Social-emotional development refers to a child’s ability to identify feelings, self-regulate and build relationships.
Therefore, we integrate a social-emotional component into all lesson plans because young children who have strong social and emotional development are more likely to have good academic performance in future schooling.
In Sunflower Russian Immersion Learning center we teach our children kindness and high expectations - how to play together and how to share, how to solve problems and resolve conflicts, and how to praise each other's good work or good actions.
Physical development refers to a child’s gross and fine motor skills. To increase strength, muscle control and coordination, the child requires adequate nutrition and fitness levels.
Sunlower Russian Daycare uses Mother Goose Time curriculum, which actively engages a child’s mind and body through multidisciplinary activities that invite children to touch, climb, crawl, and manipulate objects and ideas.
We have a big fenced playground at the back where our children play daily, weather permitting. The staff actively supervises the children while they play and exercise.
We also have weekly dance classes which bring a lot of fun to our kids.
RUSSIAN as a Second or Foreign Language
Language and literacy skills refer to a child’s ability to communicate and connect with others through listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Our literacy-rich and literature-rich curriculum invites children to ask questions and explore ideas through discussion and dramatic play. Since lots of our children come to Sunflower Russian Daycare from Russian-only speaking families or mixed Russian-English families, we have lots of daily read-alouds and discussions in both languages to develop active listening, to teach listening comprehension, to speak using details and learn new vocabulary.
We start each class time with a simple "hook" questions, which all children are given a chance to respond to. They also learn to listen to each other and raise hands, not interrupt. As children become older, we teach them to improve their speaking - phrases or short sentences in a toddler group to longer related sentences with interesting details.
In addition to listening and speaking in both languages, we teach foundations of Reading and Writing. Our children graduate from Sunflower knowing all capital and low case letters and sounds in Russian and English. Some exceed by trying to read short vowel words!! All our kids know how to write their name, so they are ready to start reading, learning sight words and writing in Kindergarten.
The director Irina Faulise is a native Russian speaker, who is also a licensed ESL K-12 teacher with 5+ years of experience teaching ESL / ELL to elementary students. She is herself a life-long ESL learner who understands very well the stages that ESL students go through.
Learning a second language is a complex social and cognitive process. It includes phases from pre-production when children observe and respond but only with gestures or with 1-2 words. Over time, children progress into speech emergence by staring to speaking in phrases or short sentences. Ultimately they gain fluency in the second language comprehension and communication.
For adults 2nd language learning takes 2-3 years to become proficient in social language, but for children it is a much shorter process, because small children's vocabulary is much smaller than adults'.
Our curriculum includes Russian Language study. Our curriculum in Russian is has been developed by us at Sunflower, and is based on Mother Goose curriculum. It includes lots of literature rich materials in Russian. Most of our staff have actual teaching degrees from the former USSR.
We use numerous bilingual tools, colorful visual aids, and hands-on projects that invite children from English only backgrounds to participate successfully in the learning community and routines of the day. By engaging the child and encouraging him/her to express oneself in the 2nd language throughout the day, they build natural connections between real-life and language concepts.
Social Study skills refer to a child’s ability to understand oneself in relation to the surrounding world. It includes the exploration of roles, responsibilities and cultural traditions.
Children live within many different communities: family, school, church, city, nation, and world. Within each community are different social rules and traditions. Understanding of social systems sets the stage for a child’s lifelong dispositions about people, cultures and how he belongs within these systems.
In Sunflower Russian Daycare our children learn early that Russian and American cultural beliefs and traditions might be slightly different. Children get early exposure that there are different people who do things differently not because they are weird or rude, but because they belong to different cultural groups. So our children learn to adjust to various cultural / social situation and learn to behave appropriately. In other words, they become successful navigating among different cultural groups, which as an important social skill.
Science skills include a child’s ability to inquire, predict and evaluate observations. It supports a child’s ability to explore everyday life,physical properties within the surrounding environment and to make sense of concepts such as weather, natural habitats, and technology.
Similar to learning to count or read, learning how to “do” science is a lifelong process. Metacognitive skills develop as children describe what they see, ask questions about it, repeat the experience, and then think about how it connects to what they know about their surrounding environment.
We have a lot of science-based projects and processes throughout the curriculum because science discovery serves as an ideal conduit for supporting children’s learning across different domains. One of our preschool teachers is a former biology teacher from the Ukraine.
MATH, LOGIC AND REASONING
Creative development is the ability to respond to experiences by expressing ideas and the imagination through music, dance, dramatic play and art.
Children who score higher on tests of imagination and creativity develop stronger problem-solving strategies. Mother Goose Time is an arts-infused curriculum that allows children to take risks, make connections, and explore their curiosity in personally meaningful ways through visual arts, music, dance and dramatic play. We also have a professional musician and a dance teacher providing weekly music appreciation and dance lessons.
Math and reasoning skills include a child’s ability to count, understand number sense, manipulate objects in space, create patterns, sort, compare and measure.
Through Mother Goose Time curriculum, children develop the ability to reason mathematically and become increasingly sophisticated in the ability to recognize and analyze the mathematics inherent in the world around them.
Children’s early mathematical experiences play a significant role in the development of their understanding of mathematics, and serve as a foundation for their cognitive development.