Our Teachers | Participation Requirements | Tuition and Classes | Learning at Sunnymont-Westside

What is Our Philosophy?

Sunnymont-Westside is a Nursery School. We like the term “nursery school” better than “preschool” because nursery school IS school for young children, not practice for “real school” later.

Sunnymont-Westside is a developmental, child-centered program. People often ask “Is your school a developmental program, or an academic program?” The answer is that Sunnymont-Westside is a developmental program where children receive a great academic foundation.

Scientists studying brain function have confirmed what our hearts have always told us: children learn best through hands-on experience, when their curiosity is piqued, when they feel safe and loved, and when they are having fun. In other words, children learn best when they are at play. So, a developmental program honors what we know about how children develop and learn best. We believe that the best way for parents and teachers to support learning is to provide materials, opportunities, and adult guidance to children as they eagerly explore the world in search of new learning.

Sunnymont-Westside supports the growth of the “whole child.” A first grader can't learn to write if she can't learn to hold the pencil or listen to the directions or share a desk with another child or quit worrying she'll fail. Each area of learning is interwoven with every other, and a child who will be successful in school and in life is skilled in many areas. Sunnymont-Westside works to strengthen all areas of children's growth.

  • Cognitive growth - foundations for math, reading, language, memory, logic, music, science
  • Physical growth - coordination, fine and large motor skills, sensory processing
  • Social growth - social skills, conflict resolution, social responsibility , kindness
  • Emotional growth - self-esteem, self-acceptance, expressing feelings appropriately
  • Creative/spiritual growth - self-expression through arts, sense of self in the big picture

Sunnymont-Westside is a diverse community.

We are proud to have many religions, cultures, and unique individuals in our membership, and feel that living in the Santa Clara Valley provides an excellent opportunity to teach our children to honor diversity from an early age. We encourage families to bring in their native languages and share them with our children, to bring in their customs, foods, celebrations, and values.  We share with our children that some of our families are vegetarians and some are not, some people celebrate this holiday and some people do not, some families have a mom and a dad, some have grandparents, some have babies, some have two moms, some have pets, etc. 

Sunnymont-Westside is a close-knit community.

While we are diverse, we share common core beliefs about children and community that bring us close together. Our parents go out of their way to help each other in and out of school. Families go on group camping trips, watch each other’s children, and support each other through the trials of parenthood and life together. 

Sunnymont-Westside is a “positive discipline” approach to guiding children.

At Sunnymont-Westside, discipline and guidance are considered part of the curriculum. Social learning is probably the most important aspect of nursery school. It is natural for children to make mistakes as they learn to get along with others (adults still do!). Children misbehave because they are trying to get their needs met and have picked a poor method. Our job as adults is to help children understand these needs, and find and practice better methods for meeting them. Time out or other punishments don’t give children an opportunity to learn, and they do leave children feeling defensive, and less ready to listen to our adult wisdom. Discipline at Sunnymont-Westside is gentle and supportive. Limits are clearly enforced by loving adults who explain why they intervened (You wanted that car! And I can't let you grab.) and help a child to learn alternatives. (Let's let him know you're waiting for a turn when he's done, and I'll help you wait.) Kids learn that an adult's most important job is to keep everyone safe, bodies and hearts' and that we will keep each of them safe while they are learning to keep others safe.