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Kids in day care need more outdoor play!

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Is there anything more fun in the world than playing? Pure, child-like freedom, where anything is possible and anything goes.

Fresh air and exercise may be going by the wayside for little ones, suggests a new study that found preschoolers in child care centers often don’t get enough outdoor play time. Recent studies also tell us why only indoor play is detrimental to children’s growth.

Researchers who studied more than 380 children, ages 3 to 6, who were enrolled at 30 different child care centers published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed that only 3 in 10 children in full-day child care programs got at least 60 minutes of outdoor recess. This implies that nearly two thirds had either very less or no time outdoors at all.

Better learners: Outdoors, a child learns on multiple levels with each new adventure. With all of the imaginary castles, lands, creatures, the brain develops at a much faster rate than for those who play indoors. There are numerous effects.

57ab1c93eaaca68858a1bf6aaba5a83b--playground-rules-outdoor-playgroundMore social: Not only do they become better learners, and do well in school, but they are more fun to be around (i.e. they make more friends)–and play have active imagination! Consequently, children will be much happier because, hey, they’re smart and they have a lot of friends.

Physical growth: Not only are there mental advantages to playing outside, there are even more physical advantages. Obviously, if a child is playing outside he/she will be way more active than the child that stays indoors. The great thing about this is that it can have long-lasting effects. If you think about this, it makes perfect sense; teach a child when they’re young to love the outdoors and they will love it forever.

imagesNow here’s what the experts say about the disadvantages of indoor play. Researchers have found a disorder called “Nature Deficit Disorder”. Basically, this means that not playing outdoors and with nature (e.g. hiking or camping) is really detrimental for kids. They found that children who lived closer to nature and had more opportunities to be in the natural world were less stressed out with.

They also found that children who had a more natural day-care setting had better motor coordination and could better concentrate/pay attention, back to what we were talking about up top.

Indoor Vs Outdoor: Now right about here some people may argue for indoor play. Doesn’t indoor play promote creativity, lesser risk of injuries, lower risks of exposure to dust etc? Well, yes. But children are missing connecting to nature, the freedom to invent games themselves and interact freely with others.

Some parents may feel that outdoor time takes away from “learning.” But children learn through physical activity, too. Based on previous research, we know that gross motor skills are so important. Kids this age are learning to skip, throw a ball. Those gross motor skills are a really important part of growing up, of their development — just as important as learning their letters and learning about math.

Now some people may be wondering why parents let their kids stay indoors if playing outside is so much better. Some parents are worried about picking up germs outside. Oddly enough, research shows that the air indoors is actually more likely to promote asthma than being outside (Epstein, 2001). For families who live in big cities, it does not seem like there is a choice because parents fear for their kids’ safety. This has become such an issue that the current generation is used to being watched constantly, unlike prior generations.

Outdoor activities are fun and very helpful for children’s development. Indoor activities, though they may be fun, can be detrimental because they do not promote adequate physical and mental growth.

What happens in child care centers has important and lasting effects for children’s total daily levels of activity. The recommended guideline for preschoolers is 120 minutes of physical activity daily.

Majority of preschoolers spend time in day care centers. Playing outside is especially important for children who don’t have active-time at home.download

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Sand play: A sensory bonanza for little ones

Sand is a toy!  The less a toy does the more a child will learn!

Sand is such a great sensory toy for kids as they explore their sense of touch and play and discover the wonderful texture of sand!

There are hours of fun and learning to be explored with sand as it promotes and DSC_0008encourages imaginative play! Children enjoy touching, feeling and exploring the wonderful textures of the sand.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED?

You will need sand, sand…… glorious sand!  A box filled with bits and pieces, toy animals, recycled items such as toilet rolls, empty bottles and boxes and also a collection of natural items from the garden such as leaves, twigs and stones.

LET’S PLAY :

Playing in the sand can be a great opportunity for children to have unstructured play time. Sand allows and encourages the making and creating of an imaginary world and stories.  Pretend cars travelling though toilet roll tunnels, a frog sitting in a pond and a little doll sun baking on a dried leaf. Whether shaped into castles, dug, dripped, sifted, or buried, sand can take many different forms, thus offering endless opportunities for fun and learning!

Allowing your child to play in the sand by themselves and with others helps them to develop fine motor skills like those necessary to use a small shovel, pull a truck, and build a castle or make different shapes.

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By burying themselves in sand, and feeling their body position within the sand, children are engaging their proprioceptive sense, or the sense of their body relative to space. Writing words in the sand offers a chance to develop language skills. Parents can ask questions to capitalize on the language play that can occur in the sand.

DSC00069Play can also help children develop social skills like problem solving, sharing, and communicating. Sand play offers a limited amount of space and toys for children to share while accomplishing goals they set for themselves like building a castle together.

