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2016 Awards Recipients


2016 Awards Recipients

2016 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2016 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name

Center Name



Award-Winning Project

*Arrell Jill QCC Children's School Worcester MA "STEAMing Ahead"
*Bennett Cynthia Upper Gwynedd Child Learning Center at Merck North Wales PA "Performing Arts Space"
Bloom Kate Early Childhood Alliance Fort Wayne IN "Light Table"
Boucher Amy Tender Care Learning Center Middletown CT "Baking Memories"
Boyer Rhianna Kinderberry Hill Minneapolis MN "Listening Center Enhancements"
Breslin Jessica Westminster Mayfair Presbyterian Church Child Care Center Philadelphia PA "E-Daily Mail"
Butler Nadel Discovery Point Cumming Cumming GA "STEM for the Young Ones"
*Cady Ben Children's Village Philadelphia PA "Music & Sound Center"
Carlyon Tamra Child Development Center at Malmstron Air Force Base Great Falls MT "Music & Muscles Matter in Montana"
Clark Shelia Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA Early Learning Center Pottstown PA "I Hear Music, Music Everywhere"
Deering Jacquelyn Otter Creek Child Center Middlebury VT "Sensory Table Project"
*Deloglos Carol Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Experiencing the World of Science From Their Point of View"
Fletcher Collene Ellsworth AFB Child Development Center Ellsworth AFB SD "Fostering Social Emotional Bonds in the Infant Classroom"
Garceau Kelly Community Children's Center Storrs CT "Messy Mud Kitchen"
Geurts Kay Encompass Early Education and Care DePere WI "Sensory Over Board"
Gilliam Krista Corning Children's Center Corning NY "Creating an Outdoor Soundscape"
Gutshall Mandy Dickinson College Children's Center Carlisle PA "STEM for Preschool"
Hallett-Valentine Joan Tiny Tykes Day Care Lake Placid NY "Light Table/Science Center"
Hendricks Ashley F.M. Kirby Children's Center Madison NJ "Parent Boards"
Hill Demita The Parent Infant Center Philadelphia PA "Explosion of Language & Literacy"
Johnson Norma Gateway Academy Ken Caryl Littleton CO "Gateway Community Garden"
Kenshur Kathleen Kenshur Family Childcare & Preschool Program Encinitas CA "Full STEAM Ahead"
Kyllo Barb Barb Kyllo's Home Daycare Byron MN "Awe Inspiring Aquaponics"
Larson Kristine Kris Larson's Family Childcare White Bear Lake MN "Soil Savers"
Linke Kayla The Goddard School Jackson NJ "Building UP with STEM"
*McCurdy Jessica Bowdoin College Children's Center Brunswick ME "Climbing & Carrying"
Miles Latressa The Child Development Cooperative Baton Rouge LA "Nature's Teacher: Outdoor Classroom"
Mulholland Janet K'tonton Early Learning Center Broomall PA "The Effect of Weather on Sound-An Outdoor Travelling Center"
Nichelini Lynn Santa Margarita Children's Center San Rafael CA "Photographic Journey"
*Perez-McGee Ivelisses USAF Academy Child Development Center Colorado Springs CO "Cognitive Rainfall"
Porta Julie Tender Care Learning Center Monroeville PA "The Crib Board"
*Powers Patricia Powers Daycare Rice MN "Exploring With Nature: A Nature Based Outdoor Classroom"
Prestenbach Mandy Golden Wings Daycare Lebanon OR "Literacy Center"
Previl-Dunel Karine God is Good Daycare, LLC Bayshore NY "Let's Explore With Nature"
Ross Debra Salford Mennonite Child Care Center Harleysville PA "The Contentment Tree-An Outdoor Comfort Zone"
*Seymour Paul Aviano Child Development Center Aviano Air Force Base, APO AE "Outdoor Mediterranean Leaning Environment"
*Stagg Angela Positive Parenting at Trinity Davenport IA "Bringing Nature In"
Stonehocker Dawn Dawn's Daycare and Educational Program Earlham IA "Let's Build a Butterfly Garden"
Taylor Beth The Children's Center at Morrisville State College Morrisville NY "Growing Needs"
Tremelling Mary Ellen PlayCare Fitchburg WI "Sensory Basics, The Impact They Have on Children"
Trott Robert Prime Time Children's Center Owings MD "Portable STEM Classroom"
*Tuttle Heather SUNY Cortland Child Care Center Cortland NY "Get Me Outside"
Unrau Eric Ruth Staples Child Development Center Lincoln NE "Woodworking"
VanAmburg Kathy Apple Tree Learning Center West Des Moines IA "Everyday Math & Science"
Watts Debra Long Beach City College Child Development Center Long Beach CA "Sensory Play for Two's"
Weaver Jamie Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Express Yourself"
Weinstein Heidi Paley Early Learning Center Philadelphia PA "Peace Corner-Thoughtful Spot"
Wise  Erin Cocalico Care Center Denver PA "Cozy Woodland Book Nook:  Creating Love for Literacy"
Zablotney Dottie Minot Air Force Base Child Development Center Minot AFB ND "Outdoor Dramatic Play Area"


*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

The winner of the Helene Marks Award will be announced at the National Child Care Teacher Awards Ceremony on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

2015 Awards Recipients


2015 Awards Recipients

2015 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2015 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name

Center Name



Award-Winning Project

Anne Alexander Wee Care Family Childcare DeForest WI Let's Play in the Mud: Making a Mud Kitchen
*Brent Anders Salford Mennonite Child Care Center Harleysville PA Do You Wanna Have a Puppet Show?
*Kimberly Bohrer The Learning Station Early Education Center Boise ID Natural Flowing River
*Sarah Bonifer The Children's Learning Center at Goodwill of Southern Indiana Clarksville IN Using Nature to Nurture
Tonya Casey Apple Tree Learning Center Urbandale IA Exciting At-Home Adventures
Crystal Celender Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA Get Moving in the First Year
Shanda Cox First Baptist Children's Center Winston Salem NC Exploration Stations
Holly Dalo Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA Patterns, Counting & Sorting, Oh My!
Tracy Ehlert Babies 2 Kids Learning Center Cedar Rapids IA All About Our Community-Service Learning Projects
Susan Evans Memphis Jewish Commnity Center Germantown TN Gardens Grow
*Jennifer Furniss Phila Freedom Valley YMCA Child Development Center at Spring Valley Royersford PA Exploring the Five Senses through STEM
Angie Gering-Ludwig Apple Tree Children's Center Ankeny IA Lending Library Backpacks
*Tammy Hardin Minot Air Force Base Child Development Center Minot AFB ND ABC Music & Me-Move & Groove
Yvette Harvey Northridge Children's Center at Calif State Univ Northridge CA STEM for Two's: Building a Path to the Future
Christine Henderson Kid Biz East Maiden Washington PA Pre-K Gets Saucy
Katie Herbert County North Children's Center, Inc. Liverpool NY Outdoor Classroom
Cristina Hernandez Baby Gator Developmental Research Center at Newell Drive Gainesville FL Look at Them Go!
Ashley House The Learning Community Wayne IN Multi-Cultural Prop Box Enhancement
Julie Hume Kind Hearts Day Care Princeton MN Defining a Space for Activities
Aspyn Landis Corning Children's Center Corning NY Fossil Excavation Site
Annie Larkins Cneter for Children & Families San Marcos CA Technology in Preschool 2
Nicole Masias Samuel Paley Early Learning Center Philadelphia PA Bringing Nature Indoors
*Natasha McKenzie Stony Brook Child Care Services, Inc. Stony Brook NY Tasting Friendship Soup
Nichole McLeer Parent Infant Center Philadelphia PA Full STEM Ahead: Weaving Together the Languages of Science, Art & Math
*Catherine Mikalic Green Byrne Child Care Center Philadelphia PA Indoor Toddler Nature Connection
Rachelle Millien Westminster Mayfair Presbyterian Church Child Care Center Philadelphia PA Social Emotional Engagement Center
Angela Misner Easter Seals Midwest Pleasant Valley MO IBIC Conscious Discipline Implementation Project
Carrie Monfre Gunderson Child Care Center La Crosse WI Outdoor Music Enhancement
Patricia Nance Kinderberry Hill child Development Center Plymouth MN STEAM into Learning
Teresa Olin Calif State University: San Bernardino Infant and Toddler Lab School San Bernardino CA Water Tables for Infant Toddler Lab School
Diane Palko Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA Gross Motor Play
Natasha Palmer-Lehman Northland Early Education Center Kansas City MO Mobile Garden
Rachael Peterson Sandcastle Child Care St. Paul MN Light Table
Cynthia Raven Luke's Treehouse Child Care & Preschool Columbia MO Outdoor Science Center
Shirley Reynolds Shirley's Fun Time Learning Home Mobile AL Gardening for a Healthy Life
Wanda Reynolds Barksdale AFB Child Develpmnet Center - East Barksdale AFB LA Enhancing Children with Special Needs Through Music
Debby Rice Woods Hollow Children's Center Madison WI Bringing the Indoors Out
Sarah Rose The Rose Garden Garner NC The Inside-Out Project
Yelena Rud Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center Minneapolis MN My Five Senses-Learning About Winter
*Jenny Sexton Bright Beginnings Christian Center II Goldsboro NC Skill Builders in a Box
Kimberly Smith The Harmony School Princeton NJ Happy Notes
*Stephanie Smith Child Development Center-Therapeutic Child Care Des Moines IA The Sensory Smart Project
Rachel Stewart Foundations Preschool of Washtenaw County Ann Arbor MI Occupational Therapy for All
Tabitha Temple Warwick Child Care Center Pottstown PA Peacock's Greenhouse
*Amanda Treadaway Shepherd's Way Day School Colfax NC Learning Through Play
Amanda Turner Apple Tree Children's Center Middletown CT Growing Our Five Senses
Kara Ventriglio Apple Tree Children's Center Hamden CT Books & Cooks
Susan Wapniarski Wilmette Child Development Center Wilmette IL Project Based Engineering
Christy Ward Calvary Child Care Center Golden Valley MN Sensory Solutions
Christina Zedreck Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA Creative Crusing Corner

*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

The winner of the Helene Marks Award will be announced on February 27, 2015.

2014 Awards Recipients


2014 Awards Recipients

2014 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2014 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name

Center Name



Award-Winning Project

Wendy Arnburg Momma Bear Daycare & Preschool Des Moines IA "Building Connections Through Technology"
Christy Bartles The Mustard Seed Early Learnng Center Martinsburg WV Introducing Technology To Our Classroom
Lorena Berube UCP Easter Seals Charlie Gaddy Children's Center Raleigh NC "Media Fun for Kids"
Dana Binette Community Children's Center Storrs CT "Outdoor Music Station"
Winona Anne Brooks Happy Feet Family Child Care Clearwater FL "Imagination:  Smiling Faces to Happy Feet"
Jamie Burns Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Center Vestal NY The Sensory Closet
Claudia Cala Garden of Hope Day Care Center, Inc. West Babylon NY Water-The Secret of Life
Amy Caspersen Wyman* Radcliffe Child Care Centers, Inc. Cambridge MA The Good Grief Project
Sabine Claybrook Mary Lou O'Connor Child Development Education Center Niceville FL Music House
Kori Constein Children's Learning Center at Landis Homes Lititz PA The 3 E's of Science:  Explore, Engage, Experiment
Kristy DeGraaf** The Learning Tree Cedar City UT Sensational Kids:  Developing Mindfulness Through Sensory Experiences
Monica Detweiler Araya Salford Mennonite Child Care Center Lansdale PA xcercising Young Minds Through Multi-cultural Sports"
Kayla Dinsmore Discovery Point Cumming Cumming GA "Fun With Fine Motor"
Bobbie-Jo Dionne South Shore YMCA Learning Center Quincy MA "Hands-On Science Center"
Christine Dise Freedom Valley YMCA Child Development Center Pottstown PA "Get Moving, Get Learning"
Aimee Forsythe Tender Care Learning Center Hermitage PA "Learning With Music"
Chrysanne Foster Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Literacy and Langauge Through the Day"
Jean Goulart Bundle of Joy Preschool Childcare LFFC Hidden Valley Lake CA "Bundle of Joy Community Garden/Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom"
Elizabeth Gould Children's Village Childcare Center Philadelphia PA "Seeing the World Through Their Eyes"
Valerie Halla Westminster Early Childhood Programs Buffalo NY "Enhancing Children's Curiosity"
Erin Haney Tender Care Learning Center Bethel Park PA "Outside Infant Exploration"
Kristin Kruger Cox Children's Center Springfield IL "The World Around Us"
Monica Kuennen Apple Tree Children's Center Clive IA "Language & Literacy"
Tamar Lathrop* Apple Tree Children's Center West Des Moines IA "Exploring the Power of Sensory Play"
Jenny Leeper Miller Ruth Staple Child Development Laboratory Lincoln NE "Creating A Community Connected to Math, Science & Nature"
Freda Lujan Lujan Family Child Care Sun City CA "Mobile Creative Art Center"
Heather Marden Birchwood Day Nursery School Windham ME "Light Up Learning"
Karen Mattison Corning Children's Center Corning NY "Our Map of Diversity"
Michele McDaniel* Michele's House Childcare & Learning Center Earlham IA "Sensational Science…Sparking a Curious Mind"
Brandy Melton Apple Tree Children's Center Johnston IA "123…Math and Me"
Raquel Monserrate The Goddard School Jackson NJ "Book Nook"
Inga Mountain* Montessori Children's House Horsham PA "Light Pad Experience"
Theresa Patsos* Apple Tree Children's Center Middletown CT "Move, Laugh, Learn"
Judy Payne* Integris Hospital/The Children's Place Oklahoma City OK "The Safe Place"
Selena Perry Barksdale AFB Child Development Center Barksdale AFB LA "Babies Just Want to Have Fun"
Kristin Purdon* Perry Nursery School Ann Arbor MI "It's A Small World-Multicultural Languages/One Classroom"
Barbara Quevillon Children's Learning Center Malden MA "The Importance of Physical Activity In the Development of a Young Child"
Rebecca Quigley K-State Center for Child Development Manhattan KS "Under Water Exploration"
Jessie Renaud Apple Tree Children's Center Avon CT "Kids and Calves"
Melanie Scott Bowdoin College Children's Center Brunswick ME "A Natural Place for Infants"
Jessica-Lynn Smith Country Childrens Center Katonah NY "Pre K Project Green"
Kelli Smith Tutor Time Learning Center Glendale Heights IL "The World At Our Fingertips"
Andrea Tallacksen Woods Hollow Chiildren's Center Fitchburg WI "Dancing in the Rain"
Susan Thayer GeoKids Menlo Park CA "Art Studio"
Danielle Troxel* Monkton Country Day Care Monkton MD "Discovering My Emotions"
Victoria Tucher IUPUI Center for Young Children Indianapolis IN "Big Muscle Play in Preschool"
Sheree Tucker Childspace Day Care Center Philadelphia PA "Moving Together"
Colleen Walling Temple Israel Day Schools Tulsa OK "Simple Toys-Home Activity Boxes"
Adrian Weaver Cottonwood Enrichment Center Tucson AZ "Educational Poultry Aviary"
Shelly Welker Patrick Air Force Base Child Development Center Patrick AFB FL "Biosphere"
Amy Wertz Upper Gwynedd Child Learning Center North Wales PA "Infant Sensory Garden"
Paula Wilson* UMOM New Day Child Development Center Phoenix AZ "Discovery Loft"
Kathleen Wolfe Kathy's Kids Home Child Care Minot ND "Garden of Learning"
Justyna Zakrzewska Campus Fun and Learn Child Development Center Suffern NY "Music Experience in the Toddler Classroom"

Kristy DeGraaf, owner of and child care teacher at The Learning Tree in Cedar City, UT is the 2014 Helene Marks Award winner and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year!

*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

2013 Awards Recipients


2013 Awards Recipients

2013 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2013 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name

Center Name



Award-Winning Project

Lisa Bauer Butler County Children's Center Butler PA "Science Area Improvement"
Carole Caffentzis A Caterpillar Preschool and Childcare New Port Richey FL "Caterpillars' Nature Tracks"
Sandra Cole* Sandra Kay Cole Family Child Care Springfield IL "Yoga For Kids, Making Exercise Fun"
Leanne Couture Central Baptist Day Care Center Hartford CT "Geocaching"
Robyn Daniels Paley Learning Center Philadelphia PA 'Grow Healthy Food For A Healthy You"
Joanne DeMarco Bona Vista Programs, Inc. Kokomo IN "Down the Farm"
Melissa Dickson Small World Childcare Center New Glarus WI "Small World of Science"
Alison Domangue The Goddard School Jackson NJ "I Love Literacy"
Michelle Duplin Richard A. Battles Day Care Center Hartford CT "Amazing Books"
Kelly Durnbaugh Prime Time Chidlrens Center Owings MD "Language & Literacy Classroom"
Brenda Eden Lutheran Social Services Child's First Janesville WI "My Aquarium at Eye Level for Infants"
Debra Emili Tender Care Learning Center New Kensington PA "Infant Playis Sensory Play"
Amy Garbarino-Tate Montessori Academy of Naples Naples FL "Magic Tree House Hardcover Classroom Library"
Sinsery Gardner* Perry Nursery School Ann Arbor MI "Integrating Sensory Activities in the Daily Routine"
Joanna Gebel Apple Tree Children's Center East Granby CT "Growing Plants and Young Minds"
Diane George Calvary Baptist Children's Learning Center Norristown PA "A New Reading Center"
Naomi Goldstein Concordia Place Chicago IL "Tots Get Physical"
Pauline Golinski The Goddard School Auburn MA "An Infant Secret Garden"
Bethany Graham Tender Care Learning Center Clairton PA "Science Exploration"
Lisa Hester* Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Fun and Active"
Erin Holleran Owens Community College Child Care Center Toledo OH "Opportunities for Focused Energy"
Melissa Hotaling Viking Child Care Center Troy NY "Science, Please!"
Lisa Janis** Lindbergh Early Childhood Education St. Louis MO "Using Music and Movement to Show Our True Colors"
Chelsea Johnston-Bernstein Educational Playcare Windsor CT "Little Garden Learning Center"
Susan Keller Christian School for the Young Years Cape Girardeau MO "Light Exploration"
Rebekah King Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "A Hop, Skip & A Jump towards A Healthy Lifestyle"
Kiley Kline* Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Toddler Room Light Table"
Margaret Kocher Kocher Childcare Holts Summit MO "The Science Squad: Explore, Expand, Apply"
Darci Kuhns Apple Tree Children's Center Clive IA "Rock 'N Rattle Around the World"
Rachelle Landis Salford Mennonite Child Care Center Harleysville PA

"Transprotation to the Outdoor Classroom"

Kelly McKay Bright Horizons Family Solutions Albany NY "Science Rocks!"
Roberta Morgan Apple Tree Children's Center West Des Moines IA "It Just Clicks...Computer Time That Really Matters"
Ellen Judith Nagle Alliance JCC Early Childhood Center Providence RI "Through a Child's Eye: Capturing the World Around Them Through Photography"
Gloria Nwabueze Lancaster Day Care Center Lancaster PA "Post Office in Dramatic Play Area"
Ruth Offenback* Lassin Early Learning Center Philadelphia PA "Using Tablets..."
Sheila Peters Freedom Valley YMCA Early Learning Center Royersford PA "One Book, Two Book, Red Book, Blue Book"
Mary Pierick UW Madison Preschool Lab Madison WI "iPads: Tools to Support children with Disabilities"
Elizabeth Pirillo* Apple Tree Children's Center West Des Moines IA "Growing a Classroom Community"
Bailey Reed* Community Day School Cape Girardeau MO "Toddler Activity Boards"
Ashley Rench Apple Tree Children's Center Norwalk IA "Let's be Proactive on Getting Active"
Donna Rhoten Donna's Learning Center Star ID "Outdoor Learning Environment"
Holly Rosa Apple tree Children's Center Hamden CT "You Won't Be Bored With Our Book Club"
Terra Sapp Tree House Early Learning Center Cortez CO "The World of Math and Science in Our Classroom
Lori Saul Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Water and Sand are Grand"
Jennifer Schemelin All God's Children Learning Center Golden Valley MN "Woodland Band-Outdoor Music Classroom
Megan Sieverding Apple Tree Children's Center Iowa City IA "Art Exploration"
Jennifer Sroka Children's Village Philadelphia PA "The Gravity Wall"
Penny Statham Discovery Point Cumming Cumming GA "Infant Sensory Integration Center"
Kelly Suzick Four Directions Family Center Minneapolis MN "Abinoojiyensag-The Little Babies-Ojibwe Language"
Kayla Thiele The Nurtury Medina OH "Start A Beat"
Melissa Tucker Live & Learn Early Learning Center Lee NH "Toddler Outdoor Classroom"
Janelle Yousef* Bright Horizons Family Solutions Phoenix AZ "Our World"

