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:


AlleyOur 2015 Little Sunshine’s Playhouse Teacher of the Year is Miss Alley Sarge.  Alley had an outpouring of love and admiration from friends, parents, staff and management that made her our choice for Teacher of the Year. Alley has done phenomenal things for her classroom and her classroom parents are so happy to have Alley’s charisma, enthusiasm, and attitude towards teaching instilled in their children every day. Alley’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 Alley:

  • “Miss Alley is honestly an inspiration for all of us! She’s always positive and caring with not only her children, but her co-workers. My son will be in her class within the next year and he already knows and loves her.  If anyone deserves this, she does.” –Shawnee Phillips
  • “Miss Alley was a teacher for my child and each day I would know that my child was with a caring, loving person and as a teacher and a parent that was a wonderful feeling. Thanks Miss Alley!” –Mary Hatfield
  • “Miss Alley’s provided the supportive and safe environment for my child to make great progress at LSP Springfield 1. For that reason and so much more, she deserves to be named the Teacher of the Year!! –Andrew Goodall
  • “My daughter has moved up to another classroom but still gives Miss Alley the biggest hugs every time she sees her! She is everything you hope for when you leave your baby in someone else’s hands for the day. We love Miss Alley!” –Rebekah Shockey
  • “…I am a retired first grade teacher of 35 years and know the value of an excellent teacher for children. Miss Alley is consistent, loving, creative, and fair.  Her care for her students not only shows in the excitement she has for them when they meet her goals, but in the consistent, fair consequences given when the child does not follow directions.  Her daily, weekly and monthly curriculum activities makes me want to be her student.” -Grandparent

Company-Wide Teacher of the Month

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.”

Edited in Lumia Selfie

“Miss Lyndsey and I would like to nominate Miss Samantha Lemley for Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool’s Corporate Teacher of the Month. Miss Lemley is our lead teacher in the Pre-K room and began working at Little Sunshine’s in October. Miss Lemley comes to us with over nine years of experience that complements her higher education in child development.  During Miss Samantha’s interview she was adamant that teaching is her passion, and wanted to ensure that should she be hired, she would be fulfilling her passion. She goes above and beyond in her profession. She worked diligently while investing numerous hours into our winter program.

With thirty children in her pre-k class, it truly amazes Lyndsey and I on how quickly she learned each child’s personality. She knows how to reach each child to have them flourish in their development and parents are taking notice! We have had multiple complements on how well liked Miss Samantha is among all of her classroom parents and families.

Miss Samantha also creates a wonderful, hardworking, and fun tone in her classroom for not only the children, but for her assistant teachers. She works well with her assistants in preparing our pre-k children for kindergarten; which allows our assistant teachers to be more invested with the children and their careers. All of Miss Samantha’s assistant teachers know how fortunate they are to be mentored by her.

I firmly believe that Miss Samantha is a once in a lifetime Pre-K teacher and is the perfect fit for LSP, as well as, Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool’s Corporate Teacher of the Year!”

Fran“This month, we are thrilled to nominate Ms. Fran Ellsaesser as our Teacher of the Month.  Ms. Fran is the lead teacher of our Toddler classroom, and she is an amazing addition to our Little Sunshine’s family.  The parents and children alike absolutely adore her, in fact, she has to sneak out of the room for potty breaks or to leave for the day, as some of the children love her so much that they get upset when she leaves.  Ms. Fran has a calm and patient demeanor about her that makes her a perfect fit for the toddler classroom.  Her classroom is always calm and well run, which we attribute largely to the positive energy she exudes every day.  I hear praises for Ms. Fran and her classroom on almost a daily basis from her parents.  Their only complaint is having to say goodbye to Ms. Fran when their child ages up to the next classroom.  On top of the wonderful job she does in her classroom, Ms. Fran is an excellent team player.  She is always willing to lend a hand where it is needed, and never has a negative thing to say.  She absolutely exudes the Little Sunshine’s culture of family, love and community and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

ashleiThis month, we would like to nominate the amazing Ms. Ashlei Webb. It is clear Ashlei has a knack for working with children. Her positivity and energy brightens the classroom, as well as our entire building.  She works diligently to take excellent care of our babies and creates lasting connections with our families.  Teachers, parents, and students simply adore Ms. Ashlei. It is without hesitation that we nominate the amazing Ms. Ashlei as one deserving of the company-wide employee of the month.

