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 and Preschool 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 “National Teacher of the Month”. Then, at the end of the year, a “National 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 outstanding Teacher of the Month and Teacher of the Year winners:
Our 2018 Teacher of the Year is Mrs. Teresa from our Southlake, Texas location! Mrs. Teresa is the lead teacher in Neverland, the pre-kindergarten classroom.
Teresa has been in Early Childhood Education for almost 40 years! While in high school, she was an aide in an elementary school and absolutely loved it – it’s what set her career path in teaching and mentoring young children! What Teresa enjoys most about Little Sunshine’s is the flexibility to expand on lesson plans and the freedom to provide open-ended and natural materials that broaden a child’s experiences.
When asked what inspires her Teresa responded, “Truly the spark of light that comes from the eyes of a small child when I connect with them. Even as a child, I knew I would be a teacher. When I look at a child and I see their heart smile, it erases all of my woes!”
Here’s what Southlake Co-Program Director, Emy Cervantes had to say about Mrs. Teresa “Her creative and Reggio inspired activities to keep her children busy AND learning for hours at a time. She is so devoted to her classroom and children and it truly warms my heart to see. She comes in an hour before her shift usually and works way past her shift, as well. Her dedication is admirable and many of our teachers go to her for advice and ideas, as she also spent a lot of her career doing Teacher training.”
Even when not at Little Sunshine’s, Teresa said she spends most of her time outside of work reading and researching natural strategies that she can incorporate into her classroom. Teresa is also in the midst of finishing her first children’s book!
“We adore Mrs. Teresa and enjoy getting to see her children come in every day EXCITED to see what they’ll be working on that day,” Emy said. “We are confident that her kiddos are on the right path to be successful in Kindergarten!”
Janie leaves an everlasting impression on her students and her students’ families. She embodies the Little Sunshine’s culture and philosophy and assists her students in reaching their fullest potential. Janie has an exceptional understanding of Reggio Emilia and does an extraordinary job of implementing the curriculum and Reggio Emilia-based activities into her classroom. Janie’s classroom parents are so happy to have Janie’s charisma, enthusiasm, and attitude toward teaching instilled in their children every day. Her excellent communication with parents let them rest assured their children are in a safe, nurturing environment and will be well-equipped for their educational journeys.
“Mrs. Janie has the ability to keep the kids in line while showing love and compassion. Not only do the kids and parents adore her, but we all have incredible respect for her as well.” – Sarah Bernfeld
“Mrs. Janie is a blessing to all her students… not only does she focus on their educational development, but also their emotional development which she understands is equally important.” – Nicole English
“Mrs. Janie has been such a blessing to our family because she made our transition to a new school so seamless for our daughter. Her heart truly goes to her classroom and every single child in there!” – Gayle Henry Nastiuk
“Our daughter absolutely loves Mrs. Janie, and as parents we know she is learning valuable educational and life lessons each day from her. Of course, we love LSP in its entirety, but the year has been extra special with having a teacher that gives so much of herself day in and day out. We are very fortunate and blessed to have Mrs. Janie at LSP Lakeway, and our child is growing to be a well-rounded young lady with the hard work and love that she shows each day to the kids in the Pre-K class.” – Melissa Gamble
“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 Horwat
“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
“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
“Taylor has our vote!! She is the most genuine and the kindest hearted person I know! I have no doubt she is going to make the best teacher! She is a wonderful role model! She knows how to relate to kids no matter the age! She is the most patience of anyone I know! She deserves this award without a doubt!! She is an amazing person inside and out! She is wonderful with her kids and everyone she is around!”
“We LOVE Miss Taylor, and we are so lucky that our two year old is in her class. My son is not only happy and safe in her class, but he is also learning a lot. Taylor is caring, responsible, hard-working, intelligent, and sweet. I appreciate everything she does for her students, their parents, and her co-workers. Taylor absolutely deserves this award.”
