Twenty-five years ago, Beth Ehlis, owner and president of FunShine, was searching for quality educational materials for the children in her licensed child care program. What she was looking for, however, was not available on the market. At eight months pregnant and dreaming of a business, she began creating her own curriculum, with just a paper cutter, heat sealer, computer, and the copy machine in her basement. In 1995, along with the help of her mom and sister, she started reproducing the materials for other providers. The very first curriculum kits for September 1995 were shipped to 30 customers! Every single one of them re-ordered, and Beth knew the content was sound.
In 1997, the business outgrew Beth’s basement, and was relocated to a bigger space, adding employees and better equipment. We have continued to grow since then, now offering print and digital curriculum to customers in all 50 states and a few international countries. Our curriculum has come a long way since photocopying and binding books by hand!
A message directly from our Founder:
“When I founded FunShine Express in 1995, I was a young mom with a dream that stemmed from my background in education, and my experience as a child care owner. My mom, sister, and I worked from our homes in those early days, and the dream evolved to focus on a few important goals:
- We would provide support for busy child care professionals.
- The curriculum content must be educationally sound and fun for children (thus the name FunShine).
The child care industry has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. Our company and products have too—we now offer assessment and digital learning tools, professional development, and have expanded our curriculum lines. A few things remain the same. My sister still works closely with me! Plus, we continue to work hard each day to support you in offering quality early learning curriculum. Thanks so much to the customers who have joined us on this journey.
I am looking forward to another great year!”
A few highlights:
1998: Director’s Choice Curriculum Award from Early Childhood News Magazine
2005: Curriculum Redesigned and Branded as Fireflies
2008: Buttercups Infant/Toddler Curriculum Introduced
2014: FunShine Digital Curriculum Released
2014: Minnesota’s Parent Aware approves FunShine curricula, additional states follow
2017: Early Learning and Development Continuum Developed
2019: Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year
2020: Summer School-Age Digital Curriculum Introduced