*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards and are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

**Lisa Janis, Lindbergh Early Childhood Center, St. Louis, MO, is the 2013 Helene Marks Award recipent as National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

2012 Awards Recipients


2012 Awards Recipients

2012 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2012 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name

Center Name



Award-Winning Project

Gloria Adams Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc. Washington DC "Enhancing Our Physical Development"
Josephine Ahmadein Employee's Center for Young Children Rahway NJ "Supporting the Concept of Island of Caregiving in Shoeless Area"
Andrea Almsted Calvary Childcare Center Golden Valley MN "Life's Little Experiments"
Michelle Amen Parent and Child Center-PaC² Hastings NE "Discovering the World of Science Through Hands-On Learning"
Tasha Amole Spring Valley YMCA Early Learning Center Royersford PA "Brain Development for Infants"
Jesseca Aqui** Perry Nursery School Ann Arbor MI "Little Chefs"
Terria Ashby Bella's Playhouse Day Care Home Ulysses KS "Music's Magical Journey"
Lorna Barbour Childspace Philadelphia PA "We Love to Read Listening Center"
Amy Barshinger* York Jewish Community Center York PA "Science as Discovery:  Exploration for Our Youngest Learners"
Kristen Berkheimer The Goddard School Denville NJ "100 Healthy Snacks"
Mita Bhattacharya The Hamony Schools Princeton NJ Natural Science Center
Vanessa Cicchelli* Mt. Kisco Child Care Center Mt. Kisco NY "Music Enhances Learning"
Amber D'Amico Educational Playcare Farmington CT "Sensory Overload"
Karen Diescher SUNY Cortland Child Care Center Cortland NY "Scientific Exploration"
Heather Dishman Apple Tree Children's Center Norwalk IA "Do Re Mi Discover Music With Me"
Joanne du Bois Sweedyk* Joanne's Tot Stop Grand Rapids MI "Natural Outdoor Environment for Learning and Exploration"
Kathryn Ferguson Offutt Child Development Center II Offutt AFB NE "Pocket Activity Mat for Infants"
Caryn Finkelstein University of Michigan: Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center Dearborn MI "Windows to Nature"
Valerie Hapke Scribbles Center for Learning Bloomington IL "Exploring the World Around Them Through Science"
James Helenski Apple Tree Children's Center Hamden CT "Weather or Not, Here We Play"
Rachel Hurd Kids Discovery Gulf Breeze FL "Cozy Corner"
Megan Jarrett* Tender Care Learning Center New Kensington PA "Music-A Universal Language"
Laura Jensen Grand Care Children's Center Johnson City NY "Strengthening Young Toddler Connections"
Rosie Jones-Clarke Little Emmanuele's Christian School & Nursery Bridgeport CT "Everything Grows"
Janice Killen Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA "Active Learning"
Kristy Kitching* York Day Nursery, Inc. York PA "Children's Culinary Cart"
Natasha Kitt Kehillah Federation Early Learning Center Wallingford PA "Child Science Library"
Kathryn Knight The Goddard School Exton PA "Don't Forget Me..Inclusion at Three"
Karma Lewis Cottonwood Enrichment Center Tucson AZ "Sounds in Nature:  Exploring Music and Movement in a Nature Explore Classroom"
Kira Marcy Montgomery Early Learning Center-Norristown Norristown PA "Where Does Our Food Come From?"
Gabriela Martinez Discovery Point Suwanee Suwanee GA "Literacy Center with Multicultural Focus"
Janiya McCray* Lassin Early Learning Center Philadelphia PA "Creating a Sensory Smart Preschool Classroom"
Michelle Medin   Mount Olivet Child Learning Center Plymouth MN "Beyond the Classroom"
Nicole Moriarty Educational Playcare Windsor CT "Sensational Senses"
Karen Panik Karen's Kidz Box Elder SD "Stimulation Center"
Wendy Patterson Wendy's Teddy Bear Day Care Vancouver WA "Sense-ational Garden"
Eddie  Portz* Kids Korner Accredited Family Child Care Home Wichita KS "Extending the Child's Learning to Home Through a Parent Activity Resource Suitcase"
Nicole Puskas Buffalo State College Child Care Center Buffalo NY "Incubator Project-Hatching Chicks"
Amber Rankin Bluegrass Academy Childcare Center Louisville KY "Life Lab Science Center"
Amy Riddlebarger Wright Field South Child Development Center Wright Patterson AFB OH "Oodles and Doodles of Movement"
Jessica Saggese Paley-Federation Early Learning Services Philadelphia PA "The Please Touch Project"
Kari Sanders Scribble Dibble Day Care LLC Colfax WI "Quiet Area Made Baby Friendly"
Kelly Seidel Montgomery Early Learning Center Pottstown PA "Project Smile"
Shelley Simpson NKU Early Childhood Center Highland Heights KY "Exploring Outdoors"
Michelle Smith Apple Tree Children's Center Middletown CT "Classroom Library"
Serena Spearman Little Angels Philadelphia PA "5 -4-3-2-1-Let's Read"
Laura Stadtfeld* Laurie's Inn Casper WY "Year Round Healthy Growing"
Cathy Stemple Calvary Baptist Childrens Learning Center Norristown PA "Music, Movement & Rhythm"
Dawn Stonehocker Dawn's Daycare and Educational Program Earlham IA "How Does Our Garden Grow?"
Denise Swindon County North Children's Center, Inc. Liverpool NY "Sensory Garden"
Jessica Tickle* Rainbow Mountain Children's School Asheville NC "Creative Dramatic Play"
Cynthia Wickens The Children's Center at Morrisville State College, Inc. Morrisville NY "Little Einsteins"

*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards and are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

** Jesseca Aqui, Perry Nursery School, Ann Arbor, MI, is the 2012 Helene Marks Award Recipent and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

2011 Awards Recipients


2011 Awards Recipients

2011 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2011 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name


Center Name



Monica Aston "Great Exploration-An Around the Room Sensory Experience" Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA
Christopher Boehm "Windows to Nature:  Growing with Observations of Native Plants and Wildlife" The Respite Center Madison WI
Zandra Bostwick "Soothing Sights and Sounds" West Point Child Learning Center Lansdale PA
JoAnn Clarke "Basement Light Bright Project" JoAnn's Helping Hands Sterling Heights MI
Marcy Cram   "Gross Motor Enhancement" Addison County Parent Child Center Playlab Middlebury VT
Kathy Culbertson "Early Language/Literacy Enhancement Project" Methodist Family Child Care Center Peoria IL
James Dettmer* "Awesome Art Center" Rainbow Station Three Chopt Preschool Richmond VA
Todyanna Frakes "Welcome to the World of Science and First Discoveries" Apple Tree Children's Center West Des Moines IA
Debra Geller* "The Kindness Kiosk" Children's Village Child Care Center Philadelphia PA
Kay Geurts "Active Earlier" Encompass Early Education and Care De Pere WI
Bibi Saarah Hack "The Listening Center" REM Learning Center Miami FL
Jennifer Hagen "Discover Pause Places" Woods Hollow Children's Center Fitchburg WI
Tabitha Hall* "Infant/Toddler Area Improvement" ABC 123 Daycare Baxter TN
Diane Holzlein "Play's The Thing" The Goddard School Jackson NJ
Laura Konarski "Project Recyle 7 ReUse" Learning Land Daycare Chester NY
Trudy Lackner** "A Ray of Light" The Children's Corner Group Family Child Care Poughkeepsie NY
Kathy Lauwers "Natural Enhancement of our Outdoor Environment" Owens Child Care Center Laboratory School Toledo OH
Kashonda Lawrence "Teensy Weensy Yoga Project" LULAC Head Start, Inc., Fay Miller Center New Haven CT
Esther Lebron "The World at our Fingertips" Connecting for Children and Families-Hope Street Child Care Center Woonsocket RI
Brooke Lovell "The Worlds Window Library" Apple Tree Children's Center Granby CT
Maribeth McManus "Let's Kick Off Our Shoes and Get Movin" Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA
Jennifer Miller "Fun In the Sun-Or Not" Apple Tree Children's Center Urbandale IA
William Morris* "The Back Up Plan" Apple Tree Children's Center Johnston IA
Patti Olsem "Let's Get Cooking" Pleasant Prairie Renaissance School Pleasant Prairie WI
Terri Palser "Blocks Transformation" Kinder Care Learning Centers Irving TX
Rachel Porter "Sing Me A Song" Calvary Childcare Center Golden Valley MN
Jaime Price "Developmental Documentation" Discovery Corner Daycare Center Elkins WV
Laura Prunier* "Creating Inclusive Environments for Children With Allergies and Medical Conditions" The Goddard School Auburn MA
Rebecca Reeves "What A Wonderful World" Central Presbyterian Child Development Center" Fort Smith AR
Michelle Roeszler "Learning Through Moving and Grooving" Little Explorers Family Daycare Fargo ND
Stephanie Scala "Science Can Inspire Exciting New Creative Experiences for Toddlers=SCIENCE" Apple Tree Children's Center Hamden CT
Christina Scatchell "A Year in the Life" Apple Tree Children's Center Avon CT
Brittney Sharp* "Literacy Intergration" Apple Tree Children's Center Iowa City IA
Pamela Sharp "Our Overall Garden" Pam's Group Child Care Home Nashville TN
Tina Sheldon "Art Therapy for Preschool Children" Epworth Preschool Hollywood FL
Blue Shibler* "Tlingit Language and Culture Study" The Discovery Preschool Juneau AK
Allison Soucy* "Let's Build" Educational Playcare Farmington CT
Kimberly Stahl* "Little Bugs Clean and Learn" Little Bugs Daycare Indian River MI
Jeanne Starich-Koepp "Multi-Cultural Weaving Our Lives" La Petite Academy Madison WI
Katie Streiff "Busy Fingers, Busy Toes" Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA
Michelle Sullivan "Science is Magic!" Nonotuck Community School Florence MA
Lisa Tahara "Language and Literacy Through Story Retell" Kibo Child Development Center APO AP
Michelle Tollefson "Jolly Phonics" University of Wisconsin-Platteville Children's Center Platteville WI
Mary Ellen Tremelling "You've Got To Have Friends" Play Care Fitchburg WI
Angie Vinson "Just Imagine…" Let Them Be Little Family Child Care Ellsworth AFB SD
Amanda Webber "Investigation Station" Brewster Child Development Camp Lejeune NC
Holly Werkheiser "To Enhance Outside Play" Volunteers of America Children's Center Allentown PA
Jennifer Winterle "Establishing a Connection Between School and Home Through Technology" Lassin Early Learning Center Philadelphia PA
Elishelah Wright "Success Through Effort" Shantivanam Children's Community Encinitas CA
J'Lane Zamora "Exploration and Discovery Science Center" Rocking Horse Daycare Center Carrizozo NM

*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards and are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

** Trudy Lackner, The Children's Corner Group Family Child Care, Poughkeepsie, NY is the 2011 Helene Marks Award Recipient and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

2010 Awards Recipients


2010 Awards Recipients

2010 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2010 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

First Name

Last Name


Center Name





"Stroll Baby Stroll"

The Learning Tree School/Truxal Center





"Learning Through the Light"

Children's Center at USC





"Rock Garden Project"

Owens Community College Child Care Center





"Library/Discovery Centers Enhancement"

CYO Preschool at Hollowbrook





"Baby Sign Language"

Samaritan Early Learning Center

Lincoln City




"Natures Playground"

Central Texas College Early Childhood Professions





"Picture This"

Clever Kids Learning Center





"Earth Day Everyday"

Children's Center at Dock Woods





"Early Literacy Enrichment Program"

St. Mark's Preschool/Kidzone





"Fall in Love With Books"

U.C. Early Learning Center





"Natural Playground Project"

Susie Skelton Child Development Center

Whiteman AFB




"Outdoor Learning Environment for Infants"

Upper Gwynedd Child Learning Center

North Wales




"Personal Care Routines as Toddler Curriculum"

California State University, Northridge Children's Center





"Chicken Coop Project"

Menlo Survey Daycare Center

Menlo Park




"Kids Fitness"

Family Child Day Care Home





"Going Greener"

West Point Child Learning Center





"Learning to Love Literacy"

Tender Care Learning Center

New Kensington




"Story Telling Through Technology"

The Caring Center





"Indoor Play Yard"

Maggie's Happy Hearts Preschool & Child Care





"The Learning Garden"

JCCEO Head Start





"Diversity in People and Nature"

Hilltop Child Development Center





"Making Sense of Our Five Senses"

Family Day Care Home

Spring Hill




"Science Inquiry Through Dramatic Play"

Apple Tree Children's Center





"Nutrition:  Cooking Up a Recipe for Healthy Bodies!"

Paula Preston Daycare





"Our School is Alive with the Sound of Music"

Apple Tree Children's Center





"Math Enrichment for Pre-K"

St. Clare Preschool and Day Care





"Drama and Storytelling with the Monarch Classroom"

Kinderplatz Child Care and Education Center

Fort Snelling




"Steps Towards Healthy Habits"

Tender Care Learning Center

Allison Park




"Outside Play"

Shirley's Fun Time Learning Home





"Nature Comes Alive"

Halifax Community College Child Care Center





"Books-Telling Me the Things That Rhyme"

Child Parent Center-Sunnyside Head Start





"Discovering Futuristic Ways to Potty Train Age 2's"

Wonder Years Child Care & Learning Center





"The Magic of Puppets"

Puerto Rican Action Board Preschool

New Brunswick




"The Imagination Station"

Kidswork USA





"Foundations for the Future"

Christine's Daycare





"The Best Nest-A Quiet Place for Toddlers"

Beth El Early Childhood Center





"Toddler Discovery and Exploration Yard"

First Presbyterian Early Childhood Center

Santa Barbara




"Creating a Natural Outdoor Playscape"

ETSU Child Study Center

Johnson City




"Making Sense of the Outdoors"

Bowdoin College Children's Center





"Let's Pretend"

Little Angels Daycare





"Sign Language"

Freedom Valley YMCA Early Learning Center





"Literacy Cooking Boxes"

Princeton Nursery School





"Fitness is FUN"

Cohn Early Childhood Learning Center





"The Sensory Rainbow"

Colonnade Children's Center





"Children's Garden"

REM Learning Center





"Reduce, Reuse, Recylcle"

Child and Family Studies





"Operation Big Book"

Children's First Learning Center





"Discovery for Babies"

Tender Care Learning Center





"Bounding Into Books"

Tender Care Learning Center

Bethel Park




"Jump Around Play Gym"

Children on the Move Family Day Care



*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards and are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

**Paula Preston, Paula Preston Daycare, Quincy, MI, is the 2010 Helene Marks Award Recipent and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

2009 Awards Recipients


2009 Awards Recipients

2009 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Proudly Announces the 2009 Recipients of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards

Photographs by Lafayette Hill Studios, Lafayette Hill, PA - Photographer Paul Csihas

First Name Last Name Project Center Name City State
Wendy Arnburg Growing Curiosity Momma Bear Daycare Des Moines IA
Cassandra Baker It's A Hands-on World After All Apple Tree Children's Center Johnston IA
Mildred Bearden Bridging the Gap Between Home and School Through Dramatic Play JCCEO Head Start Festival Pre-K Birmingham AL
Anne Brooks* Stepping into Backyard Science Happy Feet Family Child Care Clearwater FL
Kyla Burg Integrated Education Through Art Jewish community Center York PA
Elizabeth Cali As We Grow Greenhouses Guild of St. Agnes Devens MA
Claire Carradus Our Resourceful Earth USAFF Mildenhall Child Development Center Mildenhall Suffolk England
Melissa Cato Believe in Imagination Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA
Martie Davis* Giving Back with Books Rainbow Station San Antonio TX
Lynne Ehrman The Softer Side of Life The Nurtury Medina OH
Celestia Erickson Sensational Snacking Garden Celestial Beginnings Child Care Hollywood MD
Mary Eubanks-Schuster Wire Sculpture University of Nevada Early Head Start Child and Family Center Reno NV
Della Fischer Kids Going Green Reston Children's Center Reston VA
Regina Garrett Outdoor Classroom Evangelical Children's Home Early Education Center St Louis MO
Tama George Teaching the Whole Child Through Dramatic Play Hildebrandt Learning Center at Park City Lancaster PA
Robin Hills-Ellingboe Little Explorers Ladybug Child Care Center Waconia MN
Kim Hunt Memory Books Child Development Center Minot AFB Minot ND
Heather Hurteau* Multicultural Literacy Bags Suny Cortland Child Care Center Cortland NY
Crystal Jacobsen The Magic of Music Ladybug Childcare Center Chaska MN
Kaleena Kafka* Picture This Apple Tree Children's Center Hamden CT
Donna Kennebeck** Book Nook Iowa Health Child Development Center Des Moines IA
Kathleen Kenshur* Going Green Kenshur Family Childcare Encinitas CA
Edina Koco Art As Communication Apple Tree Children's Center West Des Moines IA
Irene Kornet Making Magnificent Muisc in Rooms Samuel Paley Early Learning Center Philadelphia PA
Maureen Liguori Outdoor Classroom CA Montessori Children's Center Islandia NY
Tanya Lohman Discover the World Around You Hildebrant Learning Center Elizabethtown PA
Tricia Luft Color My World Miss Tricia's Family Child Care Red Hill PA
Freda Lujan Self Awareness Through Dramatic Play Lujan Family Childcare Sun City CA
Katherine Maddox Super Science Rainbow Station Richmond VA
Mary Ann Makusi Things That Go Together YMCA/Early Learning University Edinboro PA
Rebecca Martin Rainy Day Activities Salford Mennonite Child Care Harleysville PA
Jennifer McConnell Peaceful Community Children's Choice Montessori Eugene OR
Michele McDaniel Books for Brain Power Michele's House Child Care & Learning Center Earlham IA
Margaret Oberg Outdoor Enrichment Oberg Family Childcare Reno NV
Kristy Owen Fine Motor Books Ohio State University Child Care Program Columbus OH
Young Oxner The World Around Me Hanscom AFB Child Develpment Center Hanscom AFB MA
Rashelle Perry Discovery Zone Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA
Elizabeth Petersen* Full Circle Garden Kitsap child Care and Preschool/Head Start Bremerton WA
Anita Polito Project Organization Jack n/ Jill Child Care Center Webster NY
Katrina Robinson-Williams* Make Me a Soft Place God's Rainbow Family Child Care Savannah GA
Melissa Ruffing Dramatic Play Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh PA
Adrienne Schreiber A Peaceful Presence: Emotional Regulation in the Classroom Hoya Kids Learning Center Washington DC
Tammy Sergeyev Pre-K's Eric Carles Chesterbrook Academy Chalfont PA
Lisa Simpson Active Thinkers & Doers Ken-Crest West Center Philadelphia PA
Jennifer Sortito Movin & Groovin Hospital of St. Raphael's Childcare Center New Haven CT
Sharon St. Onge Multicultural Center Apple Tree Children's Center Granby CT
Stacy Stefaniak Diversified Dramatics Child Care Center os St. Joseph's Hospital Marshfield WI
Eleanor Swope* Multicultural Music and Movement Tender Care Learning Center Allison Park PA
Susan Thom Discovering the World Through the Senses Apple Tree Children's Center Middletown CT
Connie Thompson* Discovering Science Through Gardening Apple Tree Children's Center Norwalk IA

*The top ten scorers of the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children's TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards and are eligible to apply for the Helene Marks Award and to be named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

**Donna Kennebeck, Iowa Health Child Development Center, Des Moines, IA, is the 2009 Helene Marks Award Recipent and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.


2009 Helene Marks Award Recipient as National Child Care Teacher of the Year

Donna Kennebeck
Iowa Health Child Development Center
Des Moines, Iowa
“Book Nook”

I began my early childhood career 23 years ago as a family child care provider.  I am currently an infant teacher at Iowa Health Child Development Center.  I have a supportive husband, three grown children and a granddaughter.  I earned my associate degree in early childhood education and am currently working on my bachelor’s degree.   I have my child development associate credential. I am active in the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children.

My project is to set up a reading area in my infant classroom.  My intent is for the area to be attractive and inviting to both children and adults.  We will purchase a book self, comfy couch, rug and pillows.  We will supplement the area with touches of home, stuffed animals, soft books, board books and a rocking chair.

