While success in school is important, we aim to give children the foundations for success in life. We want them to be healthy individuals and productive citizens. To this end, our programs are designed to strengthen the whole child. We are concerned with the social, emotional and intellectual development of each and every child in our programs.

We believe that first hand experience of the world is the very best teacher. Young children need to interact with the world, rather than a TV, computer or game screen of any variety, in order to develop intellectual curiosity and understanding. As early childhood education expert Bev Bos says:

“It must be in the hand before it can be in the brain.

Our creative arts programs for young children provide rich sensory experiences, process-oriented art, creative music, science, movement and drama. These experiences lay the foundation for later academic achievement. Information is meaningless without a “hook” on which to hang it in the brain – these early sensory-rich experiences give children the “hooks” that they need.

We believe that a strong personal voice is key to both social and emotional development. In order for children to develop a strong personal voice, they must acquire what child development expert and author Dan Gartrell calls democratic life skills. He describes democratic life skills as including the ability to:

  • see one’s self as a worthy individual and a capable member of the group
  • express strong emotions in non-hurting ways
  • solve problems ethically and intelligently
  • be understanding of the feelings and viewpoints of others
  • work cooperatively in groups, with acceptance of the human differences among members.

In our programs we use Professor Gartrell’s Guidance techniques in order to teach democratic life skills. We believe as he does that “the attainment of democratic life skills, more than scores on standardized tests and other measures of academic achievement, will keep our society strong, just, and free.”

We view conflicts between children as opportunities for social and emotional growth. Our aim is to teach age-appropriate nonviolent conflict resolution to all of the children and adults involved in our classes and programs. We believe in the Guidance techniques of Dan Gartrell -- that adults should assist children to learn to solve their problems, rather than punish them for having problems they cannot solve.

© Copyright 2006-2010, Sunflower Creative Arts, Inc.
Sunflower Creative Arts, Inc. is a 501c3 organization, which provides its services and benefits to children and families without regard to race, color, nationality, religion or ethnic origin.