Happy March! We had a great group of educators nominated for Teacher of the Month for February. Every month it seems like they all keep setting the bar higher and higher! We are definitely lucky to have them working here at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse! Our February nominations are:

  • Courtney Willougby, Ozark
  • Mariah Embry-Haefner, Springfield I
  • Katheryn Laubscher, Colorado Springs
  • Hannah Atkinson, Southlake
  • Ardell Bean, Springfield III
  • Stefanie Arms, Gilbert
  • Kayla McKinzie, Scottsdale
  • Diane Fogarty, Leawood
  • Lauren Kubena, Lakeway
  • Colleen Howard, Willowbrook
  • Trina Hoag, Springfield II
  • MaKayla Merritt, Littleton
  • Arianne Pemberton, Alpharetta
  • Holly Rusinski, The Woodlands
  • Erin Anderson, San Antonio

Thank you to all of our nominees for stepping up in the schools and being great examples of true educators! With that being said, it is our pleasure to introduce you to Miss Melissa Smith, our Company-Wide February 2017 Teacher of the Month! Melissa is the Lead teacher in the Pre-K classroom at Rogers, Arkansas.

Program Assistant Director, Kaelan Darnell, had the following to say about Melissa, With being recently promoted to Lead teacher in our Pre-K classroom, she has done such a wonderful job handling the transition process. This is something we all know can be a difficult task at times, but she always remains optimistic. She always goes out of her way to make each family and student feel welcomed both inside and outside of the classroom. She executes lessons and projects that perfectly correlate with our philosophy, and really focuses on each child as a whole. We are incredibly blessed to have such a strong asset on our team. We are excited to see her continue to grow and flourish in her new position!”

Melissa got her start in the child care industry by taking early childhood education and leadership classes. “The academic world nourished my curiosity and inspired me to provide my best self to a new generation.”  Before moving to Arkansas and becoming a member of the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool family, she was a lead teacher in a happy three-year-old classroom. Melissa enjoys the ethics and values which overflow in the daily dynamics of Little Sunshine’s Playhouse the most.  “Little Sunshine’s provides an unrivaled facility and philosophy which nurtures the whole child thus positively impacting individual success and well-being. I am inspired by the companies philanthropically approach and feel honored to enhance that through curriculum and activity.”

Melissa is currently the Lead teacher in the Secret Garden classroom. “Working with Pre-K children is a wonderful experience as these children are receiving a variety of important skills ranging from kindergarten readiness to positive life skills for a healthy and happy life. I genuinely enjoy being able to contribute to individual success and happiness.” Her favorite curriculum project involves creating a classroom garden. “Using outside as a second classroom encourages a sense of community, responsibility, self-worth, knowledge and value for the world and one self.”

Outside of work, Melissa enjoys hiking and kayaking the natural state. She also enjoys gardening and providing fresh vegetables to a local food pantry which works to eradicate hunger in Arkansas communities.

Something you might not know about Melissa is “I actually have a full-time job outside of my position as Lead Teacher at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse. I am also completely obsessed with my two dogs, Mr. Jones and Sophia!”