Winners are listed alphabetical by last name

Wendy Arnburg
Momma Bear Daycare
Des Moines, Iowa    
“Growing Curiosity”

I have been married to my husband,Scott,for 12 years and we have a beautiful 2 year old daughter named Peyton. We also serve as foster parents when there is a need for a loving home.I have been providing child care in my home for almost 5 years. The choice to pursue a career in child care has been a decision that has enrichedmylifebeyond any expectations. I have created an atmosphere that helps children learn, grow and be independent and have seen the benefits of quality care reflected in my daughter'sexperiences as well as the other children in my care. I enjoy the independence of running my own business and recently achieved the highest quality rating available in my state. In my spare time, I enjoy computer games, reading, going to the range and puttering around the yard.

I will be creating a raised garden for the children to grow their own fruits and vegetables.  The beds are made from recycled materials and will put the plants at eye level for the children to explore.  We will discover how plants grow and enjoy the taste of fresh food. The families of the children in my care will be invited to participate in planting, caring for and harvesting the crops.  My hope is to cultivate more than just plants, but to grow a sense of community, discovery and curiosity.

Cassandra Baker
Apple Tree Children’s Center
Johnston, Iowa
“It’s A Hands-On World After All”

I’m a lead teacher with transition twos at the Apple Tree Children’s Center.  I started my career at Apple Tree Children’s Center in 2004 working with the four year old preschool class.  While in high school, I was selected to be in a college development program for high school students interested in child development during my junior year.  I earned my associate degree in early childhood education from Des Moines Area Community College.  When not working at Apple Tree, I enjoy scrapbooking,  work at a toy store part-time and play with my three year old beagle.

I will be creating hands-on activity boxes that will help me implement Creative Curriculum into my classroom. I believe that young children learn best by doing.  Learning requires active thinking and experimenting to find out how things work and to learn firsthand about the world we live in.  The activity boxes I plan to create will encourage these ideas.  My goal is to add activity boxes to several of our interest centers, which will further utilize the many learning experiences we currently provide.

Mildred Bearden
JCCEO Head Start Festival Pre-K
Birmingham, Alabama
“Bridging the Gap Between Home and School Through Dramatic Play”

I am the mother of eight children and the grandmother of 12.  I am the teacher of 18 head start pre-K children.   I am a mentor teacher with special training to coach and advise other teachers. I have been teaching since 1992 and obtained my CDA in 1995.  I earned my associate degree in child development in 2003 and graduated Cum Laude.  Currently I am a senior at the University of Alabama working on my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.  My love for and belief in children is evident in every aspect of my work in the classroom.  Teachers from far and wide come to observe me in my classroom.

This project will help to answer parent’s questions about what their child is doing and learning in our head start center and my Alabama First Class Pre-K classroom.  Dramatic play is the project focus because it is through play that children explore and learn by acting out everyday experiences, many of which connect their classrooms to their homes and communities.  Through this project parents will have the opportunity to see and understand that learning is taking place during dramatic play by taking pictures of their child at home and in the community.  They will compile these photographs and information about them in binders.  In our classroom, pictures of children engaged in dramatic play taking part in similar activities will be taken and added to the binders.  These special, personalized, dramatic play binders will be shared with parents when they visit our classroom, helping parents see that play is a learning process, that this critical learning happens at home, in the community, as well as in our center and classroom, and that it is very important to children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Anne Brooks
Happy Feet Family Child Care
Clearwater, Florida
“Stepping Into Backyard Science”

My husband and I have been married 37 years.  We are blessed with a wonderful family of 3 children, their spouses and 4 beautiful grandchildren.  I became a family child care provider because two of my children did not bloom and grow in pre-school and daycare settings, they only bloomed at home so I chose to stay home and bloom where I was planted.  I have been a licensed family child care provider for 27 years and during this time, with the help and encouragement of my family, I have earned an Associate of Science Degree in Early Childhood Development, a Directors Credential and my NAFCC Accreditation.  When asked I tell everyone that “I have the best job in the world.  I get to play with children all day.  I am a family child care provider”.  

I designed “Stepping Into Backyard Science“ with the goal of enhancing the multisensory experiences of the children attending Happy Feet Family Child Care.  The addition of new tools and equipment including a bird feeder, binoculars, outdoor weather station, large sand and water table and garden area will expand and provide new multisensory experiences making this project a reality for the children.  The families in my program are close and are planning a family involvement event to plan and plant with their children our first garden of flowers and vegetables this spring.   Stepping into backyard science through multisensory experiences and activities encourages enthusiasm, natural curiosity, and spontaneous learning in a familiar, comfortable backyard setting while helping to wire children’s brains in a positive way.

Kyla Burg
Jewish Community Center
York, Pennsylvania
“Integrated Education Through Art”

I have been with the York Jewish Community Center since 2001.  I have had the opportunity to work children ages 1-6.  I have two beautiful daughters ages 7 and 12.  I will be married this October and blending my family to include a 19 year old son and a 21 year old daughter.  I enjoy a good challenge and am a lover of life.

I plan to use the materials to enhance the children’s learning experiences through art, literacy and diversity projects.  Projects will include various doll making activities.  Supportive materials include globes, books, wood for building various types of boxes.  I look forward to implementing these project ideas with my children and future children.

Elizabeth Cali
Guild of St. Agnes
Devens, Massachusetts
“As We Grow Greenhouses”

I have been a resident of Leominster, MA for 46 years. My passion for teaching began when I was a little girl and used to return home from school only to play ‘school’ with my friends and pretend I was the teacher.  Later in life that dream came true as I decided to return to school in pursuit of my associate degree followed by my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  Seeing life through the eyes of a child is a special gift.  I wish to take my education, wisdom and knowledge as far as I can.  The sky’s the limit! Fred Rogers summed it up quite well: “I believe that by the time a child grows up, that child’s first and second teacher and all the child’s important adults will have become incorporated into that child’s development.  That’s the way it is with all children and although they might not remember clearly, those of us who were the educators of their early lives will always be a part of who they are.  Just like those who meant so much to us when we were children will always be a part of who we are.”

There is a growing concern and an increasing awareness for the future of our environment.  It is our responsibility as early childhood educators to teach our children about their natural world around them and instill in them a sense of respect and caring for the earth in which we live.  My project to establish a greenhouse for my students allows us to reach this goal.  We will be using egg crates for seed starters, recycled containers to transplant the seedlings, compost, and other recycled materials.  Students will experience concrete, hands-on opportunities to be actively involved in the life cycle of a plant.  This will empower children to practice responsibility and nurturing while forming the foundation on which later abstract learning can be built. Children will gain a new understanding and appreciation of the natural world as they enjoy the fruits and vegetables from our earth.

Claire Carradus
USAFF Mildenhall Child Development Center
Mildenhall Suffolk, England
“Our Resourceful Earth”

I have worked the CDC for five years.  Children are my life and I enjoy being around them.  Before that I worked in a nursing home with the elderly which I also enjoyed.  There are so many rewards I have experienced through working with the children which I started at the CDC 5 years ago. I had no experience when starting at the CDC.  I found that all changed as I had finally found something I was really good at and loved so I progressed well.  I first worked in 1 -2 yrs age group which I enjoyed.  After a year I wanted change and moved up to 2 – 3 year olds.  I became a room leader and achieved a CDA, I blossomed as a caregiver with the support of my trainer.  I was able to try some amazing things with my toddlers like raising butterflies and planting gardens.  I have recently moved up to pre-school age group and achieved a president’s coin from the 3rd general and was nominated as civilian of the year. My work history may not be many years at present but it’s rich in experience and I look forward to going to work every day.

My project is based on the need to educate children in a fun way on how to be resourceful toward our planet.  They can see for themselves how to plant vegetables, make paper and compost and be respectful towards others.  The project is fun and simple, yet imperative for future generations.  It also encourages exercise their cognitive, language and motor skills in a new environment.

Melissa Cato
Tender Care Learning Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“Believe in Imagination”

I am 26 years old and am currently enrolled in the teach program at Carlow University, where I am working on my bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education.  I currently teach young toddlers ages one and two years old.  They are my sunshine and happiness, because I love watching them learn and explore the world around them.  I love spending time with my boyfriend DJ and my family, especially my two year old niece Gracie.

Through the child’s imagination they will have the opportunity to explore more with dramatic clothes, phones, animals, books and much more.  They will be able to use many developmental skills and learn through play.  This award allows my project even more imagination in the classroom.

Martie Davis
Rainbow Station
San Antonia, Texas
“Giving Back With Books”


I am a teacher of four year olds and a Curriculum Specialist for Rainbow Station.I  have been working as a child care professional since 1994 when my youngest son started kindergarten. Like a lot of us in this field, I started out as a helper and worked my way up to lead teacher spurring me to go back to school and earn my associates degree in early childhood education. I have been married to a wonderful and supportive man for 24 years. I have two sons ages 21 and 20, both of whom attend college. I keep a photo of my sons at the ages of 3 and 4 in our teacher counter to remind me of how precious the time is I spend with my students.

In the “Giving Back with Books” project, we will give the children the opportunity to make an individual book about a subject that interests them to share and donate to others.  They will draw the pictures to represent their story, dictate the storyline to a teacher.  The teacher will make copies of the children’s book, laminate the pages and bind each one into a book.  The children will then choose from a short list of children’s hospitals, doctor’s offices, elder care facilities, and/or children’s charities from which they can donate their book.  The children will also donate a copy of their book to other classes in the school and read their stories to the children in those classes.  By designing, compiling and reading their books, the children in my class will have real life experience that reinforces the language and literacy skills they will need to excel in kindergarten.

Lynne Ehrman
The Nurtury
Medina, Ohio
"The Softer Side of Life"

I grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and always knew that teaching was going to be my life's passion. When I graduated from Miami University (Ohio), I first taught college level algebra and business mathematics. My teaching path changed when I became involved with my sons' preschool learning experiences at the Nurtury in Medina, Ohio. Fourteen years ago I began to experience the joys of being a preschool teacher. Through the years my position has evolved, and I am currently the head teacher of our full-time preschool program and lead teacher of our Young 4's Class. My young friends continue to both inspire and challenge me. I am extraordinarily fortunate to work with a talented and wonderful team of teachers.

My husband Skip and I are proud of our 3 sons, Geoff, Matt, and Drew. Geoff will graduate this spring from University of Akron with a degree in mathematics, Matt graduated in December from Ohio State University and is a chemical engineer, and Drew is currently volunteering at an organic farm in New Mexico. We enjoy sports, travel, reading, and cooking together.

The goal of my project is to promote comfort and relaxation in the classroom.  Soft furniture and pillow will enhance and further interest in our book corner.  In addition, a privacy cube will be added as a welcome retreat.  This retreat may be used to read a book, regain control when upset, snuggle with a friend for a quiet conversation, or just be alone.

Celestia Erickson
Celestial Beginnings Child Care
Hollywood, Maryland
“Sensational Snacking Garden”

I have worked as a child care provider for 13 years and have been NAFCC accredited and held a level Six Maryland State Child Care Credential for the last seven years.  I earned a bachelor’s degree in special education from Brigham Young University in 1993.  My husband and I have been married for 17 years and we have four amazing children.  Being a family child care provider has given me the opportunity to use my education in teaching and caring for children on a daily basis while allowing me to remain in my home with my own children.  I am grateful to have fabulous children and parents to work with who help fill each day with joy and wonder.

My project will provide opportunities for the children to concretely explore where the fruits and vegetables they eat come from while discovering the mysteries of the plant life cycle as the children develop a sense of responsibility through the gardening process.  Healthy eating habits and outdoor exercise will also be reinforced. Imaginative play will be encouraged by providing manipulative materials inside the center to extend and reinforce the concepts learned in our garden. I will lead the children in emergent literacy and art activities that build on our garden project and incorporate songs about gardens and growing to help build phonemic awareness through rhyme, rhythm and repetition.  Families and other community members will participate in various aspects of the gardening project as the children learn about the gardening process and share their newly acquired knowledge.

Mary Eubanks-Schuster
University of Nevada
Early Head Start Child and Family Center
Reno, Nevada
“Wire Sculpture”

I have worked with young children for more than 26 years, and 20 of which have been at the University of Nevada in the Early Head Start Child and Family Center.  I enjoy working in the community of care program to nurture long lasting bonds with the children and their families.

My project, “Wire Sculpture”, will help build a rich art environment for the children to discover and explore wire and metal.  This project permits the children to revisit and rework the art material, all without having to be confined by space or time.

Della Fischer
Reston Children’s Center
Reston, Virginia
"Kids Going Green"

I was born and raised on a farm in southwestern Kansas, with my twin brother and younger sister.  My elementary school years were spent in one and two room country schools.  I graduated from Bucklin High School in Bucklin, KS, and enrolled in Kansas State Teachers’ College. I earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in special education, certified to teach children with learning disabilities.  I taught in public schools in Kansas, North Dakota and Virginia over a span of 25 years. I have been teaching four and five year old children for 18 years at the Reston Children’s Center in Reston, VA.  It continues to be exciting for me to motivate and help children channel their natural curiosity into the joy of learning.

My ‘Helicopter’ group of eleven five year old children are learning what it means to “go green” in their homes, school, and community.  They and their parents are learning to conserve and recycle in their homes.  The children are learning the importance of water, air, soil, insects and plants and how they can be destroyed if we are not careful with our environment. The class is writing letters to local businesses about how they are interested in what recycling practices they use with worn out computers and copy machines as well as papers, bottles and cans. The class has gone on walking field trips to see how the Chesapeake Bay Project in our area has improved the small local waterways.  The children and their parents are very excited about our project.

Regina Garrett
Evangelical Children’s Home Early Education Center
St. Louis, Missouri
“Outdoor Classroom”

I haven teaching Pre-K at Evangelical Children’s Home for the last 30 years.  One of the greatest joys and privileges of having worked in the same place for so many years is that I now have former student bringing their children into my care.  I work hard to keep up with changes in the field of early childhood education.  By attending conferences and seminars, reading professional publication and taking pride in being a part of organizations such as Parents as Teachers and Head Start.

My project will feature most of the same areas that are found in our classroom, such as a science, music, blocks and reading/language.  I will purchase natural materials from the Arbor Day Foundation.  The children will help design the space and decide which areas they want represented outside.  I am looking forward to watching my children explore with all five senses and to instill in them a sense of wonder and curiosity that only nature can provide.

Tama George
Hildebrandt Learning Center at Park City
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
“Teaching the Whole Child Through Dramatic Play”

I graduated from Elizabeth College in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.  Upon graduation, I began working as a preschool teacher with Hildebrandt Learning Centers in Lancaster, PA.  I have fallen in love with preschoolers.  I cannot think of anything more rewarding than to spend my days supporting young children’s curiosity and wonder about the world.  Young children need to form loving, secure attachments with people they can trust in their time a part from their families.  I love being able to teach the children and help them to have a better future.

One place where all the children in my classroom come together is in dramatic play.  The children incorporate their interests and abilities to work together to create an imaginary world in which they each play an important role.  Children learn about the world and make meaning through play.  They need to encounter real-life objects and situations so they can grow from imitation to understand life experiences.  For my project, I will create themed kits for dramatic play that are based on the Children’s interests.  These kits will include real-life props, environments, books on the theme, books on emotions and turn-taking and guides for children to use in facilitating play.

Robin Hills-Ellingboe
Ladybug Child Care Center
Waconia, Minnesota
“Little Explorers”

I have been in the early childhood education field for 20 years.  I started my career directly out of high school.  I knew that being a teacher in some capacity is what I was meant to do.   I started out as an aide in our preschool classroom and truly loved it!  Connie Kraus, the owner of Ladybug, saw I had a passion for the children and encouraged me to take some classes. After much coaxing I finally agreed.  Even though working fulltime, having a family and going to classes at night was difficult to juggle at times, I truly enjoyed the classes and sailed right through.  In my career at Ladybug , I have worked in all of the classrooms and in multiple capacities.  I have learned so much from my “Ladybug Family”, all of the children that I have cared for and their parents.  I feel very fortunate to have found a career that can bring such pleasure.  I have been married to my husband Allen for 19 years and we have two wonderful children, Christopher, 17, and Meghan, 14.  In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, cross-stitch and scrapbooking.

My project will introduce science and math into the curriculum.  Science and math are interesting subjects for children and I feel that it is my job as their teacher to encourage and expand on their natural interests.  If I give each child the right start as 3 year olds and expand on their interests they will take their love of learning science and math with them as they grow and develop.  I can also be proud of being part of that and may be helping instill that love of learning in them.  Young children have imaginations, but they are not adept at creating all of the pictures in their minds.  They need hands-on experience.  As teachers we can be creative and use just about anything and turn it into something that can “teach” a child.  With science materials that is much harder to do.  The “Little Explorers” project came about to help to expand our current curriculum to incorporate more hands-on science and math materials that could be used in our day to day planning.

Kim Hunt
Child Development Center
Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota
“Memory Books”

I have worked with children in a number of different capacities for approximately 20 years. I have worked with infants (6 weeks to 1 year) for almost 3 years. Each day, the little ones give me something to smile about in life. My husband and family have traveled a great deal with the military resulting in many diverse and wonderful experiences to treasure. Throughout the years, I have learned to “grow wherever the military sent the family and experience each local culture.”

My project is to make digital memory books for each child in my care. I currently give all the parents a CD of all the pictures taken in the room of their child. My project will extend on this idea in the memory books to include captions and descriptions of a child’s first year in the Child Development Center. The parents will have a permanent visual to reflect on the child’s growth and development of the many milestones accomplished the first year of life. 

Heather Hurteau
Suny Cortland Child Care Center
Cortland, New York
“Multicultural Literacy Bags”

I currently live in Homer, NY with my husband of nine years Don and our eight year old son Matthew, who keep us extremely busy.  In my spare time, I like to read, do crossword puzzles and spend time with my family.  I have a bachelor’s of science degree in elementary education from SUNY Fredonia and a Master’s of Science degree in education with a concentration in reading from SUNY Cortland.  I have been employed at SUNY Cortland Child Care Center as a head preschool teacher for 16 years.

My project is literacy bags that families will be able to sign out and use at home.  Each bag will contain a multicultural book and a stuffed animal or other manipulative.  The will also include a follow-up activity such as a game, a puzzle or a flannel board activity.  For the parents, I will include a list of materials, songs, art and writing ideas and movement activities.

Crystal Jacobsen
Ladybug Childcare Center
Chaska, Minnesota
“The Magic of Music”

I have been in the child care field for more than three years.  My classroom currently consists of nine busy boys and one sweet girl ranging in age from 31 months to 41 months.  I also have a beautiful four year old daughter that I enjoy spending my free time.

My project will be an influence in the children’s development.  I believe that many skills can be taught through songs and music.  I am so grateful to have the opportunity to enhance our music area.  I will accomplish this by purchasing multicultural instruments, CDs, a tape recorder and other musical tools.

Kaleena Kafka
Apple tree Children’s Center
Hamden, Connecticut

“Picture This”

I teach two year olds at Apple Tree Children’s Center in Hamden, CT.  I have been working in child care for ten years, have my CDA and will receive my associates in early childhood education this May.  I am also a designated head teacher by the state of Connecticut, as well as the current Master Teacher at my school. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and having fun with my friends.

My project involves providing my children with two durable children’s digital cameras.  These cameras will help the children learn the basics of taking a picture, plus the benefits of photos.  We will use these cameras to document our achievements, create yearbooks, and just explore the world around us.  The photos will be shared with families, hung around the classroom and given to the children to create stories.  I believe that there are many benefits to my project, but the most important is that my class will be creating life long memories.

Kathleen Kenshur
Kenshur Family Childcare
Encinitas, California
“Going Green”

I have been married for 30 years to a great husband and am the mother of four wonderful grown children and a grandmother to two adorable granddaughters.  I have been an early childhood educator for 30 years and have been a licensed family childcare provider for more than 25 years in Encinitas, CA.  I am an ECCERS and FCCERS trainer, which helps me to raise the standard of quality in my program every day.  I have also applied the training practices learned to the NAFCC accreditation process. I am the president of the San Diego County Family Child Care Association, an instructor for UC Davis Childcare Series, a trainer for the YMCA Child Care Resource and Referral Service and I am a member of the San Diego Preschool for All Leadership Team.  In 2008, I became the first certified Eco Healthy Childcare in San Diego.  My passion for children also includes volunteering as a patient aid and Spanish translator for Fresh Start Surgical Gifts for children with facial deformities and birth defects.  In also enjoy training for triathlons and half marathons and working on my instrument rating for my pilot’s license.  I love traveling and attending early childhood conferences.

My project is to teach the children how to go green and to encourage them to recycle and take care to the earth.  I will add books about the earth, plants and science to enhance our library, which will help increase the children’s vocabulary and stimulate brain development.  With the award, we are going to set up an outdoor green house and water table, which will be used for planting plants.  We will be growing our own vegetables and celebrating with a Garden Pizza Party with the parents.  We will also be setting up a monthly recycling program that will include a book and toy swap.