Mathematical concepts can be developed during sand play by providing children with measuring spoons and cups, containers in a variety of sizes and shapes, balance scales, or counting toys. As you observe children’s sand play, use mathematical terms like more/less; many/few; empty/full; heavy/light. Then challenge children to count how many scoops it takes to fill a container…Sequence accessories by size.

SEPARATION ANXIETY:

One of the benefits of a contained space like a sandbox is that depending on the age of their child, caregivers can supervise children from a short distance and create an independent play experience. This type of natural and casual separation between parent and child can build trust and confidence. As long as children continue to feel safe and are not under the impression they’ve been left behind, brief independent play opportunities can lessen separation anxiety and promote healthy parent-child attachment.

BENEFITS OF SAND PLAY:

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Eye & hand coordination – watching and doing and coordinating these actions.
  • Promote creativity and imagination through role and developing stories.
  • Sensory- Development of the sense of touch. Feeling and manipulating objects and moulding the sand.
  • Language development – playing with sand is a social activity requiring speaking and listening, also developing vocabulary.  Practising and experimenting with language.
  • Mathematical Skills

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Researchers studied kindergartners’ behavior and followed up 19 years later.

Here are the findings.

Every parent wants to see their kid get good grades in school. But now we know social success is just as important.

From an early age, we’re led to believe our grades and test scores are the key to everything — namely, going to college, getting a job, and finding that glittery path to lifelong happiness and prosperity.

It can be a little stressful.

But a new study shows that when children learn to interact effectively with their peers and control their emotions, it can have an enormous impact on how their adult lives take shape. And according to the study, kids should be spending more time on these skills in school.

Nope, it’s not hippie nonsense. It’s science. 

Researchers measured the social skills of 800 kindergartners in 1991. Two decades later, they looked them up to see how things turned out. 

Kindergarten teachers evaluated the kids with a portion of something called the Social Competence Scale by rating statements like “The child is good at understanding other’s feelings” on a handy “Not at all/A little/Moderately well/Well/Very well” scale.

The research team used these responses to give each kid a “social competency score,” which they then stored somewhere until each kid was 25. At that point, they gathered some basic information about the now-grown-ups and did some fancy statistical stuff to see whether their early social skills held any predictive value.

Here’s what they found.

  1. Those good test scores we covet, they still matter, but maybe not for the reasons we thought.

Traditional thinking says that if a kid gets good grades and test scores, he or she must be really smart, right? After all, there is a proven correlation between having a better GPA in high school and making more money later in life.

But what that test score doesn’t tell you is how many times a kid a) worked with a study partner to crack a tough problem, b) went to the teacher for extra help, or c) resisted the urge to watch TV instead of preparing for a test.

The researchers behind this project wrote, “Success in school involves both social-emotional and cognitive skills, because social interactions, attention, and self-control affect readiness for learning.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that while some kids may just be flat-out brilliant, most of them need more than just smarts to succeed. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt spending a little more time in school teaching kids about the social half of the equation.

  1. Skills like sharing and cooperating pay off later in life.

We know we need to look beyond GPA and state-mandated testing to figure out which kids are on the right path. That’s why the researchers zeroed in so heavily on that social competency score.

What they found probably isn’t too surprising: Kids who related well to their peers, handled their emotions better, and were good at resolving problems went on to have more successful lives.

What’s surprising is just how strong the correlation was.

An increase of a single point in social competency score showed a child would be 54% more likely to earn a high school diploma, twice as likely to graduate with a college degree, and 46% more likely to have a stable, full-time job at age 25.

  1. Social behaviors can be learned and unlearned — meaning it’s never too late to change.

The researchers called some of these pro-social behaviors like sharing and cooperating “malleable,” or changeable.

Let’s face it: Some kids are just never going to be rocket scientists. Turns out there are physical differences in our brains that make learning easier for some people than others. But settling disputes with peers? That’s something kids (and adults) can always continue to improve on.

And guess what? For a lot of kids, these behaviors come from their parents. The more you’re able to demonstrate positive social traits like warmth and empathy, the better off your kids will be.

So can we all agree to stop yelling at people when they take the parking spot we wanted?

But what does it all mean?

This study has definite limitations, which its researchers happily admit. While it did its best to control for as many environmental factors as possible, it ultimately leans pretty heavily on whether a teacher thought a kid was just “good” or “very good” at a given trait.

Still, the 19-year study paints a pretty clear picture: Pro-social behavior matters, even at a young age. And because it can be learned, it’s a great “target for prevention or intervention efforts.”

The bottom line? We need to do more than just teach kids information. We need to invest in teaching them how to relate to others and how to handle the things they’re feeling inside.

Ignoring social skills in our curricula could have huge ramifications for our kids down the road.

For full details on the study, you can read it in its entirety in the American Journal of Public Health.

