Learning begins long before a child starts kindergarten

Studies show early learning strengthens children’s verbal and math abilities, prepares them socially to interact with others, teaches them self-regulation skills and supports development to their fullest potential. Children who are not prepared to start school at age five are at risk of never catching up, leaving an achievement gap that can persist until high school. This gap can be linked to social and economic problems later in life, including illiteracy, teen pregnancy, and high-dropout rates.

Sunbeam is a model in our state for the work we do in Early Childhood
Through Educare Oklahoma City, and 15 partner child care centers located in Oklahoma City’s most impoverished ZIP codes, Sunbeam prepares low-income children to enter school with high-quality Head Start and Early Head Start education programs at no cost to the child’s family.

How do I learn more information about enrolling my child?
Read the Frequently Asked Questions or contact Betty Wilson, 405-609-3308, at bwilson@sunbeamfamilyservices.org, or Trenna Grayson, 405-605-8232 at tgrayson@sunbeamfamilyservices.org.  If you would like to see our complete list of schools, visit FIND A SCHOOL.

Sunbeam’s Early Childhood program is a leader in early childhood education
This program prepares children from prenatal to five to enter kindergarten with the skills necessary to be ready for school – and beyond. Sunbeam helps families who might normally have difficulty in accessing high-quality early learning and care programs by providing home-based and full-day, full-year center-based services at no cost to the family of the child. We also provide medical, dental, mental health, and family support services to these more than 600 children and more than 2,100 of their family members each year.

Sunbeam’s goals align with Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework, Oklahoma Early Learning Guidelines and Creative Curriculum/Teaching Strategies (TS) GOLD curricula and assessment tools.  The five major goal areas are: Social-Emotional, Language and Literacy, Approaches to Learning, Cognition and General Knowledge, and Physical Well-Being. In each area, goals for children’s development are identified, as well as specific areas and examples of knowledge and skills associated with each goal.

Building a Stronger Foundation to Empower Families

Sunbeam creates a foundation for continued achievement and readiness for school by building community support among schools, teachers, and families.

  • Family engagement is a crucial component of Sunbeam’s Early Childhood program. Families are involved in every aspect of Sunbeam’s Early Childhood Services program and participate in their children’s development, as well as their own personal and professional development.
  • Family Advocates help families problem-solve, locate resources within the community, and to set and achieve goals. Each Family Advocate holds a degree in Family Life Education and helps approximately 32 families each year.
  • Through the monthly Parent Committee Meetings, families have the opportunity to meet and network with other families to share ideas and engage in discussion about their children’s learning and experiences. During these meetings, families also assist with the planning and preparation of special projects and events. Families involved in the Policy Council participate in program planning and decision making, including topics such as: program goals and objectives, policies and procedures, program monitoring, and program funding proposals.
  • The Health Services Advisory Committee and Education Committee provide families with opportunities to assist with the guidance of health-related services and classroom curriculum activities.
  • Families are invited to volunteer in Early Childhood Services classrooms and are encouraged to apply for employment opportunities. Additionally, families join in Parent-Child Interaction activities and monthly Parent Education Workshops.
  • Male/Father Engagement activities are offered monthly to encourage father figures and male family members to be actively involved in our program, child rearing, and in their children’s lives.
  • Sunbeam’s early childhood programs were provided through partnerships with Oklahoma City Public Schools, Latino Community Development Agency, and Oklahoma County Community Action Agency.

Educare Oklahoma City

Educare OKC is a state-of-the-art school that provides early childhood education. Children who attend Educare OKC develop strong social skills, including self-confidence, and emerge better prepared for kindergarten. The school nurtures early learning and closes the achievement gap of children who are in families that face the greatest number of obstacles to success. OKC Educare builds partnerships with families, coming alongside them to help with goal-setting and accessing community resources.

Educare OKC is part of a national research project of the Educare Learning Network designed to lessen the achievement gap between the nation’s most at-risk young children and their peers
Independent evaluations of children enrolled at Educare are provided by Anslem Learning. Educare teachers gather data at progress checkpoints quarterly and children receive quarterly mental health assessments, evaluations, and referrals as needed for additional services.

Educare OKC partners with a variety of organizations to provide services
These partners include: Inasmuch Foundation, Hearts for Hearing, OK DHS, OU HSC, OKC Community College, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Oklahoma, Tony Reyes Bilingual Child Development Center, OKC Public Schools, Friends of Sunbeam, Chesapeake Energy, the Junior League of OKC, and Community Action Agency.

To learn more about Educare Oklahoma City, click here.

Community Impact: Inspiring Self-Sufficiency

Last fiscal year:

  • Sunbeam supported children and their families through Educare Oklahoma City and 15 partner sites.
  • 741 children were enrolled in Sunbeam’s Early Childhood Centers and Home Based Care, a 20.6% increase from the previous year.
  • 639 individuals received parenting and literacy training to strengthen their families, a 40% increase over the previous year.
  •  100% of childhood clients served through this program lived at or below the poverty line.

Expanding to Inspire

  • In March of 2019, Sunbeam received notification of an additional award as a grantee for expansion of Early Head Start services through funding provided by the third round of Early Head Start Expansion and Early Head Start—Child Care Partnership (EHSCCP3). Sunbeam will deepen its engagement in the highest risk neighborhoods within Oklahoma City and will reach 160 infants and toddlers through a combination approach that includes 88 expansion slots and 72 partnership slots.

Join the Sunbeam Family

Learn more.