Stimulate Your Child’s Curiosity

About Sunflower

sunsign“It is in playing, and only in playing, that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” D.W. Winnicott, British Pediatrician

Welcome to Sunflower Preschool- a Montessori-based eclectic preschool with a maximum enrollment of 30 children per session.

Although we are Montessori-based, we also incorporate National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) educational philosophies concerning developmentally appropriate learning environments. The classroom is designed to meet the needs of the children’s sensitive periods of learning. The children are encouraged to choose work and activities that interest them from a wide range of materials throughout the classroom and outdoor learning centers. As the children make their choices in our carefully prepared multi-sensory environment, they develop intellectual, emotional, and social skills, as well as a positive self-image.

groupsunflowerpreschool_lr-4553Our role as teachers is to provide a rich and stimulating environment in which the children may choose work freely and individually. Additionally, teachers facilitate interaction between the children and the environment. Utilizing the children’s self-motivation, we challenge them further in the areas of their special interest. We do not push the children, but rather provide the setting so that they may learn freely in their unique way at their own pace.

“Self-directed play experiences nourish and support the child’s mental abilities.” -David Elkind, Ph.D (Power of Play pg 128)

Sunflower Preschool is structured so that the children have extended periods of time to choose activities and pursue their interests from our varied learning centers. Our centers focus on writing, language, math, practical life,  art, and dramatic play. We also offer a block area with creative play choices (‘props’) and manipulatives and a unique hands-on children’s science museum with a rich collection of fossils and found items.

lavendersunflowerpreschool_lr-4535We incorporate a science-oriented theme curriculum into the classrooms. The children thrive on this interactive theme curriculum which is incorporated throughout the classrooms and throughout the school year. Our science oriented themes can include: Space and our Solar System, Oceans and Ocean Animals, Dinosaurs, Bugs and Insects, and Native Plants and Animals.

Over the years at Sunflower we have found that children learn best in an environment where creative and dramatic play is encouraged. We promote this type of play, as it is crucial that young children are given the opportunity to re-enact the life they see around them. “Fantasy play represents one of the highest levels of social involvement for young children” – Nuture Shock. The children thrive in this creative play as they explore the rotating props we provide in our numerous dramatic play areas. These areas include the indoor climber as well as the Arapahoe tipi, cottage, and the puppet theater outside.

The practical life area is an original Montessori idea where children learn every day skills through hands-on exploration. At Sunflower we present practical life in a way that promotes our themes as well as challenges the children’s hand-eye coordination, sense of order, and small motor skills. For example, during the summer months the practical life area is the Sunflower farmer’s market, full of Sunflower grown produce to “buy and sell”.

There are daily times for group activities such as yoga, music, stories, group presentations and show and tell. We utilize our outdoor deck, yard, and varied gardens as an additional classroom as well. GroupYogasunflowerpreschool_lr-3769Extended periods of outside  time are an integral part of our program. The overall design of the outdoor classroom has been over a 20 year project.  We are proud that Sunflower is now a Certified Nature Explore classroom where children are encouraged to connect with nature on a daily basis.

“The outdoor classroom shifts early childhood education from a primarily indoor teacher initiated model to one that embraces outdoor, child-initiated play as critical to children’s well being. By moving children and their activities outdoors, the character and type of what they do are transformed.  Children regain control over their activities and become responsible for their own learning and growth, supported by attentive adults who ensure their safety and stimulation.” – Eric M. Nelson 

We feel that spontaneous self-initiated play choices are the child’s natural way of making sense of the world- and that all creative play choices offered at Sunflower are equal in their educational value.

“Self-directed play experiences nourish and support the child’s mental abilities.” (pg. 128, “Power of Play”, Elkind.)

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