New after-school program to bring adventure to students

Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Greg and Sara Schreiner who will have operated the Sunshine Academy for 15 years on Sept. 1, are expanding after purchasing the former Grace Bible Church. Their After School Adventures program will begin at the new location on Aug. 22, the first day of school.

Greg and Sara Schreiner who will have operated the Sunshine Academy for 15 years on Sept. 1, are expanding after purchasing the former Grace Bible Church. Their After School Adventures program will begin at the new location on Aug. 22, the first day of school.

Thanks to a preponderance of good luck, hard work, a Laurel Urban Renewal Agency large grant award and the grace of God, The Sunshine Academy is about to expand its services. With the acquisition of the former Grace Bible Church at 20 Second Ave., the Sunshine Academy After School Adventures Program will begin serving school-aged children at the new location on Aug. 22, the first day of school in Laurel.

A number of factors enabled the Sunshine Academy to make the building purchase, said Sara Schreiner, who with her husband, Greg, owns the schools. One of those factors was being able to access a $62,000 matching grant from the City of Laurel’s LURA large grant program to help pay for the nearly 6,500 square foot former church.

“Being able to get the grant made a substantial difference in our ability to purchase the building,” Schreiner said, “and that difference rolls down to our families. It has helped us keep tuition lower.”

While their first school at 2837 Ramshorn Drive in Laurel has long been known for providing high quality educational experiences to preschool children, Schreiner said it has been fun designing classrooms to capture the attention of older students. The five classrooms will offer places for children “to engage in the imagination and adventure of childhood.” She said that that the school will offer homework assistance to students, but that she wants the school to be a place for “their little minds to disengage,” after the regular school day.

The five classrooms have been turned into an Art Studio, a STEM lab, a Tinker room, an Imagination Station and a Game Room. Each will provide ample fun while engaging the kids in covert learning.

“We’re turning the sanctuary into a gym,” Schreiner said. “It’s just perfect for that and it holds a special meaning for me. That’s where I attended church and was baptized. Life comes full circle.”

The new After School Adventures Program is currently enrolling children from kindergarten through fifth grade. There will be slots available for 70 children and enrollment is ongoing.

“Closing the after school program at the preschool allowed us to open a new pre-k classroom there,” Schreiner said. “We now have about 100 children enrolled there and are at capacity.”

With degrees in biology and early childhood education, as well as years of experience and training, Schreiner is uniquely qualified to work with children of all ages. So is every member of the staff.

“We have a great team,” she said. “Our teachers stay with us an average of four years, which is almost unheard of in this business. That’s because every one of them is dedicated to the children.” All the staff are CPR certified and have undergone mandatory child abuse reporting training.

“We are fully staffed now,” Schreiner said, “but we are always accepting applications. When you find someone great, you keep them.”

Both facilities have state-of-the-art security including biometric (fingerprint) signing in and out and full surveillance cameras.

“We are real sticklers on safety,” she said. In fact that is the first rule for children attending any of The Sunshine Academy’s programs. “We believe in setting children up to be successful.” Following the rules to be safe; be kind; be honest; be respectful; and be responsible, keeps the children accountable while giving them the freedom the learn and have fun.

“We want kids at the preschool to be prepared for kindergarten academically, socially and emotionally, but the most important thing for them to know is that learning is fun,” Schreiner said. “ That perspective will carry over to the after school program, as well.

In addition to the five classrooms and gym, students will be able to join Art Club, Sports Club or STEM Club which will meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They will be provided snacks every day.

“Moving forward in our expansion is a calling from God. He’s made it possible for us to support our community now and for future generations,” Schreiner said. “We are so humbled to have received the LURA grant and happy to live in a city that supports business the way Laurel does.”

To enroll a child in the After School Adventures program, visit the school’s website at or call 628-4211.


Upcoming Events

Saturday, November 16, 2019
Third Saturdays, 1 p.m., The Crossings, 600 Roundhouse Dr.
Monday, November 18, 2019
Corinthian Lodge No. 72, AF&AM, first & third Monday, 7:30 p.m., Masonic Temple, Laurel Masonic Temple, 9900 Airport Road (except July-August)
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check for more info. Find them on Facebook . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.


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