Edina Koco
Apple Tree Children’s Center
West Des Moines, Iowa
“Art as Communication”

I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  I am married and have two boys who are college students.  In my country, I worked as a social worker for 17 years with families having a difficult time.  We came to the U.S.A. in October of 2000.  Soon after I began working at Apple Tree Children’s Center and I am still with the same school! In 2007, I completed my associate degree in early childhood education through the T.E.A.C.H. program and chose the two year olds as my primary classroom.

My project will create an environment that helps children to express themselves in a variety of ways.  Children use art as a form of communication.  I will be adding supplies that encourage growth in all areas: Social-emotional, language, cognitive and physical. When children are experimenting, exploring, involved and participating in art, they share a part of themselves.

Irene Kornet
Samuel Paley Early Learning Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Making Magnificent Music in Rooms”

I have been working with children since I graduated from college.  I have lived in the United States for 20 years and have spent 17 of them teaching for FELS.  I love children and enjoy working with them.  My hobbies include listening to classical music and reading books.

My project is about the role that music plays in a child’s life.  By singing songs the child improves his memory, increases his vocabulary and learns how to participate in group activities.  Music is not only for pleasure but serves as an educational tool.

Maureen Liguori
CA Montessori Children’s Center
Islandia, New York
“Outdoor Classroom”

I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Temple University in Early childhood and Elementary Education.  I attended St. Joseph’s College where I received my Master’s degree in Special Education, focusing on early intervention.   I have had the privilege to teach children aged 3 – 6 at our center for the past 10 years.  I am a dedicated NAEYC member and educator who continuously seeks new ideas and materials to inspire and excite children to learn.

My project will focus on enhancing our school’s Outdoor Classroom.  As part of our “Green Initiative”, the children are learning how they can conserve, reduce waste and show respect for our environment.  This will provide the perfect means to develop the children’s love and reverence of nature.  They will learn about and implement worm composting, using the compost in our Center’s garden and then plant seeds to observe plant life cycles.  Additional enhancements will include providing magnifying glasses, binoculars and field reference books to assist with discovery.  Notebooks and labels will be supplied and a specimen table will be set up to display what nature’s treasures are revealed. 

Tanya Lohman
Hildebrant Learning Center
Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
“Discover the World Around You”

I have worked at the Masonic Village for 14 years and am the infant teacher.  I love my job and I try to volunteer for the Make A Wish Foundation.  I am also a foster parent because I want to help the children while the parents work on trying to get their lives together.

I want to set up individual stations around the room.  I want the stations to focus the children’s mind and body on developing individual skills.  I am going to focus on four key areas: manipulative, cognitive, colors and science.  I have had a lot of great ideas for these stations!

Tricia Luft
Miss Tricia’s Family Child Care
Red Hill, Pennsylvania
“Color My World”

For the past 21 years I have run a family child care out of my home.  It has been a real joy caring for all of the children God sends my way!  This past year I renewed my Star Four Certification and was selected as Family Practitioner of the Year in Montgomery County!  In addition, I completed the Directors Credential and appreciated the support and expertise from other colleagues.

My project was inspired by a song about the beautiful colors of the human rainbow that teaches acceptance of all people.  To promote cultural awareness in my centers, a variety of cultural “sounds from afar” will be added to the Music Center.  Children will be exposed to different style paintings and artists in the Art Center.  Two groups of block people, an African American family and Friends with Disabilities will promote a love for all people and an inclusive attitude towards those with physical disabilities.  A “Learning to Get Along” resource library will teach children to respect others and behave responsibly.

Freda Lujan
Lujan Family Childcare
Sun City, California
“Self Awareness Through Dramatic Play”

I have lived in Southern California for almost all of my life.  My husband, Michael, and I have been married for 19 years and have two beautiful daughters, Breeann & Paige.  I’m the middle child of three girls and love spending as much time with my sisters and my Mom as possible.  In my free time, I love spending time with all of my girls to go to the movies and shopping.

My project will help the children in my care expand on their unique differences through dramatic play.  By enhancing this area children can learn problem solving, social skills, curiosity, language development, self esteem and self confidence.  Circle time will become our time of fantasy as we journey to other parts of the country through music, books, dress up clothes and pictures depicting people from around the world!  As a teacher, this will help me to promote understanding and acceptance of diversity.

Katherine Maddox
Rainbow Station
Richmond, Virginia
“Super Science”

I have been working with Rainbow Station since June 3, 1998.  I am currently the lead teacher in the Pre-K Class, mentor to new hires to our preschool, curriculum specialist for our extracurricular programming and the movement teacher for our infant – 4 year olds.  I have my CDA and am currently enrolled at J.S.R. Community College completing my Associates degree in Childcare Education.  I have presented at VAECE as well as co-presented in Dallas, Texas at our latest NAYCE conference.  I enjoy teaching and working with both children and my peers.

I picked items that support hands-on learning from the Measuring Worms and Card Set to the Hydro-Green House that grows plants without soil.  I am hoping to ignite the curiosity of a new generation of learners and help them realize that science is everywhere.  I also added in two resource books both myself and for parents to use to continue the growth of our science center well after the implementation of “Super Science”.  My job is to provide children with the best resources possible, show them how to use and care for them, and then stand back and watch them learn

Mary Ann Makusi
YMCA/Early Learning University
Edinboro, Pennsylvania
“Things That Go Together”

I have worked at the YMCA Learning Center for 10 years, the past 5 years as the lead preschool teacher.  I earned my CDA credential in 2004 and am presently working on getting my Associates degree in Early Childhood Education through a TEACH Scholarship.  In 2006 I was chosen as PACCA’s Educator of the Year, what a great honor that was!  When not working with my preschoolers, I enjoy spending time with my friends, family and my two wonderful grandchildren!

I want to add games and hands-on activities to my learning centers that will help develop the children’s visual perception.  The activities will help the children develop skills such as sorting, classifying, shapes, color recognition and patterning and also benefit their hand-eye coordination, sound recognition, counting and observation of like and different.  These concepts will stimulate the children’s curiosity, intellectual ability and verbal skills.

Rebecca Martin
Salford Mennonite Child Care
Harleysville, Pennsylvania
“Rainy Day Activities"

I have worked at Salford Mennonite Child Care Center for 6 years.  I began teaching after graduating high school in 2002 and worked part-time until finishing my degree in Early Childhood Education from Montgomery County Community College in 2005.  I then began as a full time teacher in the 3 year old classroom which we at Salford refer to as “The Chipmunk Room”.  I continue to grow in my professional development by attending in-service days, workshops, reading articles and staying up to date with my CPR and First Aid training.   Outside of work, I am also involved at my church youth group leading the 6th-8th grade class bible study which meets every Wednesday night.  I also plan monthly activities for the youth which include retreats, and other fun activities such as bowling, mini-golfing and snow tubing.

My project will include many large motor activities for our children to use when we cannot be outside.  It also includes sensory, movement and exploratory activities such as head lamps for the children. 

Jennifer McConnell
Children’s Choice Montessori
Eugene, Oregon
“Peaceful Community”

I have been working with young children (ages 2 1/2 - 6) for over 20 years.  I received my first teaching job right after high school and knew that's what I was created to do.  I received my first Montessori credential in 1997 and am now a Montessori Teacher-Trainer, in addition to teaching and directing a Montessori Pre-School and Kindergarten program.  I have had a long-standing career with Children's Choice Montessori and also own my own school, The Children's House.  I live in Harrisburg, Oregon with my husband and 3 children. 

Due to mixes ages in our Montessori classroom, we resemble a “community” more so that a classroom.  In keeping with Montessori’s philosophy in regards to Peace Education, we have been in need of some materials to enhance and encourage opportunities for “PEACE”.  My desire has been to purchase a Rainbow Peace Rug, designed with squares to encourage self-space, an easel for nurturing peace within and expressing emotions in an artistically peaceful way; as well as a booklet titled “The Peace Rose” to teach the children peaceful conflict resolution.  As always, my work would never be complete without educating the parents with a set of Parent Education Booklets on Montessori explaining how we can attain a Peaceful world, starting with the Children!

Michele McDaniel
Michele’s House Child Care & Learning Center
Earlham, Iowa
“Books for Brain Power”

I have been a childcare professional for 14 years and am a state registered child development home provider.  The 9 children in my program range in age from 16 months to 5 years old. All of the children in my care are on target for meeting the ages and stages of development. My 16 month old sits with the other children at meals and snacks, attempting to use silverware and joining in with the table “conversation”. The toddlers are typical two’s with sharing issues, and all toys are “mine”! My pre-school children are forming friendships with each other and interact rather well with each other. They have such compassion for the younger children, they love to be helpers assisting them with their coats, shoes, singing with them and looking at books with them. I have created a wonderfully safe, happy environment where children are allowed to explore, learn and have fun. I strive each day to make sure each child’s experience is positive.

I will purchase quality literature for the children‘s “library” to enhance my program. I believe that children learn vocabulary and the rhythm of speech through listening and experiencing language as it is spoken and sung. I strive to offer a language rich environment to promote the children’s communication success. I have created reading areas in each room to encourage independent reading. My goal is to add many titles to our current “library“, and be able to have enough books to rotate seasonally. I wish to add books that teach self-help, rhyme and rhythm, diversity, understanding feelings and emotions, and some classics as well. I would like to offer these books in the form of board books, paperback, and hardcover for children of all ages to enjoy. I aspire for the children in my care to learn the value of reading through positive and happy experiences with books.

Margaret Oberg
Oberg Family Childcare
Reno, Nevada
“Outdoor Enrichment”

I have been a licensed as a home child care provider for over 30 years and the proud mother of four grown children & four beautiful grandchildren!  I have been happily married for 37 years.   Professionally, I have belonged to the Northern Nevada Child Care Association since it was formed in 1978, serving on the Board as Secretary, Vice President and President.  I have been accredited through NAFCC since 1998, a member of the UNR Family Child Care Network since 1996 and on the Board of the Reno Association for the Education of Young Children for the last six years, currently as President.  I am a member of the Nevada Registry and serve on both the Washoe Co. Child Care and TEACH Advisory boards.

My planned project will enrich my outdoor play area to include more opportunities for children in my care to enjoy nature and hands on learning experiences to stimulate interest and wonder for the environment.  My vision includes a wavy slide that will fit into the existing slope of my yard for the children to enjoy the natural feeling of sliding down uneven terrain.   I plan to create a pathway of natural wood stepping stones leading the children along a mini labyrinth, adding the opportunity for longer walks in a smaller space.  Best of all, I will include a special water feature allowing water to trickle down a textured path embedded with natural mosaic colored pebbles.  I believe this project will create a tranquil, exciting place to be, grow and to learn!

Kristy Owen
Ohio State University Child Care Program
Columbus, Ohio
“Fine Motor Book”

I have worked in the early childhood field for over 19 years.  I graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.  I have experience with special needs children in a preschool setting.  I have been a preschool teacher for over 13 years.  I am married and enjoy being an Aunt to my two nephews and my friends’ children.  In my free time I volunteer with the Hilliard and the Ohio Jaycees.

My project is designed to help all of my preschool children with their fine motor skills.  The classroom books will be made of fabric and will help the children in mastering zippers, buttons, snaps, belts and other types of closures. 

Young Oxner
Hanscom Air Force Base
Child Development Center
Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts
“The World Around Me”

I have been working with children for 17 years.  All of my experience is in Air Force Child Development Centers throughout the world.  There is nothing I would rather do than teach young children their lifelong skills.  I have been married for 26 years, and have a 7 year-old daughter.  I was born and raised in South Korea, and have followed my husband throughout his 30 year career in the Air Force.  Because of my unique background and military experiences I can relate to some of the feelings the children in my care experience when separated from one and sometimes both of their parents.  I am driven by the look on my children’s eyes when I talk to them from my heart and show them the love that I have for each one of them.  If I can say that I have made a difference in the life of one child, I will consider my career a success!

Because of our unique situation (teaching at a military installation) I have a classroom of fourteen children from a variety of cultures and family backgrounds.  Many of the mothers and fathers of my children deploy to all kinds of different locations as well.  Because of this diversity coupled with the many deployments, I would like to provide an activity for my children to better connect with the diverse world around us.  I would like to provide a learning environment for my children to explore the likes and differences of people and cultures throughout the world.  We will experience all different parts of the cultures we explore such as location on the globe, food, language, music, climate, animals, plants, customs, etc.  My main focus in creating this project is to help my children, and other children in my Center, better understand and adapt to the incredibly diverse environment around them.

Rashelle Perry
Tender Care Learning Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“Discovery Zone”

I have been teaching the Pre-K class at TCLC for the past four years.  Prior to joining the staff at Tender Care I taught at several public schools as a substitute.  While my children were young I enjoyed a very active role in PTA, Girl Scouts, softball and our Church Youth Group.  Now that they are grown I am able to continue my dedication to children through TCLC and my own grandchildren.

My project is designed to encourage my students to seek out materials that will enable them to discover various math and science concepts.  A microscope, balance scale, pattern blocks and magnifying set will be displayed on child accessible shelves.  Having these items organized in one area will better define the math/science center that hopefully will become a more inviting free choice center.

Elizabeth Petersen
Kitsap Child Care and Preschool/Head Start
Bremerton, Washington
“Full Circle Garden”

 I am the lead teacher at the Kitsap Child Care and Preschool in partnership with Kitsap Community Resources Head Start.  I have been in the early childhood profession since 1998 and the lead teacher for 4 years.  In addition, I am the president of the non-profit organization Bremerton Urban Garden Society, which encourages people to connect with the earth, their food and one another.  With the position comes the other opportunities for teach in my community. As a teacher, wife, and mother I enjoy growing lots of my own food and preparing it with my class and for my family.

My class will beautify our existing garden by placing handmade stepping stones in a spiral design around our two plum trees.   Within that spiral will be edible and sensorial plants that will be placed using shovels just the right size! All the children that are in my class now will be able to make their own stepping stone to take home as well as be a part of making the class stepping stone.  For years to come we will replace pre-fabricated stones with class made stones so that when the kids come back to visit they will be able to experience the progress of the garden and  they will feel a sense of belonging when they gaze on their own classroom stone.

Anita Polito
Jack ‘n Jill Child Care Center
Webster, New York
“Project Organization”

I am married to Chris and the mother of 9 year old twins, Brianna and Christopher and expecting another son in May!  I live in Greece, New York, which is a suburb of Rochester.  I am currently working as a teacher in the 4 year old preschool classroom as well as the curriculum coordinator.  I have been doing this for about 4 ½ years.

My project requested a large manipulative shelf to better organize our classroom supplies such as cubes, pattern blocks, tangrams, etc.  A shelf like this will be easily seen for choice and clean up by the students.  Clear and concise order of materials makes for happier and more successful learners.  The children with special needs will benefit from the organized material.

Katrina Robinson-Williams
God’s Rainbow Family Child Care
Savannah, Georgia
“Make Me A Soft Space”

am married and have two children.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and a Master of Education degree in secondary education.  My decision to forgo the career I went to college for and to open a family child care business stemmed from my dissatisfaction with the child care center that my son was attending at the time, my work, coupled with the fact that I really wanted to raise my own children.  Nine years later, with both of my children now attending school, I continue my very rewarding professional career raising “my children” as a Family Child Care Provider.  My family child care home is accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care.  As a life-long learner, I have recently returned to school to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education so that I can be better equipped to attain my goal of helping children to develop to their fullest potentials and also to develop life-long learners.

My project is centered on creating an area just for infants.  My current space has grown with the children that have been with me for the past three years and are now getting ready to go to Pre-K.  The space needs to be revamped to easily accommodate infants.  Having a consistent and safe area in which the infants can explore and practice gross motor skills without interruption form the older children is important for their growth and development.  A soft play space will increase the quality of my program for infants by giving them more space for independent exploration.

Melissa Ruffing
Tender Care Learning Center
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
“Dramatic Play”

I graduated from Baldwin High School in 2004.  I then went on to CCAC and completed my Associates Degree in Child and Family Studies in 2006.  I have been working at Tender Care Learning Center since 2005.  I enjoy my job as a Preschool teacher and I thrive for my students to be successful!

My project is for a multi-cultural dramatic play items.  I requested multi-cultural and handicapped dolls for the classroom as well as clothes, food and puppets for our dramatic play area.  My students enjoy learning about different cultures, especially those of other classmates.  I am really looking forward to these additions to our classroom!

Adrienne Schreiber
Hoya Kids Learning Center
Washington, DC
“A Peaceful Presence:  Emotional Regulation in the Classroom”

I am a goofy, energetic, smiley, entertaining, motivated, appreciative, interested, passionate, creative, chill, happy 20-something from Washington DC!  When I am not hanging out with the kids, I can be found skating around with the DC Roller girls for finding sweet places in DC to chillax with my friends.  I have an extensive knowledge of (mostly) useless trivia.  Sometime soon I would like to fly to Portugal and see if I can make it overland to China.  It will be awesome!

The most important thing a child learns is to love and be loved.  My project is to create an open, inviting multisensory experience for the Quiet Corner in the classroom.  The space will include a wide variety of implements for the children to explore with all five senses.  By creating a place for one or two children, or a child and an adult, they will develop a positive emotional expression and receive appropriate support.  It will be a peaceful presence among the busy activity of the day. 

Tammy Sergeyev
Chesterbrook Academy
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
“Pre-K’s Eric Carles”

I am a certified K-6 elementary teacher education teacher currently teaching the Pre-K class.  I graduated from Millersville University with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in French.  I have lived in France, Germany and Mexico.  These experiences have enabled me to bring an international perspective to my classroom activities.

The premise of my project is to integrate the arts to actively engage four year olds so that they will be able to become environmental stewards by understanding the terms threatened, endangered and extinct.   The topic is especially meaningful and relevant to the children because of the recent razing of natural woodland adjacent to the school and the subsequent loss of native wildlife.  By studying the author and illustrator, Eric Carle, they will be exposed to a stimulating approach to art since he uses mixed media such as paper tissue, acrylic paint and mod podge to create his unique illustrations.  This culminating activity will enable children to model his understanding of the importance of animal habitat preservation but also promoting their long retention of subject matter. 

Lisa Simpson
Ken-Crest West Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Active Thinkers and Doers”

When I received my undergraduate degree in 1978 I was clueless to the rich, bountiful, yet challenging mission that I had initiated for myself as an educator.  My teaching career exceeds 29 years in the preschool classroom.  Children have taught me invaluable lessons about the strengths of human connections.  My relationship with young children can be described as a strong reciprocal exchange of ideas, interest and cooperative participation in designing foundations for early learning.  Every day the reality is that I get the play with the masters of fun!

Children will enjoy “A-ha” moments in daily preschool experiences.  The proposed plan centers on giving children abundant practice to make asking and answering questions a basic skill that carries over into all areas of learning.  Given hands-on activities, they will develop critical thinking skills that expand their natural curiosity.  Adults will engage children to play, to discover, observe, study, experiment and compare/formulate logic to address early PA early learning standards and high scope curriculum key experiences.  Adults will provide rich accessible materials to extend the reach of a child’s senses as “tools” in an exclusive classroom.  Parents will act as partners to volunteer their time, no cost materials and conduct activities at home. 

Jennifer Sortito
Hospital of St. Raphael’s Childcare Center
New Haven, Connecticut
“Movin’ & Groovin”

I have been working at the Hospital of St. Raphael’s Childcare Center for almost six years.  I have been working in the field of early childhood for more than eleven years.  I graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in early childhood psychology.  Children are very important in my life that is why I became a teacher.  I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life.

My project was created to inspire young children to want to exercise.  I believe that if children are exposed to exercise early in life they will want to continue it throughout their life.  Obesity is a growing problem in our nation and as a teacher we have an obligation to help our children stay healthy.  Therefore, I feel that having a place for children to burn some energy, have fun and stay healthy is important.

Sharon St. Onge
Apple Tree Children’s Center
Granby, Connecticut
“Multicultural Center”

I have been working in the infant classroom for three years now.  One of the biggest joys of working there for me is that I am continually amazed to see the children grow and reach milestones right before my eyes.  I have been taking classes in Early Childhood Education and in May of 2008 I received my CDA certificate.  I plan to take additional classes to receive my Associates Degree.  I am the mother of two children, Adrianna age 19 and Frank age 15.  I love animals and have five cats, a cockatiel, parakeet, fish and a puppy.

My project idea is a multicultural cart containing a variety of multicultural materials.  I have researched different games, CD’s, musical instruments, posters, puzzles, globes, resource books and a felt board with Velcro people.  This also comes along with a farm, house and animals.  The materials will be placed on a cart where all of the teachers can choose what they want to use for their classroom.  We will be able to introduce and expose the children to see that there are different people and materials from around the world. 

