Multi-Cultural Education/ Enrichments
During the year Sunshine celebrates the rich diversity of many cultures through our Enrichment Program, which helps children to understand ways and reasons humans celebrate culture. Children learn about how seasonal changes are observed around the world. We work actively to ensure that each child feels at home at Sunshine and that her/his family’s traditions are honored. As educators, we work with purpose to create joyous learners whose conceptual understanding of the world is continually challenged and extended. Sunshine provides a wonderful blend of holding on to traditions that define the school from year-to-year, and from generation-to-generation, and that gives Sunshine its unique character. Additionally, we continuously improve the Enrichment program so it reflects our student population and supports our thematic studies.
Combining 30 years of professional musicianship with the natural ability to inspire children, Rhythm Child Drumming comes to Sunshine to start the year with classroom presentations through rhythm-based activities. The program utilizes research and techniques from Early Childhood Development practices to excite children about how percussion is an important part of making music.
This Enrichment, which takes place at the start of the school year, helps children understand the importance of recycling. With great excitement the Waste Management recycling trucks pull into the school driveway. With the help of Mr. Recycle and Robo Blue the children enjoy and learn all about different aspects of recycling, which instills in them the significance of taking the responsibility to make our Earth a better place.
Diwali is an important festival celebrated in India. It celebrates the victory of good over evil. The display of lights that illuminate Indian homes and hearts is a key element of this Festival of Lights. The children are immersed in a day of Rangoli, sand paintings, coloring rice, decorating “diyas”(candles), learning about the Indian flag, and other various cultural Indian practices around the celebration of Diwali. The decorations around the school create an authentic ambience that is enjoyed by the children, teachers, and parents. The children love wearing bindi stickers on their foreheads throughout the day.
Children learn about the origins of the history of the Pilgrims and Native Americans as well as the significance of offering thanks for both material and spiritual possessions. Since dance is an integral part of Native American life, the children watch The Eagle Spirit Dancers, presented by the Hale family, who share with Sunshine authentic American Indian cultures representing a variety of tribes through songs, dance, and story telling. The dancers are dressed in authentic beautiful attire. A larger discussion occurs about ways cultures celebrate the darkening on the days as winter approaches. Sunshine Pre School has a warmth about it with pumpkins, haystacks, fall related decorations, and shared snack has the feel of a Thanksgiving feast. A shared meal helps children celebrate the communal essence of Thanksgiving.
This eight day Jewish holiday celebrates the Festival of Lights.
The children assemble to hear a Rabbi relate the story of the Maccabees and how they used a single flask of pure olive oil with enough fluid for one night to light the menorah in the temple for all eight days of Hanukkah. In addition, the children learn how the menorah works and the distinct location of the Shamash. They enjoy playing rounds with driedels and learn how to count to 10 in Hebrew.
This widely observed Christian cultural holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The children at Sunshine partake in a weeklong celebration that has many of the traditional American celebrations of this season including decorating a live school Christmas tree, art projects, and collecting toys and clothing for children and families in need. They enjoy a fun and lively enrichment provided by Santa’s Elves, a troupe of humorous dancers, who engage the children in laughter and the joy of the season. Additionally, a few parents take on the roll of Santa Claus, and each child visits “Santa” to tell what they would like as a gift. Rita visits each classroom to tell the traditional story of Christmas, using a crèche to show the characters of the Christmas story.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
This holiday honors a man who was a chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the American Civil Rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. This holiday provides for rich discussions around what discrimination is. The children write/dictate their dreams for making the world a better place. Children are made well aware of this fact through books and a day-long celebration recognizing this great man.
Lunar New Year
From late January to mid-February, China, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Tibet, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Republic of Mauritius, and the Philippines, celebrate the Lunar New Year. The Lunar New Year is tied to the cycles of the moon, and is known as a spring festival. Lunar New Year is 15 days in length and is a season of superstition. It is a time to be with family and friends. Sunshine marks this important cultural celebration by organizing the “Lion Dancer Show” for the children to watch. They are mesmerized by the costumes, music and dances. In addition, the school is decorated in great style to depict and honor the countries celebrating their Lunar New Year. Children take home mementos to remind them of all that they have learned about this holiday.
St. Patrick’s Day
This cultural and religious holiday is celebrated on March 17. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland as well as celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. It also celebrates the heritage of our owner Rita. Listening to and watching Irish dancers, the children are invited to taste soda bread and to eat all things green. The children at Sunshine are treated to multiple shows. The first one being a bagpiper show followed by a delightful Leprechaun show. St. Patrick’s Day is another fun cultural experience for our preschoolers.
Navruz marks the first day of spring and is the New Year in the Persian calendar, and has been celebrated for at least 2500 years. People from diverse ethnic communities and religious backgrounds celebrate Navruz, which is celebrated on March 21and and for the next 13 days. Our Persian parents hold an assembly for the children. There is a beautiful display of the traditional Haft Sin table including seven items starting with the letter ‘S’ or Sin in the Persian alphabet. The children also sample traditional treats as they learn about the Persian New Year. As with the other spring holidays the children learn about why the coming of spring is celebrated.
This festival and holiday celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Though with young children our focus is more on the celebration of spring and new life. The children learn why bunnies, chicks and eggs are a traditional part of the Easter celebration. At Sunshine every class has an Easter Bunny visit as well as an Easter Egg hunt. There are happy sounds as the children run around filling their baskets with eggs and sit down to their class parties to celebrate Easter.
Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt. The children learn that the Israelites had to flee so quickly they had no leavened bread to eat, which is why Matzo, or flat bread, is eaten during Passover. They learn about the ten plagues that were inflicted on the Egyptians before the Pharaoh released the Israelite slaves. The children receive a visit from our neighboring Rabbi/Cantor who explain the story of Passover at an all school assembly.
The children at Sunshine School are taught to be stewards of the Earth. The day begins with an opening song about honoring the beginning of the environmental movement of the Earth in an all school assembly. Following this the children break up into groups and plant flowers, plants and herbs around the school periphery. Throughout the year the children tend the classroom gardens and take care of the yard. By rejuvenating it they tie their efforts to spring and the beginning of the growing cycle.
Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important Islamic holidays. Muslim families celebrate the end of Ramadan, which is based on sightings of the new moon. It is also called Feast of Breaking the Fast. Therefore Muslims in different parts of the world celebrate this event according to their locations. As in other cultural celebrations of new beginnings, families dress up and special foods are prepared. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.