Developing and enriching the lives of individuals and families through therapy, education and support.
We envision a world where individuals have the resources they need to reach their full potential as active members in their communities.
Respect the dignity of every individual.
Pursue excellence in all that we do.
Exhibit integrity through transparency
Practice innovation using the best practices and technology.
Sunshine School & Development Center has been serving NWA for over 60 years. The inaugural class was held in the basement of the First United Methodist Church in Rogers and consisted of two children, one with Down Syndrome and the other with a severe brain injury resulting in developmental delays. In 1958 the public education system didn’t have a place for children with special needs. The families of these two children – the Clardys and the Brileys – needed a place for their own children to learn, so they started Sunshine School. Mrs. Clardy and Mrs. Briley were the teachers. By the end of the first month, six more children had joined.
In 1961, through the generosity of friends and neighbors, a new building was built for Sunshine School in Vaughn, AR. For 30 years young people went through the doors in Vaughn and graduated with skills that would serve them throughout life.
After multiple moves to serve the growing class sizes and needs of the community, a new idea began to take shape. In 1991 the public school system began integrating children with developmental delays into the classrooms. In response, the Sunshine School started to focus on programs which included Early Intervention, Community Support and a Preschool Center. These programs catered to individuals in the Northwest Arkansas community of ALL ages with developmental delays. The school continued to grow exponentially and soon outgrew its facilities. Once again, through the generosity and care of the community, another facility was funded. In January 2007 the agency moved to the current 40,000 square foot facility where over 500 people a year are helped. To better reflect the diversity of the ages and the abilities of the clients served now, the name of the agency was changed to the Sunshine School & Development Center in 2013.
2020-2021 Board of Directors
John Brown, Tastykake
Warren Moore, Walmart
Karen O'Donohoe, Doctoral Candidate
Greg Parker, GSK
Ryan Scott, Bailey and Oliver Law Firm
The Board of Directors meets the third Thursday of each month except for the months of December and July.
President: JoAnn Stevens, Walmart Stores, Inc.
Vice President: Jim Daniels, Acosta
Secretary: Matt Murphy, Walmart
Treasurer: Rob Husong, First National Bank of NWA
How do I enroll or inquire about enrollment?
Contact Michele Hall for more information.
How do I pay for services?
Each program is different; however, most services are paid for by Medicaid, private pay, Arkids,TEFRA, or private insurance. Some programs are subsidized by grant funding. Contact Michele Hall to learn more.
Who qualifies for therapy services?
We serve children birth to 21 years of age that qualify, based on standardized assessments administered by a licensed and certified therapist.
Do you serve students who do not have a delay or disability?
Yes, through our Preschool Enrichment Program we have limited spots for typically developing children in the 3-5 year old classrooms. Our ABC classrooms also serve children who do not have a developmental delay.
Can you accommodate my child’s special diet?
Yes. We can accommodate special dietary needs your child has, with proper documentation from your child’s doctor. See our nutrition page for more information.
How can my work group, church group, etc., volunteer?
Visit our volunteer page to learn more.
What is Better Beginnings?
Better Beginnings is Arkansas’s quality rating improvement system for child care, early education and school-age programs that have gone above and beyond the state minimum requirements. Better Beginnings connects Arkansas
families with the information and care that helps children experience a safe, happy and healthy childhood.
What level is Sunshine School in Better Beginnings?
Sunshine School is level 3, the highest level possible.