A Sunny Place Learning's preschool program is unique because it has been designed from the ground up rather than ordered from a company who delivers an “out of the box” program that comes in the mail with pre-counted and pre-cut materials. We have taken the approach that we are co-learners right along with the children and partners with the parents of our students.

This helps your children be part of a fluid fabric where teachers and parents are all woven together as one united team with a common goal: Your child’s success.

We have the honor of being a part of the most important building blocks that will form the foundation for the academic, social, spiritual, and emotional future that will stay with your child throughout their lives.  We understand that learning should be a hands-on experience and have built our curriculum around a play-based, process-not-product philosophy that focuses on the journey, not a series of pre-fabricated pom-pom and googley-eyed cut-here-paste-there products.  We include: Art, Science, Language, Music, Movement, Play, Environmental Responsibility, Gardening, Brain Development, and Child Development.

After teaching preschool for years, we realized that more and more students were struggling to meet the important benchmarks in school.  Because of this, we took the time to interview local kindergarten teachers and ask them what deficits they face when children enter their program.  We took this information and implemented tools into our program to not only fill the deficits, but exceed the requirements of kindergarten entrance.   Your child’s success is very important to us, and we strive to reach benchmarks that will slingshot your child into elementary school ahead of the game.

Art- Art is messy.  We go far beyond neat little puddles of paint and dive right into buckets of colored shaving cream, blowing colored bubbles all over the yard, and painting the fence with all manner of medium.  Basic shapes are introduced, there are plenty of crayons, markers, and colored pencils, and every child at some point has a blue hand that takes a day or two to wash completely clean. Professor Semir Zeki, chair in neuroaesthetics at University College London did an experiment showing the connection between art and increased blood flow to the part of the brain that controls desire, drive, and pleasure.  What does that mean?  ART MAKES HAPPY KIDS!!!

Science - We are the only program in the city of Gresham that we know of with a focus on science.  While other programs are focused on performance of math and reading in their students, we believe that basic scientific concepts are the fundamental building blocks of the foundation of academics.  Children learn everything about how the world works through science from what sinks or floats, spatial recognition, making shadows with flashlights, and even what foods taste like.  Preschoolers are filled with so much wonder about everything around them, and there is a reason for them to be so curious.  They are naturally biologically prepared to use experiments to learn about the world.  They learn problem solving skills, hypothesis testing, averaging, generalizing, cause and effect, processes, language skills, and literacy from conducting experiments on the world every second of every day.  We grow things, both edible like veggies and inedible like crystals, touch everything, mix things together to see what happens, bend light, and try guess the outcome.  Science is an open-ended search to build on what you already know through creating and testing theories, then deciding what did and didn’t work, and why. 

  • Sources: Kathleen Conezio, M.S., Lucia French, Ph. D., the National Science Foundation and Department of Education, the A.L. Mailman Family Foundation, and Rochester’s Child.

Language- A Sunny Place Learning Center is proud to be an English as a Second Language Emersion program.  Our focus is on Spanish and American Sign Language.  Language development is the very beginning step in literacy skills linked to success later in life. Language involves both listening and speaking, and we use tools to give our students deep roots in pre-literacy and language skills to give the head start they need to succeed.  It is imperative for children to be able to understand and express themselves at an early age.  A deficit in these skills has been shown to cause psychosocial and emotional adjustment problems in their later lives, and raises the risk factors for social, emotional, and behavioral problems.  We give our students a jump start into literacy and language skills that pour the foundation of education and will stay with them for a lifetime. 

  • Sources: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development (CEECD) and the Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Child Development (SKC-ECD)

Music- A ten-year study at UCLA of students shows that people who learned how to read and play music scored higher in math and science.  This spawned other research that shows when music is introduced to children in their early years, it boosts cognitive thinking.  One recent MIT study determined that the cerebral cortex of a concert pianist is enlarged by 30% on average compared to people that are considered intellectuals, but who did not have instrumental music education.  At A Sunny Place Learning Center, we offer an introduction to music through instruments, singing, and listening.  We know that the more instruments children have access to in their early years, the easier musical education will be when they reach an age where they begin reading sheet music.  The other component to the importance of music is literacy.  Memorizing songs is one of the very first steps in literacy in young children.  Music is one of the first things we learn and the last things we lose, so it’s vital to introduce it at a very early age.

