The Heart of our Schools

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The talented teaching team at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse is led with enthusiasm, values and vision.  We build cohesive teams by valuing each teacher’s strengths and contributions within the programs and recognizing the relationships with the students in their care.

We recruit the best educators in each community we serve by offering competitive pay and benefits, time off work, advancement opportunities, a beautiful and fun work environment and ample classroom supplies so they can be creative and individualize the classroom activities.

Our teachers are respected as professionals and provided the tools and ongoing professional development to thrive within their classroom.  Team building and staff morale are a primary focus of our highly dedicated school Directors.  Our teachers understand that children learn best when they are provided a foundation of warm, responsive care and a genuine loving relationship is built with their teacher.

We are very fortunate to have an amazing team of talented teachers at each of our schools who are passionate in what they do and care deeply about their students. Because we know this sentiment is shared by all who are involved with our schools, we have designed a program called the “Company-Wide Teacher of the Month/Year” to recognize our most outstanding teachers for their hard work and dedication!

A teacher from each school will be nominated for this recognition every month and from those nominees, the teacher who has most closely exhibited the ideal Little Sunshine’s Playhouse teacher characteristics will be earn the title. Teachers can be nominated by parents, students, co-workers, school managers or school owners. The comments submitted are used in conjunction with employment reviews, classroom quality assurance performances, personal exchanges, etc. to determine the winner of the “Company-Wide Teacher of the Month”. Then, at the end of the year, a “Company-Wide Teacher of the Year” will be selected out of all the Teachers of the Month.  The winners of these special awards are rewarded with additional paid vacation days and recognized company-wide.

Please take a moment to read about our past winners from the current year, along with the most recent Teacher of the Year:


Our 2016 Little Sunshine’s Playhouse Teacher of the Year is Miss Jessica Watson from Lakeway, Texas. Jessica had an outpouring of love and admiration from friends, parents, staff and management that made her our choice for Teacher of the Year. Jessica has done phenomenal things for her classroom and her classroom parents are so happy to have Jessica’s charisma, enthusiasm, and attitude towards teaching instilled in their children every day. Jessica’s love for her students is abundantly clear in the way she teaches and loves on her kiddos every day. Her daily communication to parents let them rest assured that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment, ready to learn! We received the following remarks from family feedback about Jessica:

  • “My son was in Miss Jess’ class for his first year at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse & Preschool and loved every minute with her. He left her class a few months ago and continues to bring up her name every chance he gets. “Is Miss Jess coming? Are you going with Miss Jess?” I see him light up when he sees her in the hall, running for a hug and seeking comfort by her side when he’s sad. My son went through a phase where he had a really hard time at drop off; Miss Jess played a pivotal role in helping him to be comfortable walking away from me or his dad. He knew he was in a good place with someone who cared and was a constant.” – Sarah Bernfeld
  • “Every morning when we turn on the road to school my son asks if I can see Ms. Jess’s car. She is the first person he looks for in the morning and the last person he hugs when he leaves. A day without Ms. Jess leads to multiple questions as to when she will be returning! We are so impressed with Ms. Jess’s positive attitude, professionalism and commitment to the kids. She has such a wonderful relationship with the kids and I can see that they not only love her, but respect and trust her. She personifies the attributes I believe any successful childcare business strives to be: constructive, dependable and trustworthy. I consider Ms. Jess a valuable asset to the team at LSP as well as a friend of our family. She deserves to be recognized for the hard work and positive affect she has on the kids as well as her peers.” – Poppy Poth
  • “Ms. Jess is amazing! She exudes positivity, kindness, and patience. My youngest has been out of her class for 6 months now and she still lights up and runs to her for a hug anytime she sees her. We love Ms. Jess!”  – Jessica Dodge Horwath
  • “My son, Max, has been at LSP Lakeway since the doors opened last year. Ms. Jess was his first teacher and we were so fortunate to have her. Starting a new school is never easy and always a transition, but knowing that Max had a teacher that he loved made the transition so much easier. When asked who his favorite teacher was, Max would always reply ”Ms. Jess!”. She is always smiling, always friendly, and happy to see the kids.” – The Yarborough Family

