Stimulate Your Child’s Curiosity

Announcement from Debbie and Marisa

Posted by on Feb 15, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Dear Parents and Friends of Sunflower Preschool,

After nearly 35 years of running Sunflower, it is time for me to retire. I founded Sunflower in 1981 and had no idea that we would thrive and grow together through these many years.

Sunflower has been my life’s work, my “third child”, my pride and joy, and my community. It has been an absolute privilege to have been a part of hundreds of children’s early years, a part of their growth and development. I have loved getting to know the many families that have shared their children with us. Thanks to all of you for trusting us with your precious children.

In addition, Sunflower would not be what it is today without the dedicated, professional teachers we have had. Any school is only as good as its teachers. Luckily, I realized this fact early on and we have compensated our teachers as the professionals they are with higher salaries, medical insurance, retirement, and the shared responsibilities of running a school together as a team.

I have been looking for a Teacher/Director for years who would have the talent, passion, and drive to run Sunflower Preschool. So as you can imagine, I am beyond happy to announce that my daughter, Marisa Ellman, will be the new Owner of Sunflower as of September 1, 2016. Marisa grew up at Sunflower. She was her sister Maya’s Show and Tell at 3 months old! She attended Sunflower and graduated with the class of 1989. Marisa taught part time at Sunflower through High School and during summers throughout University. Marisa has been a part of our teaching team again since fall 2014. I am convinced that Marisa will take Sunflower on a continued successful path in the future. She shares my passion for Nature-Based and Play-Based Early Childhood Education. Long-time dedicated Sunflower teachers Carrie (since ’01), Marcia (’99), and Sunny (’02) will all be returning for the 2016-2017 school year as well. 

Sunflower’s strong, well-seasoned, and professional teachers will continue to work as a team, meeting each week, sharing curriculum and administrative tasks. I will remain an advisor to Marisa for the next school year. In addition, you will see me around as Declan’s volunteer Grandma (and Eitan’s next year). Or, you may see me gardening on the berm. Also, I will remain the owner of the building and property so I will continue to be involved in many ways.

Thank you! Thank you for everyone’s support through these many years at Sunflower Preschool. Debbie King Ellman
February 2016

Dear Sunflower Families,

I am thrilled to become the Owner and Operator of Sunflower Preschool! As you read above, I grew up at Sunflower and am a graduate myself. Working at Sunflower many summers throughout high school and college was incredibly rewarding for me. I have always believed that there is nothing more important than making a difference in the life of a child. It has been a privilege to work with your children and watch them develop and thrive at Sunflower. My passion for Early Childhood Education continues to grow as I take classes and work towards becoming Director Qualified.

Sunflower has been my mom Debbie’s life work, her passion project. I am truly honored to be entrusted with carrying on this amazing preschool and her legacy. Thank you Mom for creating such an incredible environment that has made a difference in the lives of so many children!

My own professional path before coming back to Sunflower consisted of working for several non-profits in fundraising, conflict resolution, and program development. I graduated from the University of Oregon, and lived in Israel for four years where I earned my Master’s Degree, volunteered with refugee youth, and worked for a nonprofit serving minority groups. In my studies and previous jobs, I always had one main motivation and driving force – to make a positive difference in the world. While there are so many powerful ways to make a difference, it took me moving back home and diving into teaching to realize that the answer to this exploration was close by all along. Working with children during these formative years is a remarkable way to help build a better society. We must build environments in which young children are safe, can explore outdoor environments, and learn the skills necessary to thrive in the world. As research continues to show, young children’s brains are constantly developing and each positive interaction lays the foundation for neurons to connect. How amazing that teachers are really brain-builders!

I look forward to working with a committed and enthusiastic team of teachers whom I have known for nearly half of my life. I am excited to be taking over Sunflower with this incredible team. As a new mother myself, my own understanding of the importance of trustworthy, nurturing, excellent child care continues to grow. Thank you for choosing Sunflower and for providing us with the opportunity to teach your wonderful children!

Here’s to many more years of Sunflower Preschool!

Thank you,

Marisa Ellman

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

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