  • Sources- UCLA, MIT

Movement- Movement is a key piece of child development and gross motor skills top the list.  According to Peter V. Coveney, a Professor in Physical Chemistry and Director, Center for Computational Science (CCS) at University College London (UCL), “The “wiring” of the brain is an amazing phenomenon of precision considering that the mature brain contains in excess of 100 billion neurons that are intricately connected with one another in ways that make possible the amazing functions underlying human behavior. Each neuron links up with thousands of other neurons to form trillions of connections. The total length of “wiring” between neurons is estimated at 62,000 miles.”   This is after the unused connections die off in early childhood!  Think of the possibilities!  Fifteen years ago, scientists were still under the assumption that a mature brain was the result of a genetic blueprint.  Scientists are now learning that to achieve the precision of the mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences during the early developing years is necessary (Greenough & Black, 1992; Shatz, 1992).  Whether they are working on benchmarks such as jumping, hopping on one foot, skipping, balancing in a yoga pose, or just running and playing, special and brain development is happening. Children learn everything about the world through doing.  The connections made in the brain through movement are so important. Children are naturally wired and dripping with energy, and the reason for this is so they have the energy to explore the world. Children who don’t have movement in their school day often develop behavioral issues due to the simple fact that they need to burn off energy.  Antsy children who can’t hold still or listen are generally children who need get out their wiggles. 

  • Sources: Greenough & Black, 1992; Shatz, 1992, PV Coveney and RR Highfield, Frontiers of Complexity (Fawcett, New York, 1995; Faber and Faber, London, 1995)

Play- Play is rapidly disappearing from our homes, schools, and neighborhoods. Over the last two decades children have lost 8 hours of free, unstructured, and spontaneous play per week. More than 30,000 schools in the United States have eliminated recess to make more time for academics (Elkind).  The amount of time children spend in organized sports has doubled, and the number of minutes children devote each week to passive leisure, not including watching television, has increased from 30 minutes to more than three hours. It is no surprise that childhood obesity is an epidemic (Hofferth). The problem goes way beyond just obesity though.  Decades of research has shown that play is crucial to physical, intellectual, and social emotional development at all ages. This is especially true of the purest form of play: the unstructured, self-motivated, imaginative, independent kind, where children initiate their own games and even invent their own rules (Hofferth).  At the preschool level, children engage in dramatic play and learn who is a leader, who is a follower, who is outgoing, and who is shy. They also learn to negotiate their own conflicts.  We recognize the importance of play at A Sunny Place Learning Center and have carved out time for self-initiated creative play.

  • Sources: Play- Dr. David Elkind, author of The Power of Play: Learn­ing That Comes Nat­u­rally,

Environmental Responsibility- We only have one world.  That world is only filled with the animals that fill it.  It is so important to teach our children how to be good stewards of the environment we live in.  We focus heavily on reduce-reuse-recycle, and most of our art projects are made using recycled materials.  We have added recycled materials to our building blocks as well as our free art space.  Our preschool program also has visitors such as Rachel the Mermaid who come in and tell a story about her life and how we can help to save the oceans.  Our students “visit” other places such as the rain forest and the arctic to learn all about different biomes and the animals and people who live there.  In each biome, we discuss the parts of the environment that are in trouble and ways we can help from home.  We may just be a small group of kiddos, but we can help the world in big ways.

Spiritual- Proverbs 22:6 says “Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life.”  This is our job, both as parents and educators, and it’s not to be taken lightly.  Children learn more from our example and results of their own actions than they ever will by just being told.  While we don’t “push” our faith on others, the Bible says tons of healthy and important ways we should live our lives.  Galatians 5:22-26 is a perfect example of this.  The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.  We’re teaching the children these principles throughout the day and have noticed a HUGE difference in behavior and social interaction.

Brain and Child Development- Everything we do in our preschool program at A Sunny Place learning Center is directly tied to both brain and child development.  If you are looking for a place for your child to thrive beyond academics and pre-made products, enroll your child today.

Our Preschool

Call Us : (503) 348-1419​​

Email Us : info@SunnyPlaceLearning.com

With two different options, we believe we have a program for almost everyone!  We have full day and half day options.  Full day offers great flexibility with your choice of hours and secures your spot Monday through Friday.

Our half day option follows Gresham Barlow's Elementary calender.  Class starts at 9am and dismisses at 2:45 Monday through Friday with the exception of Wednesdays, which starts at 10am.

See Tuition and Openings page for information on availability and rates.