Language and literacy are critical for all other aspects of the curriculum and for the children’s social and emotional development. Our language curriculum pervades the children’s daily experiences. We teach language through conversations, story telling, songs, sound games, books, pretend play, and our language and music classes. We teach literacy starting in the infant program with the alphabet song, simple books, and basic pattern recognition games. The teachers engage the children in conversations throughout the day, help them to use words and stories as they interact with each other, and encourage them to read age-appropriate books. The teachers also read to the children daily and engage them in group reading by posing questions about the stories such as what a particular character is feeling or what will happen next.
All classrooms at Sunshine Academy are also “print-rich” in that all areas, materials, coat hooks and mailboxes are labeled; high-quality age-appropriate books are accessible; and children’s own writing in on display. Through the exploration of their environment and the guidance of their teachers, the children learn to recognize letters, numbers and regular word patterns.