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From a child’s perspective, learning starts with the self, moves on to the family and then to the community. Extending a child’s vision takes experience, creativity and opportunity, which are provided by the daily lifestyle, curriculum and interaction at Sunrise. Here children’s knowledge grows to encompass cultural diversity around the world, our planet Earth, and our Universe.
The neo-humanist curriculum aims to foster the individual development of all aspects of a child’s being: their physical body and senses, emotions, intellect, creativity and finally spiritual development. This is achieved through acknowledgment of the child’s inner strengths and beauty, the use of positive language, and a focus on community service and interaction with nature.
The neo-humanist education system is based on and dedicated to the holistic growth development of children throughout their educational years.
From an early age, it encourages the child to feel love and respect for all, regardless of culture, race, religion and nationality and to extend this love and respect to animals, plants and their environment.
Sunrise children are brought up in a community of care, kindness, creation and balance, and as those children grow to move on through life, they touch the world with these qualities.It is amazing to think that elements of our educational efforts and personal bonds have reached so many parts of our world. For each of these little multicultural individuals, we can expect a global outreach. It is a fantastic experience to hold so many hands.
There are over 850 nurseries, kindergartens and primary schools around the world, that implement this educational philosophy on a non-profit basis.
The teaching methods at Sunrise are based on a child-centered approach to education, which caters to each child’s individual interests and learning styles. While our pre-school curriculum includes an academic program, our main focus is to provide a nurturing environment with ample educational opportunities that help children develop and expand their own interests and unique talents. We also strongly emphasize “learning by doing” and support the children in making their own choices, both individually and as a group.
The main areas of teaching include physical development and movement through drama, music, dance, outdoor activities and yoga, intellectual development through knowledge and understanding of the world, math, language and communication, social, emotional and personal development through problem solving, interaction in circle time, group projects and daily routines, creative development through music, arts and crafts and drama.
Personal development goes hand in hand with the Social and Emotional Learning Foundations (SELF) Program, which is central to the lifestyle and values of the NHE at Sunrise International Preschool.
Focus on the arts at Sunrise expands the mind, body and soul while developing the child as a creative thinker and self initiator. The NHE Curriculum emphasizes all forms of performing and fine arts as a medium for personal and spiritual growth, emotional connection, information processing, and reflection on learning.
Since development, intellectual as well as emotional, respect for others and the environment make up the main pillars of our teaching, we have incorporated them into themes that run like common threads through our school year as well as our teaching methods.
Previous themes have included: Myself, my family and community, Theatre and Fairytales, Space, Dinosaurs, The Nordic Forest, The Ocean, Transportation, Spring as well as Cultures Around the World. Themes are explored during circle time as well as during our educational programs. Theme based learning is also reinforced through related projects, books, story telling, songs and arts and crafts etc.
Music and Dance
There are many benefits of storytelling - stories and fairytales play an important role in children's psychological development and can work as a guide to teach the child valuable lessons in a simple language. This works as a foundation for learning vocabulary and other academic skills such as critical thinking.
We use storytelling to engage the children through working with a big variety of materials and techniques where we draw, paint and create figures using anything and everything. The most important thing is to have fun and make the stories come to life. Sometimes we start with drawing and painting and use that as an inspiration to build a story on. We also work with engaging the children's social skills, where they are encouraged to share, help others and voice their opinions. They also learn how to give and receive positive feedback which makes them feel proud of their creations, stimulating their self-confidence. In addition, artwork helps in developing their coordination skills.
During our work, the children are also told stories about artists and authors' lives. We have a yearly art exhibition where the parents often join the children in some activities related to their product and their stories and the children can show off the fruits of their efforts.
The goal of the Sunrise Preschool Language Arts Program is to introduce and explore some of the different dimensions of language. We aim to develop both children’s receptive and expressive language skills using activities, games, visual media, storytelling, role play, as well as arts and crafts. Receptive language refers to the input of language and focuses on areas such as comprehension, listening skills, and following instructions. Expressive language refers to the output of language and focuses on expanding vocabulary, and improving communication and oral language skills.
The Language Arts Program corresponds to the current Sunrise education themes and is designed to both compliment and build upon what is being addressed in the other Hummingbird Learning Programs, the Morning Circle and the class field trips.
There are number of targeted opportunities for children to practice their language skills which have also been embedded into the Sunrise program. Every Monday during the Morning Circle we have ‘The Talking Stick’ where children are given a chance to share about their weekends. This gives them practice speaking in front of others, recalling and describing events that happened in the past or events that they are looking forward to in the future. We occasionally use this time to show and tell about objects brought from home.
We have also developed a number of “take home” projects such as ‘Hunny the Hummingbird’ and the ‘Homework assignments’ where children get the opportunity to develop their language skills away from the school setting with the support of their family members. At Sunrise we encourage children to reflect on their own unique ideas and experiences and use their imagination to creatively express their thoughts and feelings. In addition to fostering independent thought these “take home” activities tend create spontaneous discussion in the classroom and increase children’s motivation to verbally share their experiences and feelings with their peers.
Mathematics, geometry, spatial relationship and logical deduction are in focus through the cognitive arts. Children are provided with manipulatives to build skill through play and set tasks which strengthen developing cognitive ability. Cognition skills are integrated in daily play and routine from Nursery School through games, puzzles, stories, movement and music. In PS1, focus lies on geometry, construction and logic building while in PS2, children work with math concepts in lesson format and increased selection of board games.
Children explore and learn about their bodies, extending their play naturally into learning. The Sunrise Program incorporates fine motor dexterity on a daily basis through station work, visual art projects and cooking experiments. Gross motor skills are developed on a weekly basis though outdoor play and regular PE time on the weekly schedule. Physical Development is further explored through dance and yoga, and the older students are provided extended experience through regular excursion.
As children explore their surroundings, Sunrise takes the opportunity to introduce children to the basic concepts in Earth-care, for a sustainable future. Children develop their interest in nature through experiments, cooking, gardening, recycling participation and learn about the universe, earth, animals and plants through story exploration, tied in with theme work.
Sunrise International Preschool observes a child’s growth from several aspects including daily, monthly and yearly assessment. The following describe the documentation process:
The classrooms follow a schedule of themes, which take anywhere from four to six weeks to develop. Children work all aspects of their curriculum through contact with the themes, at an age appropriate level, covering different aspects of the theme topic.