Sunflower At Home

In accordance with the Florida Department of Education and the state-issued “stay-at-home” order in Palm Beach County, schools in Palm Beach County have been closed for this school year. Sunflower has acted in accordance with Palm Beach County and remain closed this school year.

While we are closed, we are sharing videos, uplifting stories from our community, and resources that reflect our values and mission. We can’t wait to reopen when it is safe for our students, staff, and families.

Morning Songs

Susan, our Director, sends out a video each morning that has been recorded from her backyard or home with a selection of songs for our students and families. Sometimes she even gets requests!

Silver Linings: How We Are Coping with Covid-19 at Home

Kentaro at HomeSunflower Parent: Scott Cooper
Scott is at home with his wife Mutsuko, four-year-old Seedling, Kentaro, and 14-month-old Rei. 

Q. What does your day look like?
A.  Like everyone else, we are finding our way. Our days are beginning to follow a certain rhythm. We are taking a lot of walks, going for bike rides and playing in the backyard. I typically work at home so I am the one who wakes up with Kentaro. We do something outside to start our day. Kentaro is playing in the driveway, often creating. He has made a house from hockey nets. We are trying to simulate the Sunflower experience.

When I go back inside to work, he watches PBS or Japanese cartoons. We are allowing a little more TV time than usual. When Mutsuko wakes up she will take over with Kentaro and Rei. Sometimes their play includes a treasure hunt. They often play with a homemade sprinkler Mutsuko set up. We set up a new playroom area where Kentaro does a lot of art. His portraits of people are really developing and he draws very explicit “tummies” on his people. The day ends with dinner and reading books.

Q. Do you have any Silver Linings?
A. Seeing how the children are adapting. They are stronger and more resilient than we expected.

Q. What challenges are you experiencing?
A.  Kentaro will ask if school is open almost daily. He comments that it is taking a long time. We are answering simply and honestly. Sometimes we are giving small gifts of a book to break the monotony.

Q. Is there anything you want to share with other parents?
A. As someone who has studied peace and conflict resolution, it is important to find someone outside the home to talk to and bounce ideas off.  Also, parents can take over for each other when one’s energy gets low.


Ezra playing at Sunflower

Sunflower Parent: Fernanda Pineda Wolfson
Fernanda is at home with her husband Gary, 3-year-old Ezra, who is a current Seedling, ad baby Max.

Q. What does your day look like?
We try to keep our days as simple and peaceful as possible, but also active and productive. We map out our day the night before and then try to stick to a toddler-friendly, flexible schedule. Ezra (pictured, at Sunflower, to the right), Max and I are up by 7 am and Gary joins us a bit later. He likes to stay up late and work at night when the house is quiet.

Gary and I try to take turns during the day being “on duty” with the kids, usually in 3 hour chunks so we can get some work done. Gary revamped a used, two-seater “family bike” – adding a platform for the baby car seat and a toddler seat with shade, cup holders and string lights. We get looks and honks when we ride it but we take it as a compliment. 

We are allowing a little more screen time, and have been doing Zoom with other Seedlings.  We also spend a lot of time in the back yard.  Ezra has invented a myriad of games out there and the day often flies by.  On one occasion, Ezra set up a pile of cardboard boxes and tumbled them down with his body swinging from a trapeze probably 50 times.

At dinner we do a gratitude check in which is a family ritual. After dinner, Gary cleans up the kitchen (phew), everyone showers and then we reconvene in our bed to read some books.

Q. Do you have any silver linings?
The Corona Pirates (we heard this nickname for Covid-19 and have been using it at home) have brought fear, anger, frustration, and other heavy situations to many families. It has been definitely a challenging time, but we stay – to the best of our abilities – teachable, optimistic, grateful and loving. I am grateful that during this confinement, I have had the chance to work a bit on some of my idiosyncrasies with perspective and humor. 

The first week of this isolation I felt like the poor fish from the Cat in the Hat… everywhere I looked there was a big mess. After a few days, I was able to move my eyes away from the mess and see my son’s play with more care: he was building forts, creating obstacle courses, setting up a restaurant, “reading” books all around the house. He was playing non-stop everyday, and the best part was that, sometimes, he invited me to join in.

