Sunshine and Rainbows Early Learning Center
In the early spring of 1985 a group of six parishioners from St. Jude Catholic Church gathered to discuss plans to open a catholic preschool at the parish. The Pastor at that time had agreed that a preschool at St. Jude would be a positive endeavor for the families of the new parish. Many hours, days, and weeks were spent developing a business plan to present to the Parish Council. Once the mission of the program was established and approval was given by the Parish Council, the preschool group developed plans to open the program in August of 1985. The program would be sponsored by the Parish as an outreach to families in the parish and the surrounding community. Focus for the program’s curriculum used the standards of an organization called the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Many of the founding members of the Parent Advisory Committee were educators and some even had degrees with a focus on early childhood education. Their desire was to establish a program that would offer children, ranging in age from 2 until 5, an opportunity to learn and experience the world in an environment that provided age appropriate activities that would enhance their creativity. Rainbow Days Preschool at St. Jude Catholic Church was founded with that vision.
Since 1985 the program has grown from a staff of nine working with 60 children who met on Monday and Wednesday each week during the school year to a program with 188 children and a staff of 31 who meet Monday thru Thursday every week during the school year. Since its existence the preschool program has impacted the lives of nearly 2000 families. In 1994, when the program added the Tuesday/Thursday track, the program became licensed with the State of Texas, as a childcare center. In the state of Texas if a program meets for more than three hours a day and more than two days a week, the program is required to license under the Childcare licensing division. In 1995 the Parent Advisory Committee, working with a kindergarten teacher and a principal in the school district developed a program for a transitional kindergarten. It was decided to call the class “the Five’s Enrichment Class” to offer children and their parents a “gift” of a year to help children who might need an additional year of early learning. The class evolved into an enrichment class that also benefits children who need the opportunity to excel at a faster pace. Children in this class often move directly to a first grade classroom.
The goal of the staff continues to be one of offering age appropriate activities for the children that develop their natural sense of curiosity. Throughout the years the staff has used various resources and materials to develop a curriculum that is unique. We also work closely with the Allen Independent School District in a program called, “PEEPS”, which is a collaborative effort between private preschools in the Allen area and the Preschool program for children with Special Needs in the District. Yearly our program provides enrollment for a child in the district who needs a “least restrictive” environment as part of their IEP. It has been a great partnership. One that benefits all of the children. Because of this program our preschool staff has had the opportunity to attend district trainings in many areas of education with the Allen ISD early childhood staff.
In April of 2013 Bishop Kevin Farrell asked that all the preschools on parish campuses that were not connected with a parochial school to become their own entities. Since that day the staff and the parent advisory committee has worked diligently to set up the preschool program as a separate entity. The name had to be changed from Rainbow Days because of an existing company in the Dallas area with a similar name. The staff voted on many names that would define our educational program. The name “Sunshine and Rainbows Early Learning Center” was chosen. The program operates the same as it did when it first began offering education opportunities that are age appropriate for children ages 2, 3, 4, and 5 years of age. The spirit and integrity of the program continues with the new name. The creative staff offers many opportunities for children to be inquisitive and use thinking skills while developing their emotional, physical, spiritual, and cognitive skills. Learning takes place in a nurturing environment that is safe and fun.
Currently we have a staff of 31 consisting of teachers for each age group and an assistant assigned to help in each classroom with the teacher. We have a full-time music teacher who works with all the age groups teaching them songs, movements, and a love of music. The administrative staff includes a director, an assistant director, and an office manager. Other support staff includes a Spanish teacher. We have three classes of two year olds, five classes of three year olds, five classes of four year olds, and two classes for five year olds.
This year Sunshine and Rainbows ELC is governed by a Board consisting of the Director and Assistant Director of the program, a lawyer, a CPA, an educator, a business woman, and a person in finance. The Board is in charge of the budget for the program, and developing and updating the By-laws and policies for the program. They do the evaluation of the Director. We also have a Parent Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of parents who have children enrolled in the program. They help with fundraising events for the program.