Curriculum & English Teaching Materials
Learning at Sunrise
The curriculum at Sunrise ensures that children will have ample opportunity to explore and improve their English level while also advancing in terms of developmental goals be they social, physical, mental or otherwise. Out teachers, both foreign and Japanese, spend time with each child to ensure that their particular needs are being met and that they are moving at a pace which suits them. We aim to challenge children, but we also provide an encouraging environment for them to develop and learn. Our hope is that they develop the confidence to create challenges for themselves.
Assisting a Developing Child
Manners and Self-Care
We want Sunrise Kids to be a place where children feel safe and confident and where they can learn the social tools to interact with others as they grow. We teach children proper greetings and manners when eating and playing and how to respect the rules of the school. We assist children with toilet training and developing proper hygiene. We watch each child carefully and make sure that they know how to enjoy their time with others. We also track their ability to take care of themselves.
Experiencing the World
Our warm environment allows children to explore and manipulate their surroundings, and we make sure they have ample opportunity to build environmental awareness. We check to make sure they are aware of the world around them, that they have an interest in interacting with it and to what degree they are willing to take it in.
Building the Body
We regularly check the development of our kids from a physical standpoint, whether it be their gross motor skills, such as running and jumping and their fine motor skills, such as their ability to use chopstick or manipulate scissors. We practice skills regularly at the park or at the school.
Building Curiosity Through English
An Immersive Environment
We foster a positive environment at Sunrise which encourages children to experiment with English, but also helps them develop their ability to speak, listen, read and write the language. Our foreign teachers all speak English as their first language and our Japanese staff speak English and have experience living overseas. Through our circle time lessons and through constant use and exposure children are not only able to advance their communication level, but are made to feel comfortable doing so.
A Wide Variety of English
We explore several themes throughout the year. Our monthly curriculum is further divided into 2-3 themes such as family, food, shopping, Halloween, vehicles, etc. which give children a strong base for speaking and reading in later years.
From Simple to Complex
Our youngest children develop a concrete vocabulary which allows them to begin understanding the world around them in English. This gives them a base for a more communicative approach as they begin to understand that English goes beyond describing the world around them, but is a powerful tool for engaging others and building knowledge. By the end of their time at Sunrise, many of our children can converse with other children, express themselves, and create ideas in English.
Reading and Writing
At Sunrise, we believe that reading and writing are important tools to unlocking the power of a language. We begin with simple dexterity practice with our youngest children and move on towards simple letter and name writing. In addition, we practice simple phonics and try to connect the sounds of each letter to their form. As children grow older they try to read simple words and letter combinations and attempt to read simple picture books and speeches and write simple sentences. We employ age-appropriate textbooks and our own materials in our classes to assist with these tasks. Reading and writing are skills that develop differently depending on each child, but we provide an environment and the tools to help children take on the challenge.
English to Explore
At Sunrise we realize that language is only one aspect of a child’s development. This is why our lessons use science, numeracy, role-play, movement and music to explore themes from different angles. As children grow older we expand on previous vocabulary in order to foster curiosity and build understanding. We can learn about different types of vehicles. We can chant and count and sing songs to remember the words and enjoy ourselves at the same time. But we can expand. From vehicles we can discuss which vehicles can take us where. From a rocket we can learn about the different planets in the solar system. From a bulldozer we can understand what vehicles build things and which ones break them down. Our curriculum takes the English we have learned in previous years and then goes deeper. We want to show children that English is a tool to explore, not just a cache of words.
English to Create
We always encourage our students to use English to create ideas and stories and try to give them the tools to come up with more and more complex creations. Students create using arts and crafts and explain what they have made. Students come up with stories in groups or individually, illustrate them, and when they are old enough, try reading them. We want children to understand that language is not just a tool to investigate the ideas of others, but a tool to create their own.
English to Communicate
We also want children to use English as a means to transmit ideas ? ones they have learned, ones they have experienced, or ones they have created. We encourage kids to ask questions ? not just to their teachers, but to each other. We give children ample time to speak to each other and to write letters to one another so that they can experience first-hand the power that language gives a person.
English as a Bridge
Our curriculum tries to give children a wide breadth of experience with English. We also try to instill a sense of what English can be used for. We want our children to understand that English is great tool to learn about the world and we have regular classes about America, Canada, Ireland, Germany and other countries around the world to both give a sense of a global landscape and to teacher children that with language the ability to explore, create and communicate becomes greater and greater.
A Variety of Teaching Tools
We supplement our curriculum a wide array of textbooks, storybooks CDs and flashcards. Beyond our in-house school materials, we also make use of age-appropriate picture dictionaries published by Longman-Young. Kids develop their writing skills with wipe-off books which begin with simple dexterity exercises for younger children and advance towards writing upper and lower case letters and words. We also take full advantage of audio and visual materials such as story books and CDs to build children’s reading and listening skills. We also believe in employing technology to its fullest, providing the latest English videos and music to children. They love to experience movies and songs in their original form!
Our Afterschool program employs English Time 1 and 2 for our students, which provides them with a clear progression in listening, speaking, writing and reading.
At Sunrise, we realize that up-to date materials and tools are a necessity to supplementing learning for growing children. But nothing can replace the unique relationship between child and teacher!