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SUNSHINE HOUSE OAKLEY

875 West Cypress Road
Oakley, CA 94561

Phone:
(925) 625-5600

Website:

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year round academic preschool

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

Our program incorporates the best of many learning phiolsophies. While our program is play-based and appears FUN to the children, it is carefully created to provide optimal learning, teaching academic as well as social skills. Each of our learning centers and teacher directed learning times has a specific focus and the overall goal is to provide cutting-edge opportunity for children to become enthusiastic, engaged learners.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught Spanish, Character Development (kindness, patience, etc.)

From the Director:

Our program is literacy based, meaning that we focus on a particular theme, a particular book, and present activites across every area of curriculum to engage every child, every style of learning.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Teachers are careful observers of each child, artfully adapting curriculum to fit each child's needs. They are skilled at teaching children to become accepting of others differences. We *all* have differences.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

It is our philosophy that children are constant learners, that their play is their work. Research has shown that we remember a small percentage of what we are told. We retain a greater percentage of what we see, and greater percentage yet of things we see/hear at the same time. But, we remember a majority of things we see, hear & physically experience at the same time. Therefore, most of our teaching experiences are "hands on", allowing learning to occur on many levels.
We believe in supporting, as opposed to controlling, a child’s learning. Most of our day is spent in "free choice" activities. This means your child is able to choose the learning center that is most attractive to them. We put a great deal of thought & effort into creating interesting learning areas that will be enticing to your child. It also takes professional teachings skills to maintain a room that is active (yet, not overwhelming) that meets the needs of a great variety of children. Your child will naturally choose the area their temperament & personal development draws them to.
Our changing themes renew your child’s interest in learning & draw them into interacting with their environment. We feel it is more important to be an enthusiastic, life-long learner than it is to learn a specific academic skill (Although that happens, too!). It is also important to learn to make activity choices & sustain involvement with that choice. If activities are always planned for children, they are not allowed to learn that skill.
The purpose of our teacher directed learning time is to expose your child to areas of learning they might not experience of their own free choice. It is also to develop a sense of community, of belonging to part of a group. Being part of a group comes naturally to some, and will be learned by others.
Learning social skills happens all day long at Sunshine House! Children are the center of their universe when they are 2. As they mature, others move in to their field of vision. Clear communication, being able to defend themselves, being able to resolve conflicts to a peaceful end, are all BIG learning events for all children. We are here to facilitate this growth! We also believe that this learning is more important than learning a specific academic skill (Remember, that happens, too!).
Having said all this, we also believe you are your child's first & most important teacher. It is you who will instill in your child values that are important to you. You will teach your child about your culture & religious beliefs. We help open the door of learning, but you and your child walk in and choose from all there is to offer in this world.

A Typical Day

Arrival and breakfast (7:15-7:45). Children participate in quiet activities and eat breakfast. As children finish breakfast they can visit the learning centers and participate in individual or small group activities. At 8:00 they have the choice of working inside or out.

Circle Time: Teacher brings the group together for theme-focused morning routines, Self-Pronouncing Alphabet, calendar, weather, puppets, sharing, music & movement, literacy-building, nursery rhymes.

Learning Center Time: As a group children explore math & science concepts, color & shape, magnets, health, dramatic expression, animals and habitats, balance and coordination.

Snack: whole-grain foods and fresh fruits & vegetables

Art Time: Children explore art expression or choose to work in learning centers or participate in a variety of outdoor activities.

Focused Literacy: Group read aloud of our monthly book and engagement in other kindergarten readiness activities exploring that book: reading strategies, math, alphabet recognition, sight words, handwriting, cutting, social concepts, general following direction skills.

Outdoor play: Children participate in an organized outdoor game or a variety of other outdoor activities (riding equipment, sand and water play, balls, parachute).

Lunch: Children wash their hands, set-up their place at the table, and eat lunch.

Reading Time: Children select their own book and read quietly, preparing for nap.

Rest time and Quiet Work Time: Most children sleep. If not, after a 30 minute rest, children can choose a quiet activity: reading, drawing and writing, math & science table, puzzles or playdough table.

Art Time: Children explore art expression and other quiet activities continue as children rise from nap.

Snack & Cooking: whole-grain foods and fresh fruits & vegetables. Spanish is spoken (immersion Spanish).

Children choose to work in learning centers or participate in a variety of outdoor activities.

Circle Time: Group time exploring music & movement, book reading, followed by table time with writing and math activities.

Light snack, table games and learning centers.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We have open communication with parents and are available at drop-off and pick-up times for conversation. We have a newsletter that keeps parents informed about upcoming events as well as our themes, special days, and letting them know how to be involved.

We complete learning assessments on each child twice a year and offer an individual conference to share information and offer parents ways of enhancing their child's learning.

We have many family events throughout the year. Special theme days and luncheons that parents participate in, Christmas Program put on by the children, Santa & Cider where children meet, get pictures taken with Santa, as well as serve their parents a snack, Easter Eggstravaganza is a same kind of event as Santa & Cider but with the Easter Bunny. We have a Mother's Day Tea, a Father's Day BBQ, and an Ice Cream Social in the summer.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school

Separation

Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Much of the separation anxiety is on the part of the parent! We reassure parents and give them follow-up phone calls during the day, as needed. We have a "waving window" where children can extend their good-byes to their parents.

We are supportive of children with any kind of anxiety. Our policy is to meet fears with understanding, giving space for honest grieving, and offering opportunities for involvement when they're ready. We encourage parents to send a picture from home. Children bring cuddly toys and whatever comforts them, to use until they are ready to move on.