MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
A Letter to Dear Parents
Dear esteemed parents,
Warm greetings to all of you! I am Catherine Yen Pham, the Founder & CEO of Sunshine Village. Since 2014, I have been working in Vietnam in various educational institutions. Over time, I have come to realize that the educational system in Vietnam, particularly in early childhood education, needs a deeper and more systematic understanding. This realization led me to create guidance channels and write books, which I hope you have had the chance to read.
Starting with the mindset change of parents – Parents think, Sunshine Village established parenting classes in 2014 under the principle that a calm heart leads to a well-behaved child. This approach has garnered much agreement from parents who believe that a child’s behavior reflects the parents’ image, and family education is the cradle of all educational systems. For young children, the most important aspect is not just building excellent intelligence but also fostering a resilient soul and a heart full of love. This forms the foundation for a happy life that will accompany the child throughout their journey.
I hold a degree in Psychology from a prestigious university in New York and have worked extensively with both adults and children. I have come to appreciate the valuable insight that true human happiness does not depend on wealth but rather on the presence of happiness within the soul. We all deserve happiness from birth, and it can only exist when we recognize its existence and practice it in our daily lives. I have absorbed this philosophy from Carl Rogers’ humanistic approach, and interestingly, in Vietnam, Thich Nhat Hanh shares a similar ideology. This mindset permeates every corner of Sunshine Village Preschool. I firmly believe that building happiness from a child’s character during the preschool years is our eternal mission and vision.
There was a period when Sunshine attempted to change its criteria to meet parents’ needs and got lost in that mentality. I want to reaffirm that Sunshine Village is solely dedicated to building happiness for a child, starting with their character during the preschool stage, the simplest time to build the subconscious naturally without the need for forceful shaping.
At Sunshine Village, each child learns how to behave and cultivate good habits to become a person rich in love. In all lessons at Sunshine Village, the first and most important thing is not to build superlative intelligence but to focus on the heart. We always strive to achieve the balance of Heart – Head – Hand or, in simpler terms, to use the heart for perception, the head for thinking, and the hands for experiencing everything life has to offer.
Following the Finnish education philosophy has been a significant decision in my life. In developed and civilized countries such as Finland, Switzerland, personality education and peaceful living are the most crucial core elements compared to skills or talents. In the first four years, Sunshine Village has applied the foundation of Finnish education in teaching, evident in the graduates of Sunshine who have happy faces, bright eyes, and hearts full of love for every branch of grass. They possess mature thoughts, independence, and empathy for the surrounding world: “Why do you do that? If you do that, the grass will hurt!” Alongside this, Sunshine Village also emphasizes discipline, problem-solving skills, and delicate interpersonal relationships. This is what we have achieved and will continue to strive for in our history and future.
I named it Sunshine Village, meaning the Village of Light because, fundamentally, every child, every person bringing a soul to this world, is a light. In that place, if the faint clouds do not obscure it, each person will shine and radiate in their unique way. We have created a village to help dispel the haze, allowing those lights to shine. The village is complete with compassion, intelligence, and courage to grow together with the children.
C.E.O Catherine Yen Pham
Ms. PHAM HOANG YEN