jobs, their problems, themselves. Their eyes never met mine. Their eyes saw only what was necessary to navigate through the crowded corridor.
But the children saw everything. Each child looked straight at me for at least a moment, & for a moment at everything. Their eyes & ears were receptors, taking in all the data, seeing, hearing, questioning.
It is no wonder that we learn as much in our first five years as in the rest of our lives. We see more, feel more. We are born with a natural & joyful curiosity & interest. What happens to it? Where did those adults drop it? When would those children lose theirs?
One study showed that babies spend one-fifth of the waking hours in motionless, focused gazing, simply figuring things out with their eyes. Their minds are so malleable, so impressionable! Parents can perhaps change their children’s minds more, for better or for worse, than they can change either their bodies or their spirits.
Learn from children’s example. Participate with & encourage them. My wife & I observed our three-year-old through the back window playing alone among the flowers on a warm, early-spring day. Her delight & intense interest showed so clearly that we felt it, & I whispered, “How can we keep that in her forever?” My wife replied, “By watching her watching, & watching what she watches.”
Since then, we have come to know that that’s the secret. Children are the teachers, the experts; we are the learners, the students. Instead of pulling them away from their activity (jumping in leaves) & into yours (cleaning house), how about occasionally leaving yours to join in theirs? (Don’t worry, the leaves will brush out of your hair.)
Answer & ask. While you are in those leaves, your teacher (your child) may ask, “Did a caterpillar make this hole in this leaf?” You might consider these responses: Thanking him for teaching you to have an interest in that hole; answering him by saying, “Yes, a caterpillar probably did”; & opening a chance for more teaching by asking, “And where do you suppose that caterpillar is right now?”
How precious a question is! An alert mind that asks is the first step to answers, discoveries, solutions. Never ignore or criticise a question.
With a questioning child, one or two similar mistakes usually occurs: (1) Ignoring, brushing off, not noticing the beauty & potential of that moment, & (2) answering instead of reasoning together, helping, or asking questions of the child that will help him answer his own. When we take the time to discuss a question, we help the child to understand the wonderful concepts of reasoning, conceptualising, researching.
Stimulation. As soon as babies can see, they need visual stimulation: Mobiles, bright colours, moving objects to observe. Parents should show them things, talk to them, give their new eyes & ears & bodies chances to see & hear & feel widely different things.
The question game. At dinner or some other convenient time, explain that being able to ask good questions is sometimes more important than giving right answers. Tell the children that you will give them a category & see how good a question they can think of to ask. Then name a category (anything from “clouds” or “cars” to “daddy’s office”). As you play this game several times, you may want to explain to the children that there are “what,” “when,” “where,” “who” & “how” questions.
The Family Interest Book
Children who are made to feel proud of their interest & curiosity quickly want to share what they have noticed. If they have a way to share the discoveries or fruits of their curiosity & interest, that becomes an additional motivation to continue to be curious & interested.
In our family, we have an “interest book,” not for finances or money, but for interest. It is nothing more than a simple, hardbound book of blank paper in which any family member can make a note of something interesting that he has observed or discovered. Preschoolers, of course, dictate their observations for a grown-up to write. Reading back through the interest book is a continual joy.
“A blue & black bird is building a nest in the tree by the corner of the house.” (Saren, age four.)
“Barney (our dog) can get over to his friend’s house because there is a hole in the fence where it goes behind the shed.” (Shawni, age three.)
Our interest book hangs on a hook in the family room. We are aware of it, so we like to share in it. Every month or so we read all the entries that have been made. Like certain other types of interest books, ours grows in value with the passage of time.
Would you write your name among the stars
Then write it large upon the hearts of children
They will remember!
Have you visions of a nobler, happier world?
Tell the children!
They will build it for you. Andrew Gillies
Dear parents, friends and sweet Sunbird students, Sunbird wishes all a very Happy Dussera. May you enjoy the festival season with plenty of joyful moments in the circle of your family!
Sunbird Early Learning Centre will remain closed from 1/10/2014 – 13/10/2014. Thank you for your continued patronage.
Your Sunbird Team
For the past three months, Sunbird is conducting regular music classes. These are besides the songs and dances the children are learning in their curriculum. In music class the students got introduced into classical music through the prodigy W.A. Mozart. In the beginning, the sounds were new and they did not pick up. Small famous pieces of him were introduced, and played regularly. The children learned what instruments were playing, i.e. the violin, the viola, the cello, etc. They learned that often a piece of music was written for a particular instrument, for example the french horn or the clarinet. Today they can differentiate these instruments.
We learned together how to keep a rhythm, either with small percussion instruments or simply clap. This has improved a lot as well. Quite a few children can follow a rhythm and a changing pace.
Learning the notes of an octave (in C) is presented with picture cards. To help them understand that, they learned the song ‘do a deer’ from the musical ‘Sound of Music’, which they now can sing well.
We hope you have been able to implement these suggestions with your little ones. Here is Part 3:
TEACHING JOY OF THE EARTH
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!”
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.)
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!
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.
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
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
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!!
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!
We hope you liked Part 1 of this article. Here is part 2. Looking forward to your feedback.
TEACHING THE JOY OF THE BODY
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?”
“‘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.”
“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.”
“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.
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:
Blowing of bubbles (straw in soap solution)
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’.