Company-Wide Teacher of the Month

Genna WillowbrookGenna is a Lead Teacher for the Willowbrook Enchanted Forest 3’s room and also one of our Head Teachers! She is an asset to her classroom and our center! Her smile can light up the room. Genna is a very positive, upbeat, happy person and never complains! She completes her lesson plans on time and helps approve other classrooms lessons and newsletters. Genna plans engaging and fun activities for her kiddos and she makes sure to challenge them daily.  Genna is extremely flexible with her schedule and willingness to help wherever needed.  She is constantly exceeding our expectations with her willingness to be a team player, her loyalty, and overall attitude. We receive positive feedback from families and we are constantly impressed with her work ethic and dedication to Little Sunshine’s!  We are so appreciative to have Ms. Genna on our team at LSP Willowbrook  and she is a very valuable employee and we cannot say enough good things about her! We cannot wait to watch her continue to grow with our school and company.

cloudia-scottsdaleMs. Cloudia is a Lead Teacher in the Preschool Program at our Scottsdale location.  She creates a routine, curriculum and schedule that perfectly meets the needs of the children.  Ms. Cloudia takes the time to get to know each child on an individual level and has created an environment that is capable of benefiting all of their needs.  Beyond that, Ms. Cloudia has sought to create a curriculum that is both hands on and academically challenging, and is age-appropriate.  Watching the children absorb the information that is being taught while developing a true love for learning has been an awesome experience.  Outside of her classroom, Ms. Cloudia has a fantastic work ethic.  She is always willing to help out, whether it be through helping clean a room or offering advice and suggestions to her co-workers.  Ms. Cloudia’s attention to detail, strong work ethic and obvious passion for children are why she was awarded the honor of company-wide teacher of the month!

gerissaMiss Gerissa joined LSP as our Toddler Assistant Teacher and was quickly promoted to Lead Infant Teacher. She brings so much joy and happiness to our team with her infectious laughter and contagious smile! It is impossible to NOT be happy around her. Gerissa has transitioned seamlessly into a lead teacher role. Her lesson plans and LuvNotes are always top notch, and the babies have learned so much with her. We could not be more proud of Gerissa, and we can’t wait to see how she continues to grow with LSP!

img_0581Miss Maddie Saxton is an infant teacher at our Springfield I location and has been with us since August 2016. She has made quite the impact on her classroom since starting. She comes to us with a Bachelor’s degree and is pursuing her Masters. The infant parents love her and so do their little ones. She’s a very hard working and dedicated employee. We are so lucky to have her!

co-springs-tomWe are excited to announce Miss Kayla Webber as our September Teacher of the Month. Miss Kayla is one of our fantastic infant teachers that is always full of enthusiasm for her kiddos. Every day she comes in dedicated to her students and dedicated to helping her team. Miss Kayla shines in providing the best care possible for her babies and has overcome many obstacles in her classroom. Everyone can see how much she cares for her students as soon as they walk through the door. She is such a sweet and genuine person towards her team and her students.  We absolutely love having Miss Kayla at LSP and know how lucky we are to have her on our team!”

ashton“Ashton Horine was voted teacher of the month by her peers for the month of September. Ashton has been an integral part of our team and was recently promoted to Head Teacher in April. Ashton has been a part of our infant and toddler team for 3 years, she is well respected by other teachers, opens the school each morning and handles all parent communication appropriately. Ashton has a personal relationship with each of her parents that exceeds expectations. She stays late when needed and has taken ownership of updating the nature center. We are proud to have Ashton as a part of Leawood LSP!”

Martha“The moment you walk into Ms. Martha’s infant room, you feel welcomed and safe. She has such a knack for making parents feel at ease when they drop off their infant for the first time. One of our newest families with a young infant told Martha that she didn’t even cry dropping off her daughter for the first time because that’s how comfortable she felt with Martha how confident she was in her care for the babies. That says a lot about a person! Martha is such a caring woman and enjoys every second she spends with our babies. Besides her personality and caring nature, she is also a rule follower and wants to do the right thing for the right reasons. You will never find a baby’s hands go unwashed after a meal or a diaper change in Martha’s room. She is so diligent about the cleanliness of both her infants and her room, and all of our parents greatly appreciate that. Martha is also a great mentor for our other infant teachers; she has a lot of knowledge to pass on and she loves to do so. There have been quite a few changes in our infant program and Martha has handled them gracefully. Our first week of August, she will go from having 5 infants in her room to 10 infants every day! She is more than ready and willing to accept the challenge, and is excited to meet more babies. We appreciate her passion for early childhood education and her huge heart for our most precious students. We can’t wait to watch her grow with us and continue to provide excellent care to our infants.