One of the most amazing times was when he was drawing a map for me to find him, took paper and crayons and started to draw the map. I asked him: “how am I going to know where you are?” and he said: “here, I will put my name here” and he wrote, for the first time (that I know), the letter “E”. I said “thanks, that is very useful to find you.” My voice was normal, but my heart was jumping of joy and excitement.

Q. What challenges have you been experiencing?
A. Not every day is smooth. Not every day goes as planned. Sometimes I can’t wait for the day to be over. There is frustration, bickering, anger, and some kicking (this latter one only by Ezra!). Ezra is really close to my mother who lives two blocks away. They used to hang out every other day and have sleep overs. My mother gave us so much support, and it was really hard when we made the decision to not see her anymore to protect her because she is particularly vulnerable. The first two weeks were immensely difficult. Ezra cried every morning asking to go visit his grandma, saying “I don’t have the virus! I will wash my hands!”

Q. Is there anything you want to share with other parents?
These unprecedented times have definitely humbled us and taught us important lessons: practice more patience and flexibility and believe in the power of solidarity. Take it easy on you and yours and make space as a family to talk about feelings, whatever they may be. Also, staying connected to other families has been uplifting. The optimistic nature of the sunflower makes it stand tall and look for the sun, and when planted together, they purify the soil. We are all like sunflowers, strong as individuals and impactful as a community.

Colleen at HomeSunflower Teacher: Colleen Putnam
Colleen is at home with her four daughters: Daejah, 23; Elise, 18; Amelia, 8, and Rosie, 7.

Q. What does your day look like?
A. The older girls are mostly independent, but do need some time to chat. Elise needs some support because this is her final year in high school and she will be missing senior events like graduation and prom. The two younger girls need help with going to school virtually. We wake up a bit later than we would if we were going out to school, eat a good breakfast and then get on the computers. We work from about 8:30-2:30 with lots of breaks. We take a lot of nature walks during our breaks, often visiting the pond in our apartment complex. We have been watching tadpoles and releasing them when they become frogs. We also picnic at the pond. We take out Magnatiles and loose parts from the recycles. I take time out for my own walks and they do some projects with their older sisters. We try to listen to more music than watch TV. 

Q. Do you have any silver linings? 
A. Everyone is learning to wash their hands really well. [jokingly]. We have more time together during the week without the normal rushing inherent in the school day. Each day is a creative opportunity. The girls are coming up with such creative ideas. Also, the natural world is getting a chance to heal while everybody is inside. 

Q. What challenges are you experiencing?
A.  The days can be pretty much non-stop with the girls schooling and being at home constantly. Some days I have to take deep breaths and tell myself this is how it is today but tomorrow will be different. Although there are many sacred moments at home, I am missing my time as a Seedlings teacher. 

Q. Is there anything you want to share with other parents?
A. This is a good pause in life to figure out what you want to keep in your life and what is not working that you can let go. It’s also important to find a little time to yourself each day. I am learning Portuguese on the DuoLingo App. Also, I think about how I want my kids to look back and see me in this situation. I want my kids to look back and remember how we spent our time together.

At-Home Resources
Need help with ideas for your child’s day-to-day play? Here are some resources we know and trust:

1. Opportunities abound for your children to engage in child-directed play. So, break out the art supplies, sit back and watch what unfolds. A great way to launch your next art activity is by letting your children. explore creative mono-prints with loose parts: this blog post from Fairy Dust Teaching provides detailed directions and photos to help you get started. If you don’t have the exact materials, just get creative.
2. Visit the Palm Beach County Library for virtual resources. 
3. has useful resources for talking to your kids about Coronavirus as well as parenting resources during this time.
4. 10 Nature Activities to Help Get Your Family Through the Coronavirus Pandemic  by Richard Louv offers suggestions for staying connected to nature as we social distance. 
5. Too Small to Fail is a useful resource/tool-kit to remind parents of fun indoor activities, and creative mono-prints with loose parts. also provides some times for fun ways to promote learning at home.

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