Stacy Stefaniak
Child Care Center of St. Joseph’s Hospital
Marshfield Clinic
Marshfield, Wisconsin
“Diversified Dramatics”

I have been working in the education field for over eight years.  Six of those years have been happily spent in early childhood.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Northern Michigan University and an associate degree in Early Childhood Education from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.  I also teach children that have autism and look forward to expanding my career in early childhood.

The enhancement project that I am implementing expands the dramatic play center to include more diversity and provides more learning experiences for the children.  I would like to move it beyond just kitchen experiences, providing family and community ones.  It will provide learning across all subject areas in the curriculum.  It will especially enhance the social development of the children in the room.

Eleanor Swope
Tender Care Learning Center
Allison Park, Pennsylvania
“Multicultural Music and Movement”

I have been the lead infant teacher for eight years and feel honored to have been a part of so many little lives.  I also work as my school’s health and safety coordinator, a duty I take very seriously as it affects all the children in our school.  I share this award with my wonderful husband Doug, who gets me to work rain or shine, and often helps me bring my ideas to life. I also have two sons Jason and Brian, who taught me not only love, but patience, and my beautiful daughter-in-law Jess, who became a member of family in October.  I am truly blessed in all areas of my life and look forward to many more years as an early education professional.

My project, “Multicultural Music and Movement”, will help fill my infant room with the wonders of sound and movement.  I want our babies to hear and experience the different textures that multicultural music provides.  Through the use of instruments they will not only hear, but feel the beat of the gathering drum, or the soothing sound of the Chilean rain stick.  With the use of multicultural music, I hope to introduce them to upbeat rhythms and appealing melodies from around the world.  I believe that the first year of life is the most crucial time in the development of young children and that we, as educators, must provide these diverse and wonderful experiences for them to become tolerant, well-rounded grown-ups!

Susan Thom
Apple Tree Children’s Center
Middletown, Connecticut
“Discovering the World Through the Senses”

I began working in childcare nearly 10 years ago at Apple Tree Children’s Center.  I have worked with several different age groups and enjoyed them all.  However, my real passion is working with infants.  I love providing the one on one attention and stimulation that is unique to that age group.  It gives me great pleasure to see my infants reach their first developmental milestones.  My goal is to make this time in their lives as enriching and productive as possible.  I hope that the infants in my care leave the program with bright outlook and trusting nature that will enable them to succeed in the future.

Infants learn about the world around them through the use of their five senses.  They see, feel, smell and taste in order to explore, draw conclusions and learn about their world.  Bearing that in mind, it is my intention to provide a variety of toys and activities geared towards sensory exploration in order to give my infants the most comprehensive and satisfactory of learning experiences. 

Connie Thompson
Apple Tree Children’s Center
Norwalk, Iowa
“Discovering Science Through Gardening”

I have been married to my husband, Gary, for 39 years.  We have four adult children and three granddaughters!  I enjoy spending time with my family.  I have worked for Apple Tree Children’s Center for 7 years with various age groups.  I really enjoy working in my current class, the two year olds!

My project will give the children the hands on experience of working with soil and they will see how it is needed to grow a garden, as is the sun and water.  As the foods are prepared, they will use their abilities to scrub, spread, mash and whisk.  My weekly planning will include introducing fruits and vegetables that we have grown and an opportunity to taste foods that may be new to the children. 

2008 Awards Recipients


2008 Awards Recipients

2008 Teacher Awards Recipients

2008 Helene Marks Award Recipient - National Child Care Teacher of the Year

Teri Aldrich
Heartland Programs
Salina, KS
After receiving my first Bachelor of Science in 1979, working 16 years as a legal secretary, and beginning my family of four children, I changed careers and joined the Early Childhood Education field. While working as a paraeducator at Heartland Programs in Salina, Kansas, I returned to Kansas State University to complete a degree in Early Childhood Education. In June 2001, I began teaching in the newly opened Full Day Full Year Preschool. I volunteer in many areas of the community, with coaching at the YMCA and being a parent Liaison being my favorite. I am always looking for new ideas to better educate children.
Project-“Marvel With Movement”
The title of my project, “MARVEL with Motion”, will incorporate more sensory experiences into the child’s day. By doing so, I will be facilitating additional ideas to encourage mental and physical wellbeing to prepare for higher academic achievement. M-A-R-V-E-L stands for moving across the Midline, Aerobic exercise, Rhythmic movement, Vestibular movement, Eye contact and movement, and Large/gross motor movement. I plan to use the award money to purchase equipment, especially “ball chairs”, and music that will enhance these activities and allow the children’s brains to “collaborate” at a higher level. Therefore, the children will be more successful in the classroom.


Kay Gillock
Gillock Gang's Home Child Care
Opelika, AL

Kay Gillock has been in child care for 12 years. She is in the last year of pursuing her Child Development Associates degree. She runs her home child care in Opelika where the children in her care play and learn in a God-centered environment made for them. Kay knows that play is the best way for children to learn and offers various centers that change each day based on monthly units with weekly themes and daily activities based on the High Reach curriculum.


Her project is called "Center of Activity" and includes items to help enhance the centers in her child care room. There is a child-sized sofa and chair to go in the Reading Center so the children won't have to sit on throw pillows, there is a folding easel so they can paint like "real" artists - like Kay's own mother, and there is a round sturdy table to either add to or replace the two plastic tables that currently house her changeable table top centers. These enhancements will make play with a purpose a reality that Kay has been budgeting and planning for years.



Amanda Hunter
Amanda Hunter's Family Childcare
Wildomar, CA

I was born and raised in southern California, where I have resided for the last 32 years. My husband Ryan and I have been together for the last twelve years and have been married for three.  We are hoping to have an addition to the family in the near future.  I have been taking care of people from the time I was able to work.  I started out as a nursing assistant and later became certified.  I worked at the local hospital until I decided to make a career of childcare.  I have been a licensed childcare provider for the past eight years and currently have six children in my family childcare, two boys and four girls.  I serve on the board for the Riverside County Family Childcare Association as a Membership and Support Group leader for South Riverside County.  I hold a teachers permit in Child Development and I am also in the process of becoming an accredited facility with National Association for Family Child Care(NAFCC), thanks to the to the Riverside County Childcare Consortium.  My husband and I attend Cornerstone Christian Church and our hobbies include traveling, camping, off-roading, and riding in quads and dirt bikes in Glamis, Ca.


Project-“Sand and Water Discovery Exploration”
The sand and water table would provide numerous opportunities to explore science concepts with unique activities, such as using salt, rice, wet sand, dry sand, hiding objects in the sand to help children explore with all their senses. As facilitator, I would ask questions to activate thinking skills and encourage exploration.  In water play children discover the properties of water as they learn what items sink and float, how soap added to the water can change the texture and appearance, and how water moves through a water wheel.  With the addition of the magnetic alphabet & number fishing set, measuring cups, boats and cars children absorb concepts of shapes, color, and size as they strengthen fine motor skills. The children develop eye-hand coordination and problem solving skills as they explore volume by pouring sand or water from one container or shape into another one. Children learn to socialize with one another, take turns, share, and develop language through peer interaction as they learn through play and discovery.

Olga Jones
Marin Head Start
Novato, CA

I lived the first 47 years of my life in my nature country, Bulgaria.  I wanted to be a teacher my whole life and this is exactly what I did.  I taught languages and literature in my country for more than 21 years.  After coming to the United States 10 years ago, learning English and trying a few other jobs, I resumed my teaching career.  This landed me at the Marin Head Start Preschool where I am teaching every day and having fun with my little friends. 


Project-“Go Things, Go!”
My Science project is about giving children a chance to investigate and experience the physical world of movement of objects.  They shall experiment with objects like cubes, balls, marbles, wheels, etc. to explore movements like dropping, pushing, sliding, rolling, tilting, throwing, moving things over bumps and moving through air and water.  We will build together and play with different types of ramps, levers, pulleys, gears and pendulums, variable weights, cranes, conveyor belts and more!  Children shall seek answers, solve problems, explore, test, experiment, observe, share results and strengthen language interaction in this social play.  It is going to be optimal discovery learning and help to build self-control, sharing, joy, patience, faith and self-esteem. 

Danielle Monroy
Creative Care for Children
Goleta, CA

My project is to “Make Learning Visible” with the use of photo documentation.  I will use the photos to note developmental milestones and assessing children’s progress to communicate to the parents.  I will take photos of the children’s creations, playing with blocks, dramatic play, and dancing.  We will display the photos on our display board in our portfolios.

Maribel Montes
St. Josephs Center, Early Learning Center
Venice, CA

I've been in the early childhood education field for over twenty years. At seventeen I started working in a child-care center and I knew then it was what I wanted to do. I became a Teacher's Assistant at the Elementary School where my son attended. While working I attended college specializing in early education.  I have a Teacher Permit from the State of California Commission On Teacher Credentialing and I continue to attend conferences and workshops throughout the years in order to stay current with the latest research, information and ideas on early childhood education.  I've been working at St. Joseph Early Learning Center for the past ten years, the first five as a Pre-School Teacher and the other five as Lead Toddler Teacher.  Toddlers are truly fascinating little people with the capability of understanding and participating far more then they're given credit for.


Project-“Our Classroom Aquarium”
My vision is to create a special area devoted to science. Since we live near the Pacific Ocean, I plan to obtain a classroom safe aquarium and implement nature awareness for our students. My intention is the children will become acquainted with our rich environment as well as the science it offers.

Nguyen Sanders
Natural Foundations
San Jose, CA

My Project is “Kitchen Upgrade”
I will use the grant to improve our kitchen and dress-up areas. These areas are well loved and used by the children.  It is wonderful to see the interactions and creativity that comes out as the play begins.  The children are developing language skills, they are trying out different roles, and they are practicing cooperation and conflict resolution. 



Terra Ann Sapp
TreeHouse Early Learning Center
Cortez, CO

I am a fifth generation Colorado native.  I am a Sunday school teacher at my church.  My hobbies include reading Christian romance novels, collecting Precious Moment figures and being a secretary for the local Junior Rodeo Association. 


Project-“Bring the Big Wide World into our Little World”
My materials would bring materials from the Ute, Navajo, Asian, Latino and African American cultures into our classroom.  I will use the materials to introduce the children to our world and provide them with hands-on experience.  The materials will give the children an awareness of how people live, what they eat, what they wear and how they go to school.  I would ask the parents for materials from home or to speak to the children about their cultures.   



Nazire Barolli
Apple Tree Children's Center
Groinby, CT

My name is Nazire Barolli, also known as Zira.  I am from Albania and I now live in Granby with my husband and three children.  In 1984, I graduated from the Albanian University with a degree in Plant Protection and worked in that field for 15 years.  In April of 2002, I started working here at Apple Tree where by December of 2004 I earned my head teachers certificate in Early Childhood Education from North Central Community College.  I have recently obtained my Associated Degree and am currently going back to school to obtain my Bachelors.  In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, sewing and spending as much time as I can with my family and friends. 


In the Spring of 2003, we started our Pre-K Garden which was not bigger than 10 square feet and flowers were the only thing planted.  Each year we extended our garden a little so we could plant vegetables as well as flowers.  Having the garden helps us to meet our curriculum goals in a way that is fun and exciting for the children.  Now, with this award, we will be able to expand our garden so that the whole school will be able to participate in it.  We also want to use our growing goodies for school snacks as well as donations to our community. 

Donna Taylor
Apple Tree Children's Center
Middletown, CT

I am a graduate from Central Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a major in Mathematics and Human Growth Development.  I am also a proud mother of two boys, Jack, 6 and Adam, 4 years old.  Currently I am teaching Pre-K.  I have employed at Apple Tree for 14 years.  I believe the education of our children is one of the most important, challenging and rewarding responsibilities.  In addition, I believe it is the job of the teacher to make sure that each child has numerous successful experiences everyday to give them a positive self concept and to insure a life long love of learning.


Project-“Tomorrow’s Future”
Through this project, the children will deepen their understanding of the world around them and develop skills that will serve them throughout their lives as they enrich their play experience in dramatic play.  I feel this plays an important role in learning and development.  The children can create their own life experiences or they can break through the restrictions of reality and act out a role of their own choosing.  I have nodoubt that “Tomorrow’s Future” will be a great success in my classroom. 



Carole Caffentzis
Momma's House In-Home Child Care, Inc.
New Port Richey, FL

Blessings have been granted to me over the last 9 years of my home based childcare career and I have been able to receive many credentials like my National CDA, AS in Early ChildhoodDevelopment, director credential, and my national accreditation with NAFCC. I am a Grandma of a 6 year old granddaughter, mother of a 26 yr old daughter and a 3 yr old daughter, and the wife to a wonderful I keep busy. Some of my hobbies are planter gardening and scrap booking which is what I integrate into my family involvement program within my childcare home. Iam a member of the local church where I attendevery Sundayand enjoy worship within my community. My beliefs are that we should all do what we have the passion for and my passion is for the children in my care.


We will let our light shine in MOMMA'S House In Home Child Care by viewing all sorts ofthings on our new light box! Science discovery is a key point in our project as we will integrate a modular sciencecenter, a sea life rug and many, many new questions from each child. It is my intention to integrate new science discoveries into each aspect of our classroom with books in the library, plastic sea life creatures in the block areaand even music with some science CDs.Along with the aquarium we already have our children will be able to see some of the wonders of natural sea life. This inclusive discovery program will be available for everydevelopmental stage so it will be appropriate for all the children in my care.

Sarah Kinunen
Renaissance School
Fort Myers, FL

 I have been working in the field of early childhood development for almost 7 years.  Five of those years have been happily spent here at Renaissance School. In addition to my BS degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida, I hold a certificate in Montessori Training in Early Childhood from the American Montessori Society. I am the eldest of four girls and enjoy spending time with my sisters shopping and going to the beach. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and decorating.


Project- “A Garden Project: Growing Curiosity”
A garden program will enhance the early childhood classroom environment by providing hands on learning experiences in science and nature, literacy, nutrition and exercises in everyday life skills such as problem-solving and team-building. As the children work together to prepare snack, compost scraps, and care for our garden they are observing the cycle of recycling products, self-sustainability and self-sufficiency. This project will allow us to expand our cooking lessons and foster the children’s emotional growth by instilling self-confidence and patience.  The garden curriculum will stimulate curiosity and teach our children an appreciation for nature and reverence for living things.

Tarsha Miller
Hillsborough County Head Start/Early Head Start
Tampa, FL

My project is “Discovery Garden,” which will link classroom experiences to an outdoor oasis by creating a stimulating, noncompetitive environment where children can actively explore and learn. The discovery garden will be ever evolving, consistently sprouting positive attitudes, and exposing children daily to cognitive, social-emotional, and physical growth across the curriculum.  The garden will have colors, shapes, smells and textures and will bring nature to the playground to stimulate the natural curiosity within the children. The children will design their garden spaces through drawings, dictation and documentation boards.  The children will begin with indoor green houses and later transplant their plants outdoors.



Manda Monette
The Cottage Childcare and Learning Center
Post Falls, ID

My project is “Cameras for Kids”.  I will provide the children with a camera pack that they can wear and have them take turns using the camera for the day.  At the end of the day we will print out the pictures and use them the next day during circle time.  We will discuss the photos, use them in sequencing activities, for making collages and put them in individual and classroom books.



Jennifer Buehler
Koscuisko Co. Early Head Start
Warsaw, IN

My name is Jennifer Buehler.  I graduated in 2002 from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.  I currently work for Early Head Start of Kosciusko County, and have been in the position for over five years.   I am a co-teacher in a classroom of toddlers ranging in age from fifteen months through thirty-six months.  I have seen the EHS I work for grow from an unlicensed childcare center to a licensed center with a NAEYC accreditation in these five years.  I share the classroom with a wonderful team of co-teachers, and enjoy learning from each of them.  I enjoy spending my free time with my husband of four years and our friends.  My other hobbies include shopping, reading and, when it’s warm enough, golfing.


PROJECT-“Toddler Technology-The World Through My Eyes”
The enhancement project I created adds a bit of age appropriate technology to my classroom and builds on the childrens’ developing language skills.  The children in my room show an interest in photography.  Due to this interest, I want the children to have cameras so they can capture and describe to me what they see in the world around them.  The pictures they take and descriptions they provide will be placed in a book. Each child will have their own book created with their pictures and descriptions.  The books will be stored in the room for them to look at as they wish, and a keepsake once they transition out of the classroom.



Tamara Lathrop
Apple Tree Children's Center
West Des Moines, IA

I have been in child care for ten years with the last eight years at Apple Tree Children’s Center in West Des Moines.  I enjoy my classroom because I get the chance to watch as babies develop and gain their own personalities.  My husband, Eddie and I have two sons, Eddie Jr. and Jeremy.  In my spare time I enjoy reading, sewing and crocheting. 


Project-“Enhancing Parent Communication Through Technology”
I will be purchasing a digital camera so I can help ease the anxiety for parents leaving their babies with us.  A picture of a smiling adjusted baby through e-mail will go al long way toward calming those anxieties.  Pictures via e-mail will allow for parents to experience a portion of their child’s day in a quick and confidential manner.  The camera will also be used to track development in all areas and pictures will be placed in the babies portfolios. 


Faye Soer
Apple Tree Children's Center
Urbandale, IA

I am the Lead Toddler Teacher at Apple Tree Children's Center in Urbandale, Iowa.  I have worked at Apple Tree for the past 12 years and have cherished each and every day with my toddlers.  I receive much joy spending time with this age group as they are so curious and eager to learn.  In my time away from my toddlers, I enjoy spending time with my family, including my 3 wonderful grandchildren.  My husband and I take pleasure in traveling and make many trips to his Navy reunions throughout the country.    


Project-Terrific Toddler Theme Boxes
Having Terrific Toddler Theme Boxes will make our dramatic play center an exciting and educational place for our toddlers.  The theme boxes will provide for many different learning opportunities, such as naming new objects, identifying groups and classification.  They will also help our toddlers socially as they being to work on skills such as sharing and cooperation.  We will also use the boxes to encourage parent participation within the classroom.

Susan Ward
Apple Tree Children's Center
Norwalk, IA

I started my career with Apple Tree Children’s center in April 1996 and thoroughly enjoy working with our Infant Program.  It is immensely rewarding for me to witness the development of a tiny baby growing into a little one with his/her own sense of self and personality.  I am currently enrolled in the CDA program and am looking forward to furthering my education. 


Project-“Discovering My World Through Senses”
During the first years of life children’s brains experience dramatic changes through the use of their five senses.  The world is a magical mix of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touchables.  Infants need the opportunity to participate in a world filled with multi-sensory experiences.  The brain takes in the external world through the five senses.  This award will enhance my classroom, to provide stimulation experiences to develop social, emotion, cognitive, physical and language skills. 

Elizabeth White
Apple Tree Children's Center
West Des Moines, IA

I am married and I have a one and a half year old son, Jason.  I have been working in child care for almost 10 years and have an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. I joined Apple Tree Children’s Center four years ago and during this time I have been a Lead Teacher in the Toddler classroom, Two year old classroom, and currently, the Older Preschool Classroom.  I have also taken on the responsibility of Health and Safety Coordinator for my school as well.


Project-“Wonderful World of Writing”
I strongly believe that learning to write along with letter and number recognition should be a main focus in any older preschool classroom curriculum.  My project and the supplies that I have chosen will encourage both receptive and expressive language skills and guide the children in pre-reading. My goal is to meet each child’s individual needs and to incorporate their different learning styles into our writing program.



Wanda Davis
Barksdale AFB Child Development Center
Barksdale AFB, LA

I started as a family childcare provider in 1991 when my child, Felicia, was 3 years old.  I wanted her to be around other children her age and still be in my care with the family values that I had grown up with.   I feel that the work I do in caring for others is a special calling and I am privileged to take part in it.  Because of my desire to care for my own child and raise her with my ideals I was lead to a proud career in early childhood development.  I have a CDA that is currently being renewed for the 3rd time.  My motto has always been that “Many can teach but only a special few can REACH”.


Project-“Enhancing Language Development”
I plan to enhance language development through storytelling, using hand puppets as props, finger playing and flannel boards.  I would encourage the children to use their imagination to make their own stories.  As I read books the use of props would enhance the story for them.  Finger play puppets will help them visualize and verbalize the finger plays.  Hand puppets will let them express how they feel and provide a way for them to create their own stories, increasing their vocabulary.  They will also encourage them children to socialize with other children.  Flannel boards stories will help them interact with each other and let them have independent play as they learn to create new ways to tell the same story! 



Julie Waterstradt
The Learning Tree - South
Livonia, MI

I began my full-time employment with the Learning Tree Child Care Center in 1989.  Currently, I work in our Pre-Kindergarten class at our Livonia-South location and I love every minute of it.  I am pursuing my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Development and expect to graduate in May 2008.  In my spare time I study, play softball, dabble in scrap booking and work on home- improvement projects.  I also enjoy spending time with my dog, Kota, who the children know as “The Great Spoiled One”.