“Taylor is the most patient, kind-hearted, genuine woman I’ve ever met! She passionately loves each child in her class and makes the best of any situation. She deserves this!!!”
“We are so fortunate to have so many great teachers at our school! Taylor, you stand out to me because but I see firsthand, every single day that you are here the love, hard work, and creativity that you give to the kiddos in your class. Your energy and positive approach fuels our school and the children love to be around you. Your co-workers know that they can lean on you for advice and support. Our Cardinal team would not be the same without you!”
“I vote for Miss Taylor. Our daughter was struggling with the transition to her classroom until miss Taylor took over. She runs her classroom with the utmost care and excitement. She is truly happy to see the kiddos develop. She is constantly challenging them while nurturing them as well. She is absolutely awesome. In the words of my little one “miss Taylor my best friend”!”
“I vote for Miss Aimee! She not only is an amazing teacher, she is one of the kindest, most loving people I know! I’ve known her for over ten years and she has been such a bright light in my life. She always has a smile on her face and makes the day that much better. She loves her kiddos with all her heart and she has a true passion for teaching and molding young minds! I vote Aimee 1000%!”
“Hands down, Aimee, deserves Teacher of the Year. We began our LSP journey with Aimee and she will always hold a special place in our heart. Aimee’s smile is infectious, her heart is larger than life and she continues to exceed all expectations as a teacher and mentor. My son has outgrown her class; but still runs to give her hugs when he can. Thank you Aimee for making our transition enjoyable and unforgettable. You are a beautiful, amazing woman and teacher. You have a heart of gold and will continue to touch these children’s lives in a positive light. I vote for Aimee!!”
“Miss Aimee! She has been a wonderful teacher for our daughter Alexa and we are so thankful for her! Her energy is contagious and her passion for children is unmistakable. Miss Aimee deserves to win Teacher of the Year and has our vote!”
“Miss Aimee has been the lead Toddler room teacher for over a year. And in the time she has become a beloved addition to the school amongst parents and staff. Her friendly and positive demeanor is something to be admired. Ms. Aimee always has a smile on her face and greets each and every family warmly and enthusiastically. When you walk into her classroom, you’re guaranteed to see the children happy and engaged in their learning. Ms. Aimee does an excellent job of creating a curriculum that is designed perfectly to broaden the kid’s horizons and help them grow in such an amazing way! Thank you for all that you do, Little Sunshine’s would not be the same without you!”
“Chan has been with LSP for a year as a teacher in the toddler classroom. She arrives at work each day with a smile on her face that she carries with her throughout the day. She is always willing to go above and beyond in her daily work and takes great pride in teaching her children new things. Ms. Chan is also phenomenal at getting to know each child individually, as well as their parents on a personal level. We are very lucky to have her as a part of our LSP family!!”
“Chan is so caring and always has a Smile on her face. She’s always willing to do anything and is a great assist to the LSP team!”
“Ms. Chan has my vote. She is so deserving of this award because she truly loves her job. Each time she sees me or my family she always has a smile on her face and says hello. She also goes above and beyond. I love that she dresses up as Santa Claus. My little girl thought that was so funny and that Ms. Chan is silly. Those little things mean so much. She has left a lasting impression my daughter and family and are so proud to have Ms. Chan as one of our teachers.”
“Ms Chan definitely has our vote. Our daughter had Ms Chan about a year ago and she was definitely one of her favorite teachers – she still smiles and gives her a big hug when she sees her at school. We can’t wait for Ms Chan to take care of our son soon – she is wonderful with children and definitely deserves the recognition as Company-Wide Teacher of the Year!”