Martha deserves the teacher of the month because she is the best infant teacher around!”

ashley illum“Ashley is the co-teacher in the Secret Garden class(Toddler2). From the moment she joined our team she has exceeded all my expectations of how her class should run. She plans exciting activities, has engaging circle times and art projects that make me want to be a kid again. I thoroughly enjoy watching Ashley LOVE her job! Not only does she excel at her daily classroom responsibilities, she also builds strong family connections with the parents. She has a sweet and kind way of engaging all the parents( even those not in her room) in daily conversation. To top it off she has great bonds with her fellow team members. I am so privileged to have Ashley as part of the LSP Claremont team. I cannot wait to watch her grow with our school and company.”

A few of her fellow team members had this to say about Ashley;

“She’s an amazing teacher with an amazing attitude! Always involved.”

“Her team player spirit and willingness to do whatever is needed of her is AMAZING.”

“She’s always bubbly and communicates well with her kids, coworkers and parents.”

“She always goes above and beyond with anything involving the kiddos and staff. Great to work with by far.”

“Bubbly, positive and helpful!”

EllenThe Cardinal location chose Miss. Ellen Simmonds for May’s Teacher of the Month. Miss. Ellen has been a wonderful asset to our LSP team for almost seven years. She delivers phenomenal instruction to her Pre-K students that enables them to grow and develop in every aspect. Ellen doesn’t just provide children with kindergarten readiness, but instead works on life readiness skills so children are successful in school and in life. She cares deeply for her students, and shows them daily by providing lots of hugs and through positive interactions. One example is her compliment corner. This is where Ellen takes each child aside daily to tell them something positive about them, building their self-esteem and confidence. Family connection is likewise important to Ellen, so she takes time building relationships with all her families by providing continuous communication with them through daily personal conversations. We are so fortunate to have Ellen on our team, and feel that she is very deserving to be selected as May’s teacher of the month.

Sara“Gilbert’s Teacher of the Month for April is Sara Ernest, our sweet Assistant Teacher in Early Preschool – Sunnybrook Farms. Ms. Sara has been an asset to her classroom and our school since she started with our school as a Teacher’s Aide. The love and care she shares and shows to our 2 year olds and all other children who spend any time with her is special. Her smile can light up a room! We are so appreciative to have Ms. Sara on our team at LSP Gilbert.”

jessica“We are excited to announce Miss Jessica Watson as our March Teacher of the Month. We were very fortunate that Jessica had previous work experience from our LSP Gilbert, Arizona location and has been an asset to our team since the day she started. Jessica arrives at work on time every day and always maintains a positive attitude. She welcomes new students with a smile on her face and always makes sure families feel confident leaving their children in her care. Jessica is constantly creating fun, engaging activities for her students and making sure they are challenged. Jessica was promoted to our Head Teacher several months ago and constantly exceeds our expectations with her willingness to be a team player, her loyalty, and overall attitude. We receive daily compliments from families and are constantly impressed with her work ethic and dedication to Little Sunshine’s!”

ashley“Ashley has been with the school since the day it opened and has stayed loyal and committed. Even amidst changes within the building she continued to give the families the security they needed. Ashley not only works in our very busy two’s room, she is also our Spanish teacher for the entire school. In the time she has been with us she has been an extra set of hands in every single classroom because she knows all the children and has the ability to help in any room. She always has a smile on her face. She is our opening teacher she creates positive separation from parents and does a wonderful job with welcoming children on their first days of school. We are grateful for Ashley’s level of commitment and loyalty to LSP. She is a valuable teammate.”

“We are so excited to nominate the amazing Mr. Daniel as the January company-wide teacher of the month. Mr. Daniel has only been with us for less than two months, and the teachers cannot say enough kind things about him. He always has a smile on his face, is willing to lend a helping hand in any class, happily works the closing shift (which we all know how tough that is!) bring an unparalleled enthusiasm into each classroom, and has already designed sports and games activities to tap into each developmental domain with our students. Parents have also quickly noticed him and have commented on what a wonderful presence he adds to the classroom. In addition, Mr. Daniel is a go-to staff member to help with our more challenging students, as he has a unique ability to calm down almost any student in our building. This school is made so much stronger by having this amazing man in our building, and we are so fortunate to know him. It is without reservation that we strongly recommend Mr. Daniel as one deserving of the company-wide employee of the month.”