Project-“Building on Literacy”
I am addressing the need to present literature in a variety of ways to reach all learning styles.  I am using the award to purchase two flannel boards, one puppet, several felt sets and more than 40 books to build the children’s love of story time as well as address some of the developmental skills appropriate for this age group.  With the use of patterns, numbers, sequencing and social behavior, I will increase their comprehension of the lessons that stem from the book.  Together we will work on retention and expand on new, different, funny ideas and alternate endings within the storybook. 


New Jersey

Julie Jungk
Merrill Lynch Family Center
Pennington, NJ

I have been working with preschool-aged children for over 10 years.  I am the Toddler Lead Teacher for the Toddler Component at my center.  Before joining MLFC, I was a pre-school gymnastics teacher.  I believe you can only be truly great at something that you love-that’s how I feel about teaching.  It’s the perfect fit for me.  The children mirror my creativity, enthusiasm and sense of humor.  In my personal life, I love movies, surfing in Ocean City and I am a huge Dallas Cowboys fan.


Project-“Building Self-confidence Through Movement Education”
The movement education I hope to develop, using gymnastics as a model base, is the foundation for an “I Can” attitude in children, building self-confidence and self-esteem through attainable physical goals.  I believe a strong foundation in Movement Education encourages a healthy lifestyle for children in the years to come-it is designed to bring out the best in children.  It provides an energy outlet, and encouraging atmosphere, a positive approach to problem-solving and a structure for success.  My passion for this program runs deep; the need to give my children the best of everything-which includes a quality movement education program-runs deeper. 


New York

Jennifer Conover
Children's Corner at Rome, Inc.
Rome, NY

I am the head teacher in Preschool 2.  I have been in the child care field for over nine years.  I currently have my Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate Credential and my Preschool Child Development Associate Credential.  I will soon have my Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education.  I enjoy working with children and encouraging them to use their own potential.  I have a 13 year old daughter and a 10 year old son. 


Project-“Cozy Area”
This will be an area for the children to relax, read and socialize.  There will be a rug, soft couch, chair and ottoman to sit on.  There will be a bookshelf that the children can easily access books, tapes and CD’s of their choice.  This area would have a nice home-like appearance with pictures of their families.  This area would allow children to unwind from other active areas. 

Susan Drake
SUNY Cortland Child Care Center
Cortland, NY

I live in Marathon, New York and have been happily married since 1996 to my husband, Richard.  We live on our dairy farm with our three wonderful children, Kaycie Lee, Bookin and Braden ages 8, 6 and 2.  Needless to say they keep me very busy.  I have been working at this Center since 1994.  First, as an Assistant Teacher in the Preschool-4 Room, then Head Teacher in the Toddler Room in the Preschool-3 Room.  I enjoy participating in staff development opportunities which help me grow in my personal knowledge of early childhood.  I went to school to obtain my CDA in 2999 and renewed the credential in 2004.  In my personal time, I devote my time and energy to family activities.  Children are my life both at work and at home.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!


Project-“Exposure to Diversity Through Dramatic Play”
Our Center is part of a college campus at SUNY Cortland.  I enjoy my classroom everyday as I provide programming along with an assistant teacher for 14 three year olds.  We service a population that is rapidly growing to include many families from culturally diverse backgrounds as well as an increasing special needs population.  I plan to enhance our center with more multicultural props for our dramatic play area.  I will not have the opportunity to implement props which promote the diversity and cultural aspects of our community.   

Valerie Halla
Westminster Early Childhood Programs
Buffalo, NY
I have been teaching in early childhood for twenty years, with the last fifteen at Westminster Early Childhood Programs. I received both my Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from SUNY at New Paltz in Elementary Education with a concentration in Early Childhood. I am married with one child who is preparing to graduate high school this year. In my down time, I enjoy reading, crocheting, and watching movies.

Project -Nutrition & Excercise
With all the talk of childhood obesity in the news, I felt it is important to get our children up and moving. I feel it is also important to teach them about making healthy choices when they are eating. I chose different types of bikes for the gym - stationary bikes, krazy kars, and plasma cars - to get them moving in different ways. I also chose classroom activities that will help teach good nutrition. My hope is that this generation of children will have the basic knowledge of making healthy choices
M. Claire LaBonte
Campus PreSchool and Early Childhood Center
Binghamton, NY

My interests have always been in early childhood education and the outdoors.  I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania and work in Binghamton, New York.  I am currently the lead teacher in our four year old Pre-K program where I bring my love of nature to the classroom.


Project-The Panda Paw Printer
The Panda Paw Printers is a writing center which will enhance the large multicultural population at Campus Pre-School.  I have a desire to promote children’s small motor skills and imagination through creative writing.  I am looking forward to the addition of multi-seat desks and implementing innovative writing tools in my classroom.

Jessica Pritchard
Pee Wee Folks Preschool
Whitestone, NY

The first job that I ever had wasin a daycare center and I have never wanted another. I traveled a lot throughout my life and have worked in centers in many states. This has allowed me to learn different ways of doing things and to incorporatenewideasinto how I teach. I have been in the 3 year old class at Pee Wee Folks for six years now.While working I earned aCDA and an Associate'sDegreein Early Childhood Education. I couldn't have done it without the support ofmyboss, the staff at the center, my husband, Tony, and my three wonderfulchildren, Jaiden, 4, Kordell, 11 and Kyanna, 13.


Project-“Imagination Station”
My project is the Imagination Station. The ages and abilities of the children in my class vary greatly andtheytend to play in their own small groups. Older children in one spot, younger children in another, boys over here and girls over there. I think that having an attractive kitchen with accessories (including a birthday cake!)and a dress up area with new costumes and a rack for storage will give them a place where theycanall play together. I can't wait to see thecreative ways they use all of the new stuff!

Carol Slattery
Patty Cake Playhouse II
Newburgh, NY

I am married and a proud mother of four children.  I have worked with children over 20 years and have loved every minute of it!  Honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else.  The joy I receive watching these children grow both physically and emotionally is amazing!  I truly love my job!


My project is to enhance my pretend play area.  The children in my class are toddlers and are learning to share and socialize.  More materials in our pretend play area would allow more children to participate as we practice important like skills through play.  I would like to add dress-up clothes, dishes, a small refrigerator, shopping carts and a doll crib.  I feel the most important skills I can teach the toddlers in my class all center around independence and appropriate social interaction. 

Colleen Walling
Campus & Community Children's Center
Fredonia, NY

I am an assistant teacher in the toddler classroom at the NAEYC Accredited Campus and Community Children’s Center, located on the campus of SUNY College at Fredonia.  I have worked at the center for 7 years, and am very passionate about the field of early childhood education and working in the childcare field.  I attend numerous early childhood conferences and events each year and am an active member of CCAEYC (Chautauqua County Association for the Education of Young Children).  I received my Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education from SUNY Fredonia, and am currently pursuing my Master's degree in Human Development with specializations in Early Childhood Education and Infant Toddler Care and Education at Pacific Oaks College. 


Project-“Toddler Transition Books
My project is designed to help children and families transition into the Twinkle Star (toddler) classroom and involves two books being created.  The first book, Welcome To The Twinkle Star Room (Child’s Name)!, is a  personalized board book that will be given to each child when they come for their initial visit to our classroom.  The book features photographs and descriptions of things the children will be able to do when they join our classroom.  For example, “This is a cot where you can take a nap”. It will also have photographs of the teachers.  The second book, created the first week of school, called Twinkle Star, Twinkle Star, Who Do You See? features photographs of each child and the teachers.  A laminated color copy of the book will be sent home with each family. 


North Carolina

Marilyn Elliot
Solid Start Child Care Center
Cameron, NC

I am the wife of Scott and mother to Alexis, Courtney, Mallory and Jonah.  I have lived in Oregon, Washington, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Germany and North Carolina.  I have a special love for all children.  I have taught for Solid Start Child Care Centers for 5 years.  I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Science in Birth to Kindergarten Teacher Education.


Project-The Solid Start Stage
My project is the construction of a solid wood, outdoor dramatic play area that will house the Solid Start Stage and play props.  Young children enjoy pretend play and the opportunity to try out voices and personas to explore imagination and creativity. The stage is currently planned to be 8 feet by 12 feet across the back of the playground fenced in area.  The stage is elevated 12 inches with 6 inch steps at each end.  A front façade rising six feet high will have the curtain attached and tied back at each end.  The curtain is maid of water proof shower curtain material.  Since family involvement is an important part of my program, I look forward to inviting parents and family members to see the shows the children put on and hear the stories they have to tell. 

Laurie Wilburn
Solid Start Child Care Center
Sanford, NC

I have been married for 27 years, we have 2 grown children and 3 grandsons that we love to spend time with. I have been an early childhood professional for 12 years, having obtained an associate degree I am currently enrolled in a BK program. My husband is retired military, as is my father, so I truly cherish the time we are able to spend with our extended family.  We happily settled in the country 11 years ago and love it.  Along with plants, animals and children I enjoy scrap booking when the creativity strikes me.   


Project-Nature habitat
The project I have planned is a nature habitat where the children and I will grow plants that are native to our area and will attract wildlife.  We will also install a barrel to collect water from the roof, a birdbath, an amphibian house, birdhouses, a cold frame, recycling bins, a child size potting bench and another compost pile.  I know the children I teach now will gain so much from this as well as classes in the future.  We know children take care of the things they love.  If they take a love of nature with them when they leave our classroom we have all won!



Heidi Andrews
Chapman Child Learning Center
Tulsa, OK

I have been working in childcare for 14 years. I have been married for 8 years to my best friend David. I enjoy reading, singing, cooking, and spending time with friends, in my spare time. I love being an aunt to my six nephews and 2 nieces.


Project-“From Seed to Seed”
My project will allow me to create an outdoor classroom. The children will have to opportunity to grow a vegetable garden. This will allow them to see first hand how we get some of the foods that they eat. It will also allow for them to learn how to eat healthful foods. They will have the opportunity to plant, water, and care for the garden on a daily basis. The parents will also have the opportunity to help with the garden as well. The camera will allow for pictures to record the process of our project.



Nancy Connellis
Mountain View School for Early Care and Education
Matamoras, PA
I have been in the childcare field since high school. When I got married and started having children of my own, I knew I wanted to stay in the field so I could be close to my children. I obtained my associate degree in Early Childhood Education while working and caring for my family. I was able to all this on-line so I could dedicate my days to working with children. I have been at the Mountain View School for 3 years now. I have learned so much from my director, and want to continue dedicating my life to the childcare field. I am the Lead Toddler Teacher and hold the position of Training Coordinator. I am the Project Coordinator for our annual St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Trike A Thon. I just received a certificate for my dedication and leadership from them, and for raising money to help their children. I look forward to opening my own childcare some day.

Project-"Literacy Library"
My project will be able to enhance our library area in the toddler room by adding age appropriate books, books on tape, and to develop a comfy corner for them to go when they want to read or be read to. The New Literacy Center will increase their love for books, help develop language, get them excited about reading or being read to, show them how to care for books by keeping them organized, build relationships with their peers and staff by sharing a book, and forming new words.With the use of a digital camera I will make individual books for each child, with pictures of new words they form and new friendships they make. They will be able to take this with them as they transition into the pre-k classroom. I believe Early Literacy is so important to every child and it is our responsibility to encourage their excitement and further their learning.

Christine Dise
Pottstown Family YMCA Child Development Center
Pottstown, PA

I have worked in the Early Childhood field for 17 years.  I have experience with typical and special needs children and have been a preschool educator for 15 years.  I am married and have two daughters.  I am involved with Pottstown’s PEAK program and the Berks County Autism Society.  I keep busy being a “cheer Mom”, reading, exercising and spending time with my family and friends. 


Project-“Enhancing Literacy in Pre-K”
My project will help me create an even more literacy based environment in my classroom by allowing me to purchase new activities that reflect the children’s interests.  These activities include a Mystery Box, letter builders, a Question of the Day activity chart, storytelling gloves, various books and letter puzzles, letter sounds activities and a Chicka Chicka Boom Boom activity tree.  This award will help me encourage the children to build upon their conversation and rhyming skills, letter recognition and letter sounds.  I will be able to raise their awareness of language in everyday situations and they will apply this to their understanding of the world and literacy both now and in the future. 

Sherri Drouillard
Hildebrandt Learning Center at Park City
Lancaster, PA

I began my career as a caregiver by taking care of two little boys.  They were two and five years old.  Two years later I decided to move on to a childcare program.  There I enjoyed being part of a team of devoted caregivers.  At that time I cared for children ages nine months - two years.  I learned a lot while teaching there.  I have also taken care of two toddlers in their home.  I finally moved on to the program where I currently teach.  I have been a teacher in the infant room for five years.  I enjoy it immensely.  In my spare time I enjoy reading as well as watching theater productions.  I like shopping for antiques (especially books).  Hiking and picnicking with my husband and two dogs is one of my favorite pastimes. 


Project-The Natural Elements of Communication
My project is designed to help infants express themselves through a variety of methods.  It includes using sign language and songs in our daily routines with the children.  I also plan to include natural elements using different textures through wicker baskets, textiles and plants, etc.  I would like to create an environment where children can use all of their senses in a secure and home like environment. 

Stephanie Evans
Tender Care Learning Center
Pittsburgh, PA

I live in Moon Township.  I have a B.A. in Elementary Education and have been working in Early Childhood for about 7 years.  Currently, I am working with Pre-K children at a NAEYC accredited school and we are proud to say that we have been recently recredited.  I absolutely love spending time with my Pre-K friends and helping them to learn and grow.  I am married and have a four year old son of my own.  I enjoy spending time with my family.  We love all sorts of activities such as working out at the gym, swimming, playing games and just having quality time together at home. 


Project-“Education=The Minds of Young Children or E=MC2”
My project is a collaboration of both math and science and will be used to enhance my classroom environment.  My children will have access to microscopes, magnets, measuring tools, teaching cash registers, manipulatives, puzzles and much more!  The children in my program will be learning through hands on exploration and through play.  Children will have access to new materials that will be beneficial to their learning experience.  This project will help my children know that mat and science is anything but boing!   

Ilene Gallagher
Creative Beginnings Fox Chase Cancer Center
Huntingdon Valley, PA

Children have always been a part of my life; as a babysitter, mother’s helper, mother, and a teacher.  I graduated from Wilkes College with a degree in Elementary Education and will complete a Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education from Arcadia University within the year.  I taught Hebrew school for several years, substituted in area elementary schools, and joined the staff of Creative Beginnings in the Fall of 2000.  Outside of Creative Beginnings, I take pleasure in doing crafts and sewing, gardening, bird watching, and collecting children’s picture books.  I am the mother of two wonderful daughters, Jessie and Lauren, a junior and a freshman in college.  I enjoy taking a variety of workshops and classes as I believe that a teacher should never stop learning.  The most rewarding part of being a parent and a teacher in early childhood is seeing the wonders of the world through the eyes of a child – something I get to do every day.


By working in a garden, children can experience the satisfaction of developing, planting, and caring for something over an extended period of time.  Through gardening, children have the opportunity to explore nature and to develop an interest and concern for our environment. Our childcare center is at the end of a strip mall, which means that our playground had to be built on existing asphalt.  While our surfacing is an artificial grass-like material, we do not have the natural resources, such as flowers, trees, and soil to plant in.  My project is to bring the natural materials into our yard and create a garden that the children can be involved in planning, planting and growing. The garden would be two-fold; an area for vegetables and an area for a butterfly garden.  Children can observe the interactions and importance that insects have on the growth of plants.  In planting and harvesting a garden, the children can gain a sense of responsibility and the opportunity to develop an appreciation and taste for the produce they grow.

Kevin Kennedy
York Jewish Community Center Child Care Program
York, PA

 I work in the child care department at the York Jewish Community Center in York, Pennsylvania.  I have worked at the JCC in both major and minor capacities since 2000, while working with children ranging in age from one to eleven years.  I have concurrently worked as a counselor and staff liaison at Kingswood Camp for Boys in Piermont, New Hampshire and as an athletic director at York Catholic High School.  I am a 2005 graduate of Penn State University, where I met my beautiful wife Kristen.


My child care classroom will greatly benefit from the proposal I have made to the Lokoff Foundation.  My grant proposal focused mainly on the need to audibly record classroom information via digital voice recorders.  These recorders would serve many purposes, particularly for children with speech delays.  The audio clips could then be placed onto a computer, where they could be separated, categorized, and labeled to help the teachers, therapists, and/or pathologists to further understand with the specific needs of the child.

Brandi Kerstetter
The Children's Center of Camp Hill
Camp Hill, PA

I have worked in the child care field since high school.  I started as an aide, went to college and worked my way up to Teacher.  I enjoy hiking, bicycling, and just about anything you can do outdoors.   I am recently married and I am looking forward to having children of my own soon. 


Project –“Artful Expressions”
My project is to expand upon our Art Area.  A larger variety of materials will allow the children to be more creative and expressive.  At the same time they will be building upon all other developmental skills.  I will also invite the parents to come to a workshop where I can express to them how truly precious their child’s artwork is.

Emily Lopez
The Children's Center at Dock Woods/SMCCC
Lansdale, PA

As far back as I could remember I always had an interest in working in the Early Childhood Education field.  Watching how children develop and grow has been a part of my life growing up in a large family with many children.  While attending High School I had been a nanny for four years and upon graduation moved on to work in an Early Childhood setting.  It has been my professional goal to further my education and I am excited to receive my associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Montgomery County Community College this spring.    


Project-The Four Seasons Greenhouse
The Four Season Greenhouse will be a portable learning environment for children to plant seeds and watch them grow all year long.  This age appropriate sensory experience will help the children learn many valuable lessons.  One goal being to connect school experiences to home by the children planting their individual seedlings and taking them home to share with their families.  This project will include the involvement of residents at Dock Woods Community by inviting them to plant the along side the children facilitating our goal Intergenerational Program.  The children will take pride in sharing this experience with families, classmates, and residents. 

Nicole Morton
YMCA Preschool
Royersford, PA

I am 31 years old, married with three children!  I have been a preschool teacher for just over ten years and love every minute of it.  I am currently enrolled in the TEACH program and plan to get my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education.  I like to tell my parents’ that in my classroom we like to get down and dirty whether by cooking, doing science experiments or creative art activities.  I believe hands on learning are a must and this includes learning empathy and social skills as well as responsibility.


My proposal is for Pets in the Classroom.  I think that when children are exposed to pets and given the responsibility of caring for another living being they learn those very important social and emotional lessons.  I want to add on to our pet family by creating a Gerbil station next to our indoor Pond station.  The children will learn by taking care of our new friends and observing their habitats. 

Mary Pawlus
West Philadelphia Community Center
Philadelphia, PA

I am a first generation Polish American woman who was born and raised in Chicago.  My parents put a big emphasis on education when I was growing up and even though I am the product of Chicago Public schools, I graduated from the University Of Illinois-Champaign- Urbana with a degree in sociology.  I have worked in early childhood for over 6 yrs with a variety of different age groups.  Working with children keeps me young and helps me understand the world better through their eyes. I am the proud mother of a wonderful 4 yr old son, Seydou. 


Project-“Habitats for Toddlers”
I chose to improve my science area because this is one area of the room that does not get as much attention as the rest of the classroom.  I chose to get a turtle for my classroom because I feel that it can give an opportunity for children to learn many new things.  I feel that I can expand on the concept by teaching them about the turtle’s environment and what it needs to survive, this can be expanded to other animals and people as well.  They can learn responsibility and caring by helping to take care of the turtle.  It also gives them something concrete that they can actually see and observe to make the connection needed to understand the concept of caring for others.

Kali Strand
Parent Infant Center
Philadelphia, PA
I am from Philadelphia, PA. I have a BA in Philosophy and nearly 15 years of experience working with young children. I have lived and worked in Ohio, Seattle, Massachusetts and Japan and I love that I'm working with toddlers.

Project-“Cultural Physical Diversity
I will use books, puzzles, dolls and music to help toddlers learn about and understand the cultural and/ or ethnic differences and similarities of people, especially helping them understand and identify with children who have physicalor learning differences.

Carl Swansen
Children's Village
Philadelphia, PA
I am an assistant teacher in one of the preschool classrooms at Children's Village in Philadelphia where I have worked for the past nine years.  I am currently enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia, where I am pursuing my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.
With the money I receive from the Terri Lynne Lokoff /Children's Tylenol Award, I will purchase a computer for the classroom in which I work.  This computer will give the children an opportunity to use this valuable tool.  I believe it is essential for the children to attain computer literacy to be able to succeed.  The computer for our classroom will give them the skills they will use for the rest of their lives.  I thank the Terri Lynne Lokoff Foundation and Children's Tylenol for making this possible.

