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Sunnybeam School

8635 SE 68th Street
Mercer Island, WA 98040

(206) 232-5776

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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

From the Director:

Sunnybeam doesn't fit into any of the above “Approach to Learning” categories. Our school is a “center-play based” preschool. The curriculum is a balance of teacher-led instruction and play in centers with "intentionally" designed activities. Literacy is infused in all centers and content areas. All of the curriculum areas identified on this survey are part of our program. We cover these areas through a balance of teacher-led and play-based activities, intentionally designed to support breadth and depth of learning in that area. A high level of teacher-child interaction is supported and promoted. Our approach includes: - Rhymes, poems and songs are modeled in oral and written form. - Children learn songs in a variety of languages. - Instruments are used during music period. - Children are given the opportunity to read with adults, each other, and by themselves. - Science, in addition to being covered through center based play, is offered through a once a week visit to the “science room”.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Meaningful books in all areas, teachers interact with children during play to model literacy skills and introduce new vocabulary and extend thinking
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

More Information

  • Puzzles
  • Geo-boards, counting manipulatives, number cards, math games, Leggos, paper, pencils and unifix cubes.
Time & space more

More Information

  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • Daily discussion around calendars, schedules etc...
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

More Information

  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
  • Seperate science room with teacher to conduct experiments and concentrate on extending theme or units being taught in the main classroom.
Music more

More Information

  • Musical instruments
  • Daily music sessions with singing, movement, and introduction to some songs in languages other than English. Children lead part of the session with suggestions of activities.
Visual arts more

More Information

  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Dictated "remarks" or "observations" of students about their work included when applicable. Daily art with meaningful focus provided as a center.
Physical activity more

More Information

  • 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
  • We also have bigwheels, scooters, and pedal cars. We have both a covered and uncovered sand box. We have stick horses and outdoor playhouses. And we play organized games with an adults provided as a choice,
Other subjects taught - Social Studies - Diversity - Character skills (such as respect, compassion, honesty, friendship etc)

From the Director:

Sunnybeam has a center-based literacy rich curriculum. Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are infused in all center areas in meaningful ways on a daily basis. Activities are planned based on formal and informal assessment of our students.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Using formal and informal assessments, a curriculum is designed and implemented to support and encourage all children, no matter where they are developmentally and academically to be successful and progress in their skills.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Children learn through play and meaningful instruction. Experiences should be provided that not only enhance academic growth, but social-emotional growth as well.

A Typical Day

9:15-9:30 -Arrive-Sign-in
9:30 -9:50- Circle time
9:50-10:30- Centers/ Small groups
10:30-10:40- Shared reading
10:40-10:55- Snack
10:55-11:30- Outside time
11:30-11:40- Flag and tradtional poems
11:40-11:55- Music
12:00-12:30- Lunch
12:30-12:45- End of day meeting
12:45- Dismissal

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Sunnybeam has an open door policy with parents of its students. Parents can come in and observe and have lunch with their child whenever they want. We do ask them to give us a days notice that they will be there.

Sunnybeam has an evening open house for each class before the school year starts and conducts one optional and one mandatory parent-teacher conference during the year. Parents can request any additional conferences if necessary.

Sunnybeam uses day folders as a way to communicate and send home written information and parents can contact me (the director) via phone or email as well.

Sunnybeam is also launching a web-site to give all prospective parents preliminary information about the school and it's staff.

We also have a parent-volunteer program. Parents sign up to work in the classroom on designated days and times. If parents have special talents or skills we love to have them come and share them with the children. A training is provided before parents volunteer so they know classroom expectations and behavior management strategies.

Sunnybeam also holds a before school picnic for all new families that will be attending in the upcoming year.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • 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
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

All staff at Sunnybeam are sensitive to children who have difficulty separating. They are knowledgeable about child development and use techniques to support a child's ability to be independent and confident at school.

We also encourage parents who are concerned about separation to come with their child and visit the classroom prior to starting school