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Something to think about

“We worry about what our child will become tomorrow that we forget that he is someone today”

Stacia Tauscher

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PICTURE MATCHING SKILLS IN TODDLERS

Parents are usually impressed to see the matching skills in their 2-year-old child. However, not many understand what all the brouhaha is about! Well, these skills are an extremely important milestone for your toddler.
You’ve been pointing out different objects to your toddler in pictures as well as real life. You’re also exhilarated when she follows suit and points out a few. But do you know the multiple benefits of these skills?
Advantages of Picture Matching Lesson Plans for Toddlers
• Improved Cognitive Skills:
What your toddler sees in a picture is just a one-dimensional image of that object. However, when she learns to match a real life object to it, she can actually make out the basic differences between the two. This, in itself, is a sure shot indicator of her cognitive skills. Sometimes, the picture of the object may be a bit different from the real deal. For instance, the cube in a photo may be red whereas the real cube may be multicoloured. But, when your toddler matches the object to the picture, she’s actually learning about categorising objects based on their various physical aspects.
• Enhanced Language Skills:
While your toddler is matching objects to pictures, you could challenge her to a matching game by showing photos that look different in colour and dimensions from the objects at hand. If he’s able to match them correctly, applaud her and then ask her why she felt that the two were a match. As she tries to explain the logic behind this, she will have to use different words to express herself. This aids in improving her vocabulary and thereby, her language skills.
• Pre-mathematical Skills:
As the matching skills in your 2-year-old child improve, she’ll start matching different looking objects of the same category to one picture. This is known as sorting, and is an important part of mathematics. The activity also helps her understand that the same category objects can have some variation. Though this might seem inconsequential to an adult, it forms the foundation for mathematical skills that will develop in her later years.
• Acts as Pre-cursor to Reading:
The game of matching pictures for toddlers helps them get acquainted to the fact that objects differ from each other in a number of ways. It also helps them identify alphabets and numbers in the later stage. Moreover, studying one-dimensional pictures works as a precursor to developing the ability to decipher printed words.

How to introduce Objects to Picture-matching Activities
Start off by choosing photos and objects that are identical. As your toddler gets used to the game, introduce a different set with slight variations in the picture from that of the real objects. During the later stage, you can introduce her to pictures and objects that belong to the same category but are otherwise completely different. The image could be of a big, red bowl with fruits whereas the object could be a plastic bowl with a few bits of cereal

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Sunbird Annual Day Graduation 2017

Dear parents, friends and well wishers

Thank you for another year of opportunity for us to serve you. It was a year of growth for Sunbird.

On March 4th, Sunbird parents and team got a show worth remembering! All the months of preparation for the event paid off in big ways. Everyone was delighted at the bright, bold and happy performers.

Thank you, dear teachers for all your hard work in the conception and execution of this day! Your creativity is always well appreciated!

Enjoy the pictures with us!  – one more thing: Sunbird will be open throughout the summer for exciting camps! 

 

 

 

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Positive Parenting: Megaskills 7

MEGASKILL SEVEN: CARING

Are you worried about your child’s ability to care about others, to show affection, to be thoughtful?

“Don’t be so selfish.”

“You’ve got to care  about other people.”

Help your child practice caring & having consideration, being interested in others, listening to & learning from them.

I, I, I. Me, Me, Me. These aren’t musical notes. They’re the sounds children make–before they get tuned into You, You, You, & Us, Us, Us. Care is especially needed today.

 

Family Notes–ages 4-6

Tell your child that each day for three days, you will send each other notes.

Each note will be a special message that will say something nice. The “Something nice” will be something true that one of you has noticed about the other. It might be, “You have a nice smile” or “Your dinner last night was very good” or “I like the way you cooked the chicken.” Let children who do not yet write dictate their messages to you. Children enjoy figuring out nice things to say. Decide on a place to exchange daily notes.

 

How Does It Feel?–ages 4-8

Start by helping young children describe someone else’s appearance. Ask your child to describe how a certain person–a friend or a teacher–looks. Use drawings.

Ask “how do they feel” questions. Examples: “Jane has just won a race. How does she feel?” “Bill has just fallen down. How does he feel?” “What might each of these friends do, based on how they feel?”

Children will believe you really do understand when you share some “emotional” memories of your own.

Make greeting cards. Decide who needs a greeting card. Does someone need cheering up? Is a friend having a birthday? Do you know a senior citizen who is living alone? Do you have new neighbors who have just moved in?

 

Let family members “rate” each other. The object is to think positively & to avoid put-downs. What you hope to build is more of an “I care about how you feel” atmosphere at home. Ask:

“How well do I listen?”

“How well do I help around the house?”

“Do I ever make you feel sad? How?”

“Do I make you feel happy? How?”