Katherine Vernon
YMCA Child Care Center
York, PA

I have a degree in Early Childhood Education and I have worked with children at the YMCA for 13 years.  I am currently the Group Supervisor in the three year old room and the center’s Family Services Coordinator.  My husband and I are blessed with two sons whom we adopted through Children’s Services of Pennsylvania.  I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, helping others, and I want to jump from an airplane (with a parachute) and ride a mechanical bull before I die.


Project-Literacy Enriched Classroom
Children with a strong literacy foundation are more confident in social settings and emotionally prepared to handle various situations.  I will expose the children to interactive literacy-rich activities in order to develop this foundation.  My goal is to help the children establish a strong base of literacy skills and to further their understanding of the purpose of print.  Most importantly I want to teach the children to enjoy learning.

Ariel Vicchairelli
The Caring Center
Philadelphia, PA

I have been working at the Caring Center since June 2003.  I am currently the Head Teacher of the young toddler classroom.  The toddlers in the classroom range in age from 12 – 24 months.  I graduated from Community College of Philadelphia in 2000 with an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  In addition to working full time, I am a part time student at Temple University studying Communication Sciences and Disorders. 


Project-“Encouraging Language Skills Through Sign Language”
I plan to introduce sign language to my group of one-year olds.  The purpose is to give the children an outlet to express their wants, needs and ideas without becoming overly frustrated.  I will first use signs of objects, people and simple concepts that are relevant to their everyday lives.  I also intend to use a video camera to make a sign language DVD which parents can use with their children at home. 

Crystal Williams
Green Byrne Child Care Center
Philadelphia, PA

I am a positive thinker, a go-getter, a creative expressionist, mother of two, active in my church and neighborhood activities, an entrepreneur, a Summer program designer and administrator!  I am a graduate of Harcum Junior College and a Professional Facilitator in Early Childhood Education and am currently preparing to continue my education through TEACH to receive a Bachelor’s Degree.  I have attended many literacy and development workshops, a graduate of DVAEYC Leadership Empowerment Action Plan, a member of NAEYC and Quest.  Presently, I am a Group Supervisor at my Center, a Keystone Four Star site.  I am a member of the Five Year Planning Committee at the center.  My philosophy is “When Nurturing a Child, You are also Nourished!”


Project-“Sensory Wall Plus”
The Sensory Wall is a free standing interactive wall containing three areas for sensory boxes.  Each box has elements that are changeable, giving flexibility to customize each child’s learning experience.  The walls allow purposeful play, stimulation of the senses as the children become aware of how to change and control surroundings, the building of self-esteem and the continuation of the building of their vocabulary.  It will give additional well-defined learning space that is comfortable and appealing for single and parallel play.  The walls of the unit are short enough to observe children without interfering and private enough to have one-on-one time with each child. 



Cathy Darbey
KinderCare Learning Center
Carrollton, TX

I am a single mother of one child.  I have worked in early childhood programs for 27 years.  I am currently working with pre-kindergartners where I provide the children with a solid foundation with excellent learning experiences.  My education includes child development classes at San Antonio College and Cardeen University where I received my CDA.  I also have my Director’s license, CPR/FA, SIDS and shaken baby certifications. 


To provide adequate opportunities for the children to fully explore and enjoy science in the classroom, the science area will have tools and equipment that allows hands on learning experience for the children.  Science activities and experiments allow children to problem solve, use critical thinking skills, perform experiments, classify and make predictions.  Give the children the base of science knowledge will prepare them to enjoy science and want to further experience throughout school.  I personally have always loved science and I love the opportunity that it provides to expand a child’s current level of thinking. 



Lacey Wilson
Kids on the Move
Orem, UT

My professional career started 15 years ago when I graduated from Snow College with my associate degree in Early Childhood Education. I was excited about my future and its new endeavourers. My first job was with Mountain Land Head Start. This is where my love for children flourished and I realized I wanted this type of work to be my life long career. I was a home care provider for six years and then was offered a job at Kids on the Move Early Education Center.


My Project is “Me Too”
The actual toys I would like to purchase are dolls with walkers, wheelchairs, leg braces, those who need hearing aids, glasses, or those who may be blind. By interacting with these dolls, the children will be aware of how to interact with the children who come into the classroom with these special needs. Children will learn and appreciate the individual differences of their peers. The dolls will be available to all the children in our center and out in the open so that others may use them also. My hope is that the children will feel valued and feel that they belong regardless of their abilities.



Adria Bader
Rainbow Station, Inc.
Richmond, VA

My project is “Teach with Texture”. I believe that textures help children to learn. I will introduce a few textural toys at a time into the classroom for the children to explore and manipulate either on their own or in small groups.  After the children have had the chance with each of the new toys, I will suggest additional uses for the toys. One example is the texture path where children begin to learn colors by associating the color with a texture.  Touch adds to the other senses, providing a physical reminder of what is being learned.


West Virginia

Amber Myers
Catamount Children's Center
Keyser, WV

I have been in the early childhood education field for over eight years.  I have taught all ages and have been with the Pre-K children for five years.  I am currently working on my MA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from WVU.  My undergraduate degree is in Child Development.  I also have a Three Star Directors Credential.  I would also like to obtain a MA in Early Childhood Interventions and an endorsement in Autism and Sign Language.


Project-“Literacy Quilts”
My main goal is to create a learning environment for all children to grow and express themselves.  My classroom raises money for Cystic Fibrosis with a  Mini March and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation.  My personal interests are in Autism Spectrum Disorders and using sign language to enhance learning in the classroom. 



Andrea Tallacksen
Woods Hollow Children's Center
Fitchburg, WI

My Project is the “Outdoor Sound Garden”. Music is an integral part of our day. Simple songs help us clean up the room, transition from one activity to another, and connect as a group. With my project, I will add instruments to our playground that will build on our musical activities inside. I will install two large chime sets with four mallets.  I will hang copper bells from our trees that will ring when the wind blows or can be rung by the children.  I will also install a large wooden drum with mallets on our playground.


2007 Awards Recipients


2007 Awards Recipients

2007 Teacher Awards Recipients

National Child Care Teacher Awards™

2007 Recipient Bios and Project Descriptions

Tonya Davidson
Chapman Child Learning Center at St. John's Health Systems Tulsa, Oklahoma
I am married with 2 children, a son age 3, and a daughter age 1. I have a stepdaughter age 12. I enjoy spending time with my family. My other interests include outside activities such as camping, fishing, and boating. I grew up in the country and love country life.
“Cooking and Technology”
My project will allow me to create a cooking center in my classroom that will allow children to create and cook healthy snacks and meals. Families will be invited to share in our learning experiences. A digital camera and color printer/scanner will provide picture documentation for parents and visitor to see the learning that takes place daily while providing opportunity for children to revisit past experiences.


Rochelle Richardson
Greenfields West Child Development Mobile, Alabama
I am a native of Mobile, Alabama. I am married to Thomas K. Richardson III, also a Mobile native. I have 2 daughters, Michelle, who works in electronics; and Barbette, who will earn her teaching degree this spring. I have a grandson, Lenjamin Cory, age 7. I have more than 20 years experience working in licensed child care, primarily with preschool age children. I am the assistant director at Green Fields West Child Development Center in Mobile and teache 4-K at the Center. I have earned many hours of professional early child care and education training and am working to receive my Child Development Credential later this year. Outside of my work with children, I am a member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church where I sings in the choir and teache children’s religious education. I am also an accomplished seamstress and enjoys making “special occasion” children’s clothing.
“Nature's Circle of Life”
My project was inspired my classroom children's facination with the fall color of the trees, a first for many of them! Hurricane Ivan (September, 2004) followed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, had destroyed many trees in the area and stripped the leaves of those left standing, making this fall the first time children had seen leaves turn with the beauty of fall colors. My project will enhance the science and nature sturdy area in my classroom, extending it to include a small patio outside. In addition to nature study, the project is intended to support children’s emotional growth, inspiring them to understand that even when really bad things happen, life can renew itself and can be strong and beautiful. Just like the trees recovering from the hurricanes.


Reina Medrano
Small World Preschool Fresno, California
I live in Fresno, Ca. I come from a small family of two. I was born and raised in Honduras, Central America and I came to the States when I was 14 years old. In 1995, I graduated from Sanger High School. Since then, I always had a passion for teaching. I decided to continue my studies. I’m still working towards my major. I have been teaching for six years and I want to tell you that I still have the same passion since I started. I enjoy every single day teaching at small world.
“Growing Up in Cultural Diversity”
The title of my project is Small World Preschool’s “Growing Up in Cultural Diversity” based on the importance of acknowledging a multicultural environment. My purpose was to enhance our program by adding more materials and tools so that it would help us to learn more about our different cultures, traditions, and customs. Also it will also help us learn and understand our roots and value ourselves.

Tamara Thompson
Orfalea Family Children's Center Santa Barbara, California
I have been working in the field of early childhood for the past twenty years. I am a mother to two beautiful daughters a fifteen year old and a nineteen year old. I am currently employed at a NAEYC accredited school, the Orfalea Family Children’s Center at UCSB. I have been a lead teacher there for eight years in a classroom of three to five year olds. I am also a California Early Childhood mentor teacher and have completed an internship through CAEYC’s Nonviolence in the Lives of Children Project.
“Peace Garden”
My vision is to create a Peace Garden directly outside the back door of our classroom. This space would provide an extension of our indoor environment and allow children a respite for rejuvenation amid the daily bustle of the classroom. The Peace Garden will not only provide a space of beauty that everyone at our center will benefit from, but it will also be a place of learning where children can observe nature in a quiet setting and develop and an appreciation and care for their environment.


Marisol Rodriguez
Apple Tree Children's Center Hamden, Connecticut
I have been the Pre-Kindergarten teacher for five years at Apple Tree Children’s Center. I recently received my CDAE and I will be working towards my Associates degree. I enjoy my work with children because they truly make my day shine. To observe their perseverance as they face the challenges they go through to achieve their goals. We all have a future in this field only if we are willing to learn more, whether through classes, other teachers, or learning from the children.

“Caring for all of Me”
I have put together a proposal called “Caring for all of Me”. In my classroom we work on getting prepared for Kindergarten with traditional academic readiness as well as self awareness. The materials I have chosen will help teach children how to keep healthy. This includes learning about why we need to restore sleep and the importance of exercising and eating healthy. Some materials will also be about inside our human body a more concrete and enriching experience. We model good hygiene and adding materials will reinforce what the children see and will increase their awareness.


Tammy Shrader
DBCC Child Development Lab School Daytona Beach, Florida
I have been married for 11 years. My career began in Early Child Dev. in 1990. I received my CDA in 1994. My application was accepted at Child Care Resource Network and I was fortunate to be placed at DBCC Lab School. With the continued support of my co-workers and my supervisor our children and families are given quality child care. It is my pleasure to empower every child to succeed to his or her fullest potential. I feel honored to receive the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation National Child Care Teacher Award(tm) sponsored by the makers of Children’s TYLENOL(R).
“Seeing Children and Nature Bloom”
Seeing Children and Nature Bloom gives the children the opportunity to explore and understand the cycle of life. The children will plant seeds and participate in the management of the butterfly lab and the garden. I will take pictures of them as we record the growth of plants and butterflies. I will use these pictures in a scrap book to document the progress of each child as they grow and bloom with nature.


Shirley Bloom
Busy Kids Home Day Care Matoon, Illinois
I own and operate Busy Kids Home Day Care. I have a wonderful husband John, our terrific son Josh is 21. I have been doing this for 14 years, before having a home day care I worked in a center. In college I studied early childhood and business. The small group setting has given me the opportunity to build long term bonds with children and their families; I get to see the children learn while they build stepping stones into their future.
“We are the Same, We are Different”
I will be helping to educate our youth in cultural diversity and special needs at a young age through everyday activities they love to do. I will add multi-ethnic dolls with inclusion equipment in the dramatic play area. I will use multi-ethnic ceremonial costumes for use during music time. I will also add eight anti-bias books to our book collection.


Darci Cronin
Apple Tree Children's Center Clive, Iowa
Since I began my career with Apple Tree Children’s Center, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our group of infants and toddlers. Although I did not believe that this is the direction that my career would go ( I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Communications), I must say that I am completely fulfilled and proud of the fact that I am influencing these little people's lives on a daily basis. I enjoy nurturing the group of infants that I care for and exploring their world with them. In my spare time I enjoy the company of a good book and learning new things. I am also very close to my family and spend as much time with them as I can. After working with the children during the week, I love to travel to see my friends and family for the weekend.
“Encouraging and Documenting Developmental Growth Through Pictures”
Technology was the basis of my project. With the use of a digital camera, I plan to more accurately capture and document the developmental growth of the infants in my room. In addition to using the camera for documenting developmental progress, the camera will allow us to keep updated pictures of the class on the walls for the infants to view. Finally, each infant will have a family photo album that we will fill with pictures of their own family members so they can begin to connect names to the important people in their lives.

Janet Everts
Tri-County Family and Child Development Council, Inc Waterloo, Iowa
I have been in the early care and education field for 28 years. I was a family child care provider for 18 years. Then I became a center director at a private school for seven years. I am now in my fourth year as an assistant teacher in an early head start classroom. I’ve been married to my husband Jeff for 30 years. We have three children and two grandchildren.
“Color My World”
My project is called “Color My World”. I plan to immerse the classroom environment with many colorful activities. The goal is for the children to learn their colors while having fun with music, games, books, math, and art materials. The activities will increase the children’s language, fine and gross motor, social, emotional, cognitive, and auditory development.

Brandy Melton
Apple Tree Children's Center Norwalk, Iowa
I grew up in Lamoni, a small town in Southern Iowa. After high school I continued my education at Graceland University the local college. There I received my BA Degree in Elementary Education. From college I moved to Norwalk where I found a job working at Apple Tree Children’s Center in their four and five year old preschool program.
“Exploration Station”
Our project focuses on two areas of scientific discovery, the human body and the world of water. Students will learn about the human body and its different functions through photographic books and a hands on model of the inner body. The World of Water covers areas from ocean life to the study of why objects sink or float.

Joanne Ticknor
Apple Tree Children's Center Urbandale, Iowa
I have dedicated the last 20 years of my life to education, both my own and to the children in my care. I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Iowa State University. I taught children ranging in ages from infant to high school. I have spent the last 11 years teaching at Apple Tree Children’s Center where I am currently the Lead Transition Teacher working with our two year olds. What I love most is watching my group grow from toddlers as they start with me to being successful preschoolers as they leave for the next classroom.
“Mobile Learning Center”
My project is a Mobile Learning Center for use with the outdoor playground and indoor gross motor area. My intention is to be able to extend my classroom’s centers by using a rolling cart and activity tubs, so our activities can go anywhere we go. The tubs will include items the children can do individually and in small or large groups. I will also use a CD/tape player so our classroom can take music and dance wherever we go. My goal is to be able to meet individual children’s interests and help them develop a sense of independence.


Selena Perry
Barksdale AFB Child Development Center Barksdale AFB, Louisiana
I am married and have four children and two grandchildren. I have been an early childhood development teacher for over 28 years. I am currently teaching 6 to 12 month old infants, and provide a safe and nurturing environment for them. The most rewarding part of my job is making a difference in the lives of families. I am a board member of the Louisiana Early Childhood Association. I have an Associate of General Studies Degree with a concentration in Humanities and my CDA Credential. I plan to pursuit my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education in the fall.
“Early Literacy is Fun”
My project "Early Literacy is Fun" fosters infant's verbal and nonverbal skills of communication by providing language development through sensory experiences that stimulate the brain and later increase the infant's spoken language and vocabulary. Infants learn through their senses and the textured feely books with their bright colored pictures and tactile surfaces will promote sensory awareness. I will use the baby sign language books to reinforce the sign language development the infants are already learning. These books not only provide a wonderful avenue for the infant's language but also their physical, cognitive, social, and affective development.


Bridgette Grab Lawrence
Little Scooters Childcare California, Maryland
I have worked in the field of early childhood education for the past 22 year, first as an elementary/primary grade teacher and currently as a childcare provider. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., I relocated to Southern Maryland to pursue a teaching career after earning a BS degree in Elementary Education from Duquesne University in 1988. During my years as teacher and childcare provider, I worked to complete my master's degree and become NAFCC accredited (both in 2003). My husband Scott and I have 5 children and 3 grandchildren and we enjoy spending time with family and friends. I LOVE my job and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with wonderful children and parents on a daily basis.
“Friendship Garden”
Our childcare program has developed a close relationship with the residents of our local nursing home in Southern Maryland. We visit several times a year to deliver small craft projects and gifts and to sing songs or share poems and fingerplays. We designed a “Friendship Garden” plan to use our interest and knowledge in planting and gardening to further connect with our elderly friends. We will plant a garden at the nursing home where children and residents can visit together, read a book and enjoy the outdoor beauty of a colorful flower garden.


Kim Orseske
The Kidzcare Center Delton, Michigan
I enjoy working with children because no two days are the same. I like being outdoors camping, fishing, and just enjoying sunshine! My job as a childcare teacher allows me to incorporate all my likes and share my experiences with others. In my personal life, I like spending time with my dog, Tasha, and my two cats, Andy and Jillie.
“Teaching Outdoors”
I'm looking forward to beginning and implementing my outdoor project! It will be great planting with the children and watching the birds come to visit our feeders and houses. My outdoor "classroom" will help me extend science lessons and provide a nice area for outdoor reading and outdoor art projects. I am very excited about receiving the award and making my project a reality.

Joanne duBois Sweedyk
Joanne's Tot Stop Grand Rapids, Michigan
I have been providing quality in-home child care for 19 ½ years. I have been married 27 years and have three adult sons. Since 1988, I have been involved in the local Family Child Care Association, serving as Newsletter Editor, Secretary, and President. In 2000, I received the Governor’s Quality Care Award, and have been NAFCC Accredited since 2002. In 2006, I obtained an Associates in Arts in Childhood Development in order to enhance my experience, and I am currently attending WMU to obtain my Bachelors in Family Studies with Child Development emphasis. Children are special, important individuals to be valued and encouraged to be all they can be.
“Supporting Infant's Social and Physical Development”
By creating an environment enriched with soft, durable mats, climbing pieces, and blocks, my infant’s and toddler’s physical and social development will be supported. This new equipment will aid the children in developmental areas such as rolling, sitting, crawling, climbing, and balancing, as well as peer interactions. My encouraging words will guide them into trying new movements. It will be “their” colorful, safe space, giving them pride in their accomplishments.


Julie Kauffman
Ladybug Child Care Center Chaska, Minnesota
My part time high school job has turned in a job I truly love. I have been in the child care field for ten years. For the past eight, I have been employed at Ladybug Child Care Center in Chaska, MN. I am a toddler teacher and a department manager. I have found that I am a more complete person for being around children.
“Soaring with Science”
My project is titled, “Soaring with Science.” I will be purchasing additional learning materials to enhance our science center. I will be incorporating an Explore and Learn table into my classroom. This piece offers a variety of exploration for several children to use at a time. I will also purchase a science photo library, a human x-ray print set and a growing plant project. I have found that children are full of questions and ideas about the world around them. I am excited to help give them more experiences through these science resources.

Margaret Mahowald
Calvary Childcare Center Golden Valley, Minnesota
I have been teaching in the Early Childhood field for six years. Calvary Childcare Center in golden Valley has been my teaching home for the past five years. I earned my Early Childhood degree from North Dakota State University in 2001. I am thankful for my supportive family, gifted co-workers, wonderful families I serve, and the delightful children I have the privilege to teach. Early Childhood Education is my passion and I look forward to many more great years in the field providing high quality care and education.
“Beyond the Storybook”
My project, Beyond the Storybook, will give me the ability to provide extensions to many of the favorite books read in our classroom. I will purchase puppets, storytelling kits, puzzles, games, and art supplies that can be incorporated into author/illustrator studies, which currently exist in our curriculum. Every item will benefit children at all developmental levels, as well as support all types of learners. I look forward to children using the props, retelling stories, drawing, creating, and bringing the stories to life.


Linda Vandepopuliere
Westside Child Development Columbia, Missouri
A native Missourian, I received my BS Ed from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1986. Since then, I have worked with young children in a variety of settings in several other states and in England. Currently I reside in Columbia, Missouri, where my partner Anastasia and I have a thriving family child care. We are also the very proud moms of Joseph, 7, and Isaac, 2.
“Catch the Beat”
I am very excited to use this award to expand and enhance our outdoor music area. Among other things, we will be adding a large PVC pipe percussion instrument, an outdoor xylophone, an instrument that imitates the tinkling sound of rain and several large refuse can drums (a la STOMP). These instruments are easily used by all the children we serve regardless of age or ability. The children will be able to use their brains and bodies in a big way during their musical explorations.

