How we describe
Sunshine Early Learning Center staff summarize Sunshine in one word.
Over 53 years ago, a lifelong dream was born, Sunshine Early Learning Center. In the midst of the assasination of Dr. Martin Luther King, riots across the city, and national protests against the Vietnam war, Sunshine Early Learning opened to provide children in under-resourced communities with a pathway out of poverty and into opportunity. More than 10,000 children later the vision of founder Frances J. Rollins remains clear. Her vision is to provide a nurturing, clean haven amid a neighborhood plagued with poverty and related crime, to be a space of hope, perseverance, and a force that will not accept anything that is not excellence.
Sunshine Early Learning Center (SELC) has the distinction of operating in Ward 8 in the Washington Highlands area. Ward 8 is considered the most under-resourced neighborhood in Washington, DC. This categorization has always motivated Frances J. Rollins, founder, and CEO, to provide the highest quality, “very best” learning environment for those served, beginning with the young children enrolled in the Center. SELC is force-driven to provide for all young children, their families, and the staff to reach their full potential. This facility translated to a consistently high-quality ECE program that included services to meet the needs of the young children, their families, and the neighborhoods in Ward 8.
For over 50 years, Sunshine Early Learning Center (SELC) has provided high-quality Early Childhood Education programs and services for children, birth to 12 years of age, and children with special needs until 19 years old. SELC’s nationally accredited program using an evidence-based curriculum and assessment provided the solid foundation for the high-quality ECE program. The ECE program for young children, birth – 5 years old, has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for over 20 years. SELC has had a close relationship with Teaching Strategies as a site where the pilot program was implemented, at a time when the revised edition of the curriculum was under development. This distinguished SELC as an ECE center that not only offered an evidence-based curriculum but participated in the trial that was a part of the research for this evidence-based curriculum. This partnership also provided SELC with the opportunity to participate in a professional development experience to learn how to lead the implementation of GOLD, the assessment system connected to the Creative Curriculum.
The quality of the ECE Program at SELC has included high-quality services to the families of young children. This commitment to offering high-quality services to the families begins with the consistent, daily interactions between the staff and the family members of the children. A vibrant professional development plan ensures the employees have the resources and support needed to build and sustain meaningful relationships with the families that benefit their young children. For example, SELC implemented the Strengthening Families program to allow the families to participate in a Support Group facilitated by a family member of a child in the program who completed the training program to serve as the facilitator of the Support Group. Another activity to engage families as the first and most important teacher in the lives of the children was a “Patty Cake Party” for families. The families learned how to create nutritious meals on a budget and grow herbs in a small container to add flavor to the meals they prepared for their children. Finally, SELC offered families the opportunity to engage in the “Effective Black Parent Program” to explore their challenges and solutions as they are raising their children.
A final piece of the quality in the ECE program at SELC is a consistent, standard Professional Development Program to provide the staff with the knowledge, skills, and resources grounded in the most current research and effective practices in ECE. This program ensures they can sustain a high-quality program.
With young, vibrant emerging leaders of ECE guiding the organization through the pandemic, the commitment to provide a quality program is alive, well, and positioned to offer quality programs and services to the children, families, and staff served by the organization.
Ms. Frances J.
Sunshine Early Learning Center staff share their stories about the founder and CEO Ms. Frances J. Rollins
Frances J. Rollins
Over 53 years ago, a lifelong dream was born, Sunshine Early Learning Center. In the year of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, riots across the city, and national protests against the Vietnam war, Sunshine Early Learning opened to provide children in under-resourced communities with a pathway out of poverty and into opportunity. More than 10,000 children later, the vision of founder Frances J. Rollins remains clear. Her dream is to provide a nurturing, clean haven in a neighborhood plagued with poverty and related crime, to be a space of hope, perseverance, and a force that will not accept anything that is not excellence.
Frances J. Rollins’ passion and commitment to offer high-quality educational programs and services are now the driving force that sparks today’s staff and children. Sunshine Early Learning Center and Southeast Children’s Fund Child Development Center are high-quality NAEYC Accredited early childhood educational facilities that annually serve over 250 children and families who predominantly reside in Wards 7 and 8 areas of Washington, D.C. Sunshine Early Learning Center was founded by Ms. Rollins in 1968 and offers opportunities for children and those who educate and care for them, to realize their potential in a challenging, learning-centered environment. The organization continues to have a significant impact on those served by Sunshine Early Learning Center.