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Sunflower House Curriculum

Our curriculum is determined by the need of the child and the keen observation of a teacher well-educated in whole-child development. Children experience their world through comprehensive, inter-connected sensory input, so why would we ever think it wise to compartmentalize learning into subject-sectioned curricula? 

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Literacy

Language is the very core of literacy; therefore, children should be engaged in real-world, opportunities to speak, listen, and learn meaningful language that is spoken, written, read, sung, filled with authentic emotion and intention.

 

One of the greatest challenges reading interventionists experience with children is the capacity of children to create mental images as they read. So much emphasis is placed on learning the mechanics of reading that not enough time and energy can be allocated to helping the young child develop their own inner imagery, dialog, and internal connections. Without this, comprehension is very difficult to mesh with reading fluency and accuracy, which can lead to struggling readers, joyless reading, and frustration with schoolwork.

The holistic education at Sunflower House brings repeated opportunities for children to develop a keen ability to create their own mental imagery so that later when introduced to reading mechanics, this vital literacy component is well developed. Teaching reading mechanics before allowing a child to develop a rich inner world of imagery and content is akin to building a foundation after the house has been erected.

Oral storytelling, puppetry, and journey circles masterfully guide children through imagined places, where they quickly and efficiently learn to create a fertile inner world of fantastic imagery. They make connections that are meaningful to their experience and literacy becomes a much more engaging world. This is not only the absolute foundation of literacy, it is the foundation for critical thinking, executive functioning, and problem-solving. If a child cannot see a process in their mind, they struggle to find solutions to everyday problems and have difficulty organizing their thinking and reactions to situations.

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Science & Math

Math, science, and physics are the direct result of spatial awareness, body geometry, and finite to large movement in relation to self, others, and the world. Every aspect of a child's day in our early childhood program is rich with real-world experiential math and science lessons. From balancing, jumping, throwing, climbing, swinging, building, and organized movement, your child is internalizing a physics foundation rich with a tangible understanding of abstract concepts learned later in life.

Cooking, measuring, digging, growing flowers and food from seed to harvest, caring for animals, collecting eggs, and experiencing the circle of life through plant lifecycles and animal lifecycles does more to set a child up for success in future science exploration than any calculated, abstract science lesson. Children need to feel it, see it, smell it, and live it for it to become a relevant foundational experience. This is neuroscience: No new material can become long-term knowledge until it has definitively connected to previously learned knowledge. 

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Social Development

Social development of a child can only occur in a highly social environment. It does not fully develop in 15-minute increments of recess. It happens when children encounter conflict over a toy; when they collaborate to build a structure that reflects the desires of multiple playmates; when they have to take turns with materials or with being first in line. Social development happens when they learn to listen to the ideas, needs, and desires of others, which is also how empathy develops.

 

Social development is organic and occurs naturally in environments that support every individual within the whole community.  Our holistic education does exactly this. Social development is not its own subject to be taught, it is the byproduct of consistent, intentional interaction with others within a healthy, loving community.

Happy Children

Emotional Development

Emotional development goes hand in hand with all other aspects of child development, especially when a child recognizes their own emotions in others. Along with developing receptive and expressive language, learning healthy ways to express their emotions verbally and non-verbally provide the platform for optimal emotional development. Through a structured, experiential Waldorf-inspired curriculum, children feel the freedom to explore feelings and relationships within the safety of healthy boundaries.

 

Emotional development cannot happen solely through instruction, through books, or through contrived situations such as subject-based lessons. It happens while learning to navigate and balance the inner life with the outer life. In our program, many tools are provided for children to draw upon that help them develop a balance between self and world, and then space allows them the opportunity to safely explore the process. Emotional development is a very personal and unique process, but the tools and organic opportunities found in the Sunflower House program support every child's individual, healthy emotional journey. 

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