Stimulate Your Child’s Curiosity

Indoor Curriculum

Indoor Curriculum

 insidesunflowerpreschool_lr-4417The basic Sunflower indoor curriculum is organized around  learning centers in a hands-on, child-directed environment.  We have many permanent centers, including art, snack, practical  life, language, writing easel, math, manipulatives, blocks, books,  and a science room. We also utilize our indoor climber as a  reflection of our theme curriculum. We work hard to make the  learning centers (both permanent and rotating) fun and  interesting. This task is accomplished by assigning each teacher  specific areas that they are responsible for throughout the school  year. Each teacher rotates educational materials and activities on  a monthly basis, utilizes Sunflower’s inventory of materials, and  creates new materials for the learning centers.

 As well as the basic framework of learning centers, we have  expanded the curriculum to offer many additional learning opportunities. For instance, the art area consists of a weekly art project and a variety of art supplies. We leave out collage items, paints, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, assorted paper, play dough, stamps, and various seasonal and theme curriculum oriented materials. With this wealth of resources, the children tend to create their own open-ended, individualized art projects. This creative openness in the art area supports our philosophy of “process not project” when introducing young children to art.

montessorisunflowerpreschool_lr-4449-1“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” (Albert Einstein)

Another example of the expansion of the basic curriculum is our theme curriculum. The theme curriculum is implemented January through August. The Fall months are reserved for back-to-school and seasonal subject matter. The theme curriculum at Sunflower has been developing and evolving since the mid-eighties. We have discovered that the children appreciate and respond to an ever-changing and stimulating environment. They love the dramatic play aspect of the various themes, as well as learning new subject matter and watching the climber turn into a spaceship, rainforest, or “Dinosaur Jungle”.

“Young children learn abstract thinking through play”-Nurture Shock

The theme curriculum we have developed is science-based. We study Dinosaurs, Space, Oceans and Ocean Animals, Bugs and insects, Tropical Rain forests, and Plants and Animals. The theme is integrated throughout the classroom and learning centers. We use a hands-on approach. For example, when we study Space, you might see some of the following activities if you were to visit the Sunflower classroom: The book shelf is full of “space” books. The walls are covered in solar system, astronaut, and space shuttle posters. The climber has become a space ship, the children dressed as ‘real astronauts’ the language area has space objects, word matching and space words to write or trace. In the math area, the children can weigh themselves on a scale. How much do you weigh on Earth, or on the Moon? For snack, the children make peanut butter planets or flying saucers. In the science room, you might see children looking through a telescope, holding a real meteorite, or engaged in a space project at the lab bench.

readsunflowerpreschool_lr-4435We further support the learning our theme curriculum generates by visiting local areas of interest. Our field trips during the school year can include: the Butterfly Pavilion, the University of Colorado’s Planetarium, the University of Colorado’s Natural History Museum, Boulder Area Parks, the pumpkin patch, or a guided walk to visit the prairie dogs.

The basic Sunflower curriculum and the theme curriculum are always presented to the children in a relaxed, developmentally appropriate environment. For example, a child interested in blocks is still free to build with blocks until she/he chooses a different activity, regardless of the theme curriculum.

At Sunflower, we encourage children to be themselves, to explore, to make friends, and to have fun.

“There has been widespread acceptance of the theory that temperment and  interpersonal skills might be more important to success than cognitive intellect.” – Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence 1995

Adapted from: Curriculum 1993, Ellman and Wineland Sunflower Preschool / Updated 2008/2013, Debra King Ellman