“My vote is for Chandonnie!!! Not only is she a hard worker she does it with a smile!! You can’t say that about most individuals her age. She has such a great work ethic and genuinely cares for her children and family that she deals with day in and day out. She is a great listener which again is hard to find these days. Working at LSP is not just a job for her she loves it and caring for children is a passion of hers! The children adore her and with her role model on point, she will leave a lasting impression on these young individuals for years to come! Chan has the ability to be of an authority figure, an educator, a friend and a big kid herself:) And that is why everyone can relate to her and can’t help but gravitate towards her positive energy. She is an asset to your company & I don’t know of anyone MORE deserving of this than her!!! Way to go Chan, I am super proud of you!!”
“Kelley is a truly talented teacher with genuine concern for educational content being delivered along with love and a healthy classroom environment. Her students have thrived under her guidance and her peers look to her as a leader and advocate for best practices in early childhood education. She has a heart of gold and holds her student’s achievements and individual successes as the highest priority.”
“Kelley’s love for children is obvious from the first moment you walk into her classroom. She has had the honor to truly shape the minds of young children, and she’s also had the ability to mentor other educators around her. She’s a wonderful asset to the Little Sunshine’s team and her passion for early childhood education positively impacts everyone that has the privilege to work with her!”
“I have had the privilege to work with Kelley for the past five years. Through these years I have seen first hand the positive impact she has cultivated, not only within the Little Sunshine’s Playhouse family, but in the Springfield, Mo community. Her commitment, humanitarian efforts, and passion for people coupled with her drive to excel truly makes her an MVP of Little Sunshine’s.”
“I have enjoyed working with Kelley for over five years now. She has a drive to excel in all she does and it shows through her performance. She has one of the biggest hearts I know, giving her time and efforts to the community and families in need. I love watching her continue to thrive and grow as a professional and leader for Little Sunshine’s!”
Teaching is by far one of the more noble and influential professions on the planet. Special teachers can and do make a difference every day in the lives of children and families.
The process of choosing just one teacher each month is beyond difficult, but we are pleased to announce that our 2020 January National Teacher of the Month is Ms. Niki of Little Sunshine’s Playhouse and Preschool of Willowbrook, IL.
Ms. Niki has been with LSP Willowbrook since we have opened and she is such an amazing teacher! Ms. Niki is full of so much knowledge and really rocks the Infant 1 Classroom. She does a fantastic job implementing Reggio curriculum and has so much fun with her babies. Ms. Niki has made many great connections with all of her families not only in her classroom, but throughout the whole school. Did I also mention she is the queen of puns?! Need a pun, go ask Ms. Niki! Niki has also done a fantastic job training her new co-teacher and passing along all the tips and tricks she has learned during her time here at LSP. We are so thankful for everything Ms. Niki does for LSP and we appreciate all the hard work she puts in every day. She brings so much positivity to all of our students and staff.
Here is some fun information about her and what makes her such a standout!
What age group do you teach?
What is the name of your classroom?
Land of Oz
What do you love most about the age group you teach?
I love watching them reach new milestones every day. One day a baby might be rolling, and the next they’re army crawling. Plus, seeing how their personalities form at such a young age is amazing. Some of them are already so sassy and it is absolutely adorable. The cuddles are always a plus too!
What is your favorite curriculum project you’ve ever done in your classroom?
My favorite project was a recent one we did with the Music and Movement unit. We used pots, pans, and a whisk to make music. Some of the babies threw the whisk behind them multiple times but just watching them make music and the faces they made when they realized they were making music was so silly.
What do you enjoy most about working for LSP?
I think the company is a great company. There is a lot of opportunity for growth. Teachers are supported by one another and leadership. The educator passion bucket is a really cool feature because it allows all the teachers to interact and learn from one another.
Who and/or what inspires you? Seeing a child’s face when they learn something new is such a great feeling. Their face lights up and it is an amazing feeling to watch them grow each and every day. The children get so excited and being a part of that, is just an amazing feeling.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love taking our dog out, going to concerts, and watching movies with my fiancé! I am super excited to get married this July.
Tell us one special fact about yourself that no one would expect.
I’ve watched all seasons of the office at least 10 times. It is my favorite!