AshleyTaysMiss Ashley has gone above and beyond over the last few months with transitions in her classroom! She works hard every day and no matter how hard her day may be, she makes sure to never show it and always takes time to show her kiddos how much she loves them! Toddlers can be a challenging age to work with and she comes to work every day with a positive attitude and leaves every day with a smile on her face! She’s also very willing to help out her coworkers whenever it’s needed, which makes her such a wonderful team player. Ashley is a truly wonderful teacher that we have had the joy of watching grow and develop since her first day here.

LaurenMiss Lauren is one of our outstanding infant teachers who has grown into her role as a nurturing, compassionate, and caring teacher that everyone absolutely adores. The bond between her and the families and babies is truly genuine. Miss Lauren is originally from the Denver area and has worked at various preschool programs with children ranging from infants to pre- kindergarten. She enjoys outdoor activities and snuggling up with a good book. We are so lucky to have you as a part of our Little Sunshine’s Playhouse family.

Alley ChestnutMiss Alley has been with us since December 2014. She started out in our three year old room. You can see her passion for children in her daily work. Ms. Alley just recently took over in our Honeybee classroom. She has done phenomenal things and the parents are so excited to have her teaching their children. We are very grateful to have her on our team!

elizabethWe are so excited to announce our teacher of the month, Miss Elizabeth! Miss Elizabeth goes above and beyond in her classroom. The love and commitment she gives our students is heartwarming. She is never caught without a very contagious smile and is always welcoming to families and teachers. We are thankful to have you on our team, Miss Elizabeth! Thanks for all your hard work.

LaurenLauren shines so brightly here at Little Sunshine’s! We’ve been impressed with her attitude and love for our kiddos since day 1 of her working here. She teaches in Avonlea, our infant 2 classroom, and is wonderful with the babies. Additionally, she is also our music teacher and is very passionate about engaging our children in fun music activities. She takes pride in her work and it definitely shows! Lauren is incredibly patient and always has a smile on her face. Parents have noted time and time again how great Lauren is with their children and they appreciate all of her hard work! We are thankful to have her be a part of our team here in Southlake!

pattyMs. Patty has been our infant room teacher for the past three and a half years, and in that time, she has stolen the heart of every baby that has come through her room.  She has such a genuine love for the children in her care, and that love shows every single day.  Every family in our infant classroom has the security of knowing that their babies will be taken care of and loved as if they were Ms. Patty’s own.  Team spirit is another quality that makes Ms. Patty so deserving of this award.  She is always willing to lend a hand or an ear to her co-workers, and she always does it with a smile.  Our infant classroom is what it is because of her, and we couldn’t be happier to have her with us.

jennaMiss Jenna is the Lead Teacher in the Toddler Classroom in Gilbert, AZ. She is enthusiastic, creative, adoring, and devoted to all of the toddlers at LSP. Jenna is definitely one of Gilbert’s premium teachers.  She is always coming up with new ways to keep her student’s attention and teach them at any moment possible.  Mrs. Jenna’s pride in her work makes her an asset to our school and her positivity is infectious to the entire team.  She is fully deserving of this honor!

JuneMs. June has been with the Little Sunshine’s family since 2004. She has worked with our 2 year olds as well as toddlers. Currently though she is working as an infant teacher in our Gummy Bear room. Ms. June has a love for the babies like no one else.  She cares for each one as if they are her own. June is a very dedicated worker and you can tell during her days here that she loves what she does. We have children in our older classrooms that still love to visit their Juju. I am personally very glad that she is a part of our LSP Chestnut team family!