Children blossom with a progressive and humanistic education where their ideas and interests create both the core and the path of their curriculum. Their projects and explorations are heard and responded to both as members of a community and as individuals. At Sunflower we also introduce children to the Spanish language. We take guidance from various philosophies, pedagogies, and principles of education to create a rich, meaningful early-childhood experience.

John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Maria Montessori, and Loris Malaguzzi, shared the ideas that education should be child centered; active and interactive; and must involve the social world of the child and the community. Howard Gardner stresses the importance of recognizing the various forms of intelligence, including emotional intelligence, with which each child is gifted.

We value participating in our immediate and outlying communities. As part of our curriculum, we visit Mt. San Jacinto in Palm Springs, The Huntington Gardens, UCLA’s Botanical Gardens, Temescal Canyon, art galleries, local bookstores, and nearby beaches. We also utilize our community’s resources such as the Santa Monica Playhouse and neighborhood galleries to exhibit and perform children’s work. John Dewey stressed the value of school not preparing a child for life, but that school should be life. It is our belief that children understand and need the support of and to be part of a larger community.

By introducing the children to the Spanish language, we join our global community where linguistic and cultural diversity help us understand, collaborate, and communicate with each other. Reggio philosophy stresses the value of the 100 languages of children. At Sunflower, Spanish is an integral part of our curriculum; and Spanish, a literal language, represents our 101st language.