Think of at least one thing you can do easily that would make your family happy. A kiss, a cookie, a flower, an encouraging word, can give a big, quick lift. Children need to know this so that they can form the habit of making other people feel good.

 

About Ourselves–any age

Finish these sentences separately & compare answers.

I am happy when__________.

I am afraid of__________.

I am sad when__________.

It’s funny when__________.

My favourite things include__________.

When I am alone, I__________.

I really care about__________.

 

Our Block–ages 4-6

Draw a neighborhood map together. In the middle of the paper, draw your own home. Draw with a free hand. Don’t worry about exact distances between places. Fill in street names & telephone numbers for places & neighbors.

 

People Scavenger Hunt–any age

Together go on a people scavenger hunt in your memory. Do you know anyone who speaks another language? Has been in a play? Has a relative who is more than ninety years old?

Think about someone you saw recently who is different. Examples: A street person carrying old bundles, a person in a wheelchair, a blind person.

 

Who Can Help Me?–any age

Make two columns on a paper. At the top of the left column write: HELP NEEDED FOR. At the top of the right column, write: WHO CAN HELP? Post the paper. Those who can help will put down their names & time they will help.       The idea is to get children in the habit of using skills to help one another.

 

Heroes Among Us–any age

Cut out newspaper articles about heroic acts by ordinary individuals. Examples: Someone rescues a person from a fire; a neighbor stops a robbery; a youngster saves a child from being hit by a car.

Think together about one or two caring, unselfish people, famous or not, whom you admire. What do you like about them? Are there ways to become more like them?

 

The Gift of Time–any age

Talk about gifts that people love to receive but that don’t cost much money, if any. Think about making gifts at home. What materials are needed to bake cookies, to sew a potholder etc.

Try to think of gifts that aren’t “things”. You might share a special skill in order to help someone.    For children, it might be: “I will play ball with my younger brother for one hour.” “I will make my sister’s bed for three days.”

Some of the best things between parent & child are still free! And one of the best & most surprising things between brothers & sisters is the caring they can show toward each other.

When Brian was nine, illness forced him to be bed-ridden for six months. Every day, his sister, Eve, age seven, would come bouncing in from school, ready for some outdoor play. But first she would go in to see Brian & ask, “Want to have my day?” Then she would launch into funny vignettes about classmates & teachers & special events. They would laugh a lot. It was a good time for both of them–the giver & the receiver.

Where had this little girl learned this secret for sharing her day? It was what she saw at home. Both of her parents worked. When they got home, they each told a story from their day, usually a funny one. She listened & she learned.

 

 

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Kaikondrahalli lake excursion

In November, the children went to an interesting bird and nature watch at Kaikonreahalli lake. They observed Kingfisher birds, Cranes, Little and Big Egrets, butterflies and other interesting creepy crawlers. They enjoyed the viewing as they had just completed the Theme birds and insects. Enjoy the pics.

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Graduation in Motion 2

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Graduation in Motion

Hi parents, we are publishing the little clips taken on youtube. We will keep  publishing them over the next few days. Enjoyy

P2 and KG dance

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And the Winners Are….

In Sunbird, everyone’s a winner, because every child has a special characteristic, that is worth noting. All are worth a time of appreciation, and they love it…. So Congratulations to all  our little ones for outstanding performances during their year in Sunbird.

 

 

 

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Annual and Graduation Day

Welcome dear parents to a picture parade of your little ones performing on our Annual Day on the 19th of March 3016. As you may have noticed, none of the children felt, they ‘had to perform’ but were delighted to go on stage and come alive to rhythms, singing songs, playing out a drama, telling stories, piano recitals and their gymnastic routines. Thank you teachers, parents for making this another very memorable event!! See you in the new academic year!!

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MEET THE PROS

So many parents are eager to know very early about their children’s talents and professional inclinations. At Sunbird, all of the students get to try many ‘professions’ via play. We have captured a few ‘at work’ and hope you can come to your own conclusions. Here are a few suggestions:

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Horticulturist

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Master Chefs

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Guitar Player

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Scientist

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Mechanical Engineer

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Professional Plummer

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Builder

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Opera Singer

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Sound Engineer

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Car Designer

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Professional Model

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Architects

 

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Exploring the Post Office

Sunbird children have had many opportunities to visit a lot of interesting places over the years. Our last field trip was a first and one of a kind: The friendly postmen and postwomen bowled the kids over with their smiles and warmth and made the trip so interesting. Thanks dear Vivek Nagar post office, thank you teachers and thank you parents Rajini and Abilash for taking the time and offering  to support us with participation and transport!!

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Paper Power

Welcome to a new year with new adventures! At the onset of this year, we were fortunate enough to visit Jenny Pinto’s paper design studio. What a far out time the children had, some even put their hand to ‘making paper out of banana leaves”! Enjoy their art too.

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