New Hampshire

Debra Barach
Kidworks Learning Center Meredith, New Hampshire
I am a mother of two girls (5) and (1) and have been working with children at Kidworks Learning Center for the last 4 1/2 years. I have always been passionate about children, and feel like I learn more from them than I could ever teach. It is a joy to work in the field of early childhood education, and it is my goal to be not only the best mom I can be, but a positive influence in the lives of all children.
“Quiet Corner Enhancements”
It is my goal to provide a comfortable quiet area that the children can relax in. I plan to purchase an area rug, throw pillows and a toddler-sized couch for our book corner so they can enjoy books in a cozy atmosphere. I also intend to purchase a wooden table and chair set for our puzzle/manipulative are. It is my hope to create a comforting space where children can escape the activity in the room.

New Jersey

Jessica Sollien
Ivy Hill Preschool Rumson, New Jersey
I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Georgian Court College in Lakewood, NJ and became s State Certified Teacher. I have been the pre-K teacher at Ivy Hill Preschool in Rumson for the past six years. Mid-career I took a sabbatical to live in Sweden, my husband’s native country; it was there I became aware of environmental issues. My experience has encouraged me to teach about ecological awareness. During off hours my husband and I enjoy hiking, climbing, skiing, and paragliding.
“Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding compassion, and love.” - Dr. Jane Goodall. The Enviro-Kids project is designed to teach responsibility for one’s own actions, compassion for others, and an awareness of the world around us. Students will learn a hands-on approach to recycling through the use of varied trash bins, while the worm composter will teach them what to do with the organic matter. A puppet theater will be used to act out environmental issues and reinforce skills.

New York

Tina Caldwell
YMCA/Here We Grow Child Care Center Cortland, New York
Married for 30 years in July 2007- Larry (husband). Mother of two grown children-Jennifer age 29 and Christopher age 22. I worked in childcare for 12 years at Here We Grow Child Care Center. I have been a bowling coach for 23 years-working with children ages 3 yrs to 21 yrs of age.
“Enriching Children's Gross Motor Skills”
My project is entitled “Enriching Children’s Gross Motor Skills”. I am purchasing equipment to develop specific movements related to motion, movement, rhythm and dance. These activities will help promote social interaction, fun and communication with the children.

Debra Cashion
Computer Associates Child Development Center, Inc. Islandia, New York
I received my Associates Degree from Suffolk Community College in Early Childhood Education. After receiving my Associates Degree I attended St. Joseph’s College; where I received a BS in education, Pre K-6th grade and a BS in Special Education, ages 0-12. After working as a permanent substitute teacher for two years I went to work for CA Montessori Children’s Center where I received my American Montessori International (AMI) Certification. I earned a Master of Education Degree with a concentration in Montessori from Loyola College. I have worked with the CA Montessori Children’s Center for the past seven years as a Managing Teacher in a Children’s Community Classroom.
“Multicultural Expansion”
I am a Managing Teacher in a classroom with many children whose parents are from different countries. I would like to purchase more multicultural books for my book corner. In my language area, I would like to have more materials from all around the world. During the language lessons the children would have the opportunity to touch and discuss the multicultural resources. I intend to have the children sit at a large community table to sample foods from around the world supplied by their parents.

Judith Corino
Canandaigua Early Childhood Center Canandaigua, New York
I am 42 years old. I have been working with preschoolers for 16 yrs. I have two children and will become a grandma for the first time in May. I love my job, I enjoy children. I have an alpaca farm with 15 alpacas.
“Listening Area”
I will purchase a listening center for the classroom. It will contain a CD/Cassette/Recorder with eight headphones. The center will also have several games, music and books on tape that children love. To make the center a relaxing place I plan on purchasing bean bags to lounge around on. The children will greatly benefit from this award.

Rose McCabe
Rosebud's Child Care and Learning Center Apalachin, New York
As an in-home group day care provider for the past 11 1/2 years, I have received the 2005 Day Care Provider of the Year Award, 2006 Star Early childhood Educator Award as well as being the Public Policy Chairperson for the Binghamton Association for the Education of Young Children. I am also enrolled at Broome Community College’s Early Childhood Education Program. My passion for my work has brought me success, and my professionalism has brought me respect. I offer high-quality care for infants through age five including working with infants and offering a toddler and pre-school curriculum. I gain respect from all those that meet me because of my knowledge, professionalism and honesty, down-to-earth, enthusiastic personality. I believe that when my young students are successful, I am successful.
“The Gourmet Play Project”
Dramatic play can incorporate so many opportunities to learn while having fun. “The Gourmet Play Project” that I have created will offer my day care children the chance to learn about themselves, others and the environment in which they live. A kitchen set with all the accessories, such as multicultural foods and books, will encourage an understanding and acceptance of the similarities and differences among people in our community. The counting, shape sorting and color food sets will inspire practice in shape/color recognition, one to one correspondence, counting’/number recognition and allow me to incorporate healthy food choices, dental health and cleanliness. By using the cash register, we can play “restaurant’, which will teach cooperation, sharing, turn taking and increase the children’s pro-social skills.

North Carolina

Jennifer Anderson
GTCC Children's Center Jamestown, North Carolina
I have been working with young children for more than 12 years. I graduated from UNC Charlotte, NC in 1998 with a BS in Child and Family Development and my B-K license. I currently work at GTCC Children’s Center in the 2-year-old classroom and have been here for five years. I love helping children expand their cognitive and language skills, and to help them be successful with potty training. It’s not the terrible twos; it’s the TERRIFIC TWOS!
“Books that Bind Relationships”
The project I created has three different goals. The first is to purchase a book binding machine and materials to create books to be used by the entire center staff. The second is for my classroom to make several books that are related to our classroom themes. The third is to enhance interaction between the parents and their children by giving each family a book each month to keep.

Maggi Bailey
The Irene Wortham Early Learning Center Asheville, North Carolina
I live in my hometown of Asheville, NC. I have a close knit family and we enjoy spending time with each other. My husband and I share our home with “fur kids”, five dogs and five cats. I love being a teacher and have been doing it for more than 10 years. I am an artist and enjoy painting with oils, reading suspense novels, and watching movies.
“Story Box”
My project is a Story Box. The boxes will become part of the Children’s Literacy Initiative, which stresses reading higher level words to young children to directly influence their educational success. The Story Box contains a children’s book, lesson plans for each center, costumes, musical instruments, puzzles, and other educational activities related to the book. Children will experience and imagine things and places outside their environment. The boxes will help them discover that books have a vast amount to offer their lives.

Kathy Hasty
Shepherd's Way Day School Asheboro, North Carolina
I am a life long resident of Randolph County. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from UNC-Greensboro. I am currently working on my Early Childhood Education degree. I have worked in the Early Childhood Education field for fourteen years and currently work as a teacher in the two-year's classroom at Shepherd’s Way Day School in Asheboro.
“Nature Sanctuary”
My project is to develop a nature sanctuary at Shepherd’s Way Day School. This special place will offer a safe haven for wildlife and a peaceful retreat for children and staff. From growing plants and trees to feeding birds and butterflies from sundials to stepping stones, this sanctuary will help all at SWDS to develop a healthy sense of worth and a respect for the environment.

Patricia Sloan
First Baptist Church Child Shelby, North Carolina
I live in Shelby, NC. I have also lived in Vancouver, WA. I have one daughter, two son, and two granddaughters. My daughter is expecting my first grandson in May. I have worked as an early childhood teacher for 12 years both here in Shelby, NC and Vancouver, WA.
“Poetry Appreciation for Preschoolers”
The project I have chosen to enhance is where Preschoolers are introduced to poetry. The children will write and illustrate an original poem to be bound into books. Each child will be recognized at a special ceremony and will be presented with a copy of their very own book of poems.


Theresa Roehrig
Stepping Stones Center Pre-School Program Cincinnati, Ohio
I have spent the past seven years as a teaching assistant in the early intervention pre-school program at Stepping Stones. I am a graduate of Wright State University with a BA degree. My interest in disabled children's development stemmed from a previous experience working with multi handicapped students in a school setting. I am also disabled. I was born with spina bifida and am a paraplegic. My mobility is with long leg braces and a walker or wheelchair. When I applied for a volunteer position at Stepping Stones Center I was already familiar with the center as I had attended summer programs there as a child. The associate director who interviewd me remembers "it soon became apparent that this gifted and courageous person would bring an added dimension of skillful creativity to the pre-school" and hired me as an employee. I have been told I "embody" the meaning of teacher. I recently received the employee of the year award....exemplifying outstanding dedication, sensitivity, and passion for the mission of Stepping Stones Center along with a commitment to and belief in persons with a disability. I feel blessed to has found a "calling" that utilizes my talents. I have "Wealth beyond measure" with good friends, a caring family and a strong faith. I have traveled abroad and is currently taking lessons to learn the German language. Albert Schweitzer said "One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength that can overcome adversity." I am indeed a person of strength and intuitive wisdom.
“Pre-School Computer Station”
My project will introduce a quiet corner to the classroom featuring an integrated touch screen monitor and educational software to assist in the recognition of numbers, letters, shapes and even basic reading skills. A number of special needs children currently enrolled use similar technology to communicate, so the transition for these students will present less of a challenge. Cognitive skill development will be better served. The students enrolled in the preschool program will benefit from this new technology and the transition to kindergarten for many will be much easier.

Andrea Sanford
Toledo Day Nursery Toledo, Ohio
I’m currently living in Toledo, Ohio. I been here for five years. I’m originally from Peoria, Illinois. I have three beautiful children. I’m currently working on a BA in Business Administration. I received my Early Childhood Associate Degree from Illinois Central College in 1999. I have been in the field for 15 years. I started liking Early Childhood at a young age. My children attended the Head Start Program. I enjoyed being a part of their younger school years. So with the encouragement of my mentors I decided to pursue a career in the Early Childhood field.
“My Creative Writing Book”
My project title is My Creative Literacy Book. It consists of a Child Craft portfolio storage center, notebook binders, pencils, labels, and clear back packs. Three hold punch paper. This project would be placed in the writing center. The storage center will be labeled with each child name. They will be able to get their own note book binder and practice writing their name, numbers, or whatever they want. I would write some practice letters, numbers, shapes etc. so they can see an example. I would observe their progress. I would put a date on it, collect it and use their portfolio to show their parents at conference time. This is a good way to promote literacy and language.


Tonya Davidson
Chapman Child Learning Center at St. John's Health Systems Tulsa, Oklahoma
I am married with 2 children, a son age 3, and a daughter age 1. I have a stepdaughter age 12. I enjoy spending time with my family. My other interests include outside activities such as camping, fishing, and boating. I grew up in the country and love country life.
“Cooking and Technology”
My project will allow me to create a cooking center in my classroom that will allow children to create and cook healthy snacks and meals. Families will be invited to share in our learning experiences. A digital camera and color printer/scanner will provide picture documentation for parents and visitor to see the learning that takes place daily while providing opportunity for children to revisit past experiences.


Susan Alvarado
The Children's Center of CACCC, Inc. Enola, Pennsylvania
My name is Susan Alvarado and I am the mother of 3 children who keep me very busy. At the Center, I care for five active toddlers. I love my job and my position, it is very rewarding. I got started in child care in 1988. I enrolled in the CDA program in 2006 and am awaiting assessment at this time. In my spare time I read, check and send email, do planting, and crossword puzzles.
“Tiny Toddlers”
I plan to use the award money to enhance our toddler playground. I am very proud to have been blessed with the opportunity to be able to purchase some items to increase out activities outdoors. With the use of a storage shed our play items can be stored out of the weather. It will also encourage our young toddlers to clean up when done playing. This is a skill that I have introduced as part of my curriculum.

Heather Cohen
Paley Early Learning Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
My name is Heather Cohen, and I am a Board Certified Teacher. I graduated college Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 grade point average and Education Honors. Throughout the year, I have worked with children ages four to eleven and children with special needs such as autism and behavioral problems. I not only want to educate our future generations, but I want to instill in them a love for learning. This desire and thirst for learning will help my students reach the stars.
“Alphabet Alley”
Alphabet Alley is an interactive, hands-on early literacy learning center that will help reinforce letter identification and letter sounds, as well as emergent literacy. The children will be actively engaged in activities that include music, language, sensory, movement, problem solving, and cooking. These activities will not only help the children learn the alphabet, but will give them a sense of pride. I feel that learning involves more than just recognizing and memorizing letters and sounds. By using Alphabet Alley center activities to expose children to letters, the alphabet will come to life!

Tricia Conver
West Point Child Learning Center Lansdale, Pennsylvania
I currently live in Telford, Pa with my husband, Brian and our 3 year old daughter, Madelynn. All my life I have worked with children. I am inspired by their eagerness to learn and their natural curiosity. I have worked at the West Point Child Learning Center as a preschool teacher since 1999. WPCTC is a NAEYC accredited, Bright Horizons Center that is located on the Merck campus.
“Parent Partnership Resource Library”
I am developing a parent partnership resource library that will be dedicated to promoting self-esteem and social emotional growth. In today’s world, coping skills and a positive sense of self are more important then ever. The library will offer parents resources and books that will guide them in helping thir children achieve these goals as well as offer support during times of need. I am also including children’s books, puppets and games that will encourage the children to express their emotions in pro-social and imaginative ways.

Amy Goding
The Children's Center of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I’m 28 years old and have lived in Pittsburgh for the past five years. I received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Malone College. For four years I’ve been the lead teacher in my room. Recently, I took on the responsibility of scheduling for the toddler room. My future plan is attaining my master's.
“Science in Dramatic Play”
I’m incorporating botany, chemistry, and archeology into the dramatic play area. The children will explore and uncover many treasures as they dig for bones. They will be elbow deep in dirt as they plant gardens and classify leaves. Finally, the children will put on lab coats and discover density through liquid mixtures.

Allison Hynes
McNeil Child Development Center Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
I come from a family of teachers. My grandmother was a teacher for the blind, and my mother was an elementary school teacher. Growing up and hearing the stories of their teaching days, I always knew that I wanted to follow the family tradition and work with children as well. For the past six and a half years, I have taught in a Pre-K/Kindergarten class at the Bright Horizon’s McNeil Child Development Center. Working with young children has many rewards, but for myself the greatest reward is being a part of the fun that children can have when experiencing new things about the world, others, and themselves.
“Science Explorations”
In our classroom, it is a common occurence to see a group of children wearing goggles while exploring reactive substances or having a magnifying glass in hand while examining natural materials. In our “Science Explorations” project, we will incorporate more chemistry, geology, biology, astronomy, and meteorology through measuring tools, microscopes, thermometers, animal habitats, and science kits. With science journals for every child, they will document the use of the scientific method from their prediction, experiments, observations, and conclusions. Through various hands-on experiences, the children will learn new skills as well as enjoy the many wonders of the world in which we live.

Eileen Jimenez
Caring People Alliance @ R. W. Brown Community Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
As a mother for 40 years an a childcare provider for 35 years, I still enjoy all my little ones. I've gone from classroom mother volunteer at Lighthouse Nursery school to lead teacher at R. W. Brown Daycare. I've gained valuable insight by attending Temple University's Child Car Development Coop Program, which allowed me to do what I enjoyed as I made a living. The youngest child under my care was a 16 day old and I have taught up to kindergarten. I have participated in numerous workshops over the years and feel that there is always more to learn, there's always more to share, there's always more to care.
“Victory Garden”
The Victory Garden project I propse will introduce older toddler children to plant life and vegetation. I plan to grow flowers, vegetables, and herbs with the children. This project will provide an opportunity for the children to see how plants and vegetables grow from seeds to full-gown plants. During the growth process, I plan to involve parents, grandparents and/or guardians in the gardening experience. Gardening will foster a deeper appreciation of life for all involved.

Anita Lieberman
Learning & Development Program of Germantown Jewish Center Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I have been a preschool teacher for close to 30 years. I have been married for 38 years. I have two daughters who are married and also are teachers. I have four beautiful grandchildren. I have been at the Learning and Development Center of Germantown Jewish Centre for the past five years. My hobbies include reading, photography, knitting, and needlework.
“Through the Minds of a Child-Early Literacy Combined with
Electronic Documentation-Digital Camera & Writing”

My proposal is for a digital camera and printer. I would like to have the children in the class use the camera to document what they have created. I feel that by doing this they will not only be pursuing their creativity and imagination, but they will also be able to use their literary skills as they tell others about the pictures they have taken. I would also like to have them write about what they are photographing.

Roxanne Locicero
Tender Care Learning Center Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I have been with Tender Care for three years and I work with the young toddlers. I have been working with children for 24 years.
“Literacy Interactions”
I’m going to design a literacy program for my toddlers. These children are just starting to express themselves verbally. I get excited watching my children enjoy books and form new words. This program would encourage their excitement and further their learning.

Christina Lynch
The Children's Center at Dock Woods/SMCA Lansdale, Pennsylvania
In spring 2003 I graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education. I was overwhelmed with the world after college and decide to move back to my hometown and let the job search begin. By the summer of 2003 I was offered a job as a head teacher for the three year old classroom, and I have been there ever since. I am continuously challenged by the children, who probably teach me more than I teach them. We are always learning, exploring and playing together in a safe home away from home environment. I look forward to a lifetime of learning with children.
“Integrating Computers into the Classroom”
The purpose of my project is to enhance the computer center in the classroom. A new desk will be constructed and two new chairs will be purchased. Attention to ergonomics will ensure the children can use the computer area comfortably and efficiently. A classroom All-in-One printer will also be purchased to help document the children’s developmental progress and to document daily activities for parent to view. The addition of the ergonomically correct desk, chairs and printer will allow the children to integrate the computer learning center into the Early Childhood Classroom with positive growth.

Sandra Jo McConnell
Tender Care Learning Center Wexford, Pennsylvania
My family moved to the Pittsburgh area in 2001. We are originally from the St. Louis area where I taught in the public school system in Missouri in the areas of Reading Development and Learning Disabilities. I have worked at Tender Care Learning Center the Infant Program for more than five years and found that infants come to us with three basic needs, to learn, to be nurtured and to be respected as individuals.
“Reading: Learning to Love It”
I formed my grant project proposal around the idea of a reading-lending library in our room. We will lend out chubby books from our notable collections to be read at home, and then ask families to lend us their child’s favorite books. This will promote language and cultural diversity in an easy, informal manner. We will purchase new books, a cozy rug, couches, cushions for a reading nook. I look at this as a fantastic way to promote a lifelong love of reading. As a Master Teacher and Training Director of the center, I relate my beliefs to the importance of reading on a daily basis at school and at home. I do this with articles in our weekly and monthly newsletters. I also provide the pamphlet A Child Becomes A Reader from the National Institute for Literacy for all of our new families in the room. When children pass our lunch room they see me reading the newspaper each day. I am a firm believer that reading promotes imagination and the use of imagination promotes learning and living to our potential.

Kathryn McCorry
Ken-Crest Services/Kensington Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I have been teaching for 25 years within Ken-Crest Services, 17 for those years in the classroom, 8 years as home-based teacher. Inspiration came from my brother who attended Ken-Crest and from my own child watching him grow and learn. I was very involved in his education working along side his teachers, learning and sharing from each other. I am a single mom; my son William is now 18 years old. We live in the Philadelphia area; I attended Little Flower High School, Community College, and Temple University, and have a degree in Special Ed.
“Learning Through Movement”
The purpose is to expand and enrich children’s interest in order to enhance the participation and life long learning opportunities for the children and their families. I would like to continue to develop and carry out more comprehensive movement through music and provide the students with fun and effective easy to partner with peers, inspire imagination, develop new vocabulary, problem solve, build strength and endurance and gain greater control over large and small muscles as well as enhance self confidence. To see the final outcome of this project brings both my students and their families together within the classroom and at home.

Colleen McGranaghan
End of the Rainbow Day Care Red Lion, Pennsylvania
I moved to Dallastown, Pa with my family in June 1995. I have worked at End of the Rainbow Day Care since September 1995. I am currently attending Penn State University, York Pa; I am in the CDA (Child Development Associate) class. I am also a member of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children).
“Enhancing Dramatic Play”
My project is to enhance our dramatic play area. We will purchase a butcher block table and chair set, dress up clothing and storage center with a mirror, play food, pots, pans, and dishes. Enhancing our dramatic play area will allow the children to explore, create and expand their imagination. The children will also be able to develop their social skills as well as their self-esteem.

Niana Milburn
Kehillah Early Learning Center Wallingford, Pennsylvania
I’m a 28 year old preschool teacher and the mother of a 7 month old baby boy. For the last six years I have had the opportunity to work at Kehillah Early Learning Center. It’s been a wonderful six years filled with laughter, learning, and lots of fun. I enjoy everyday I spend with the children at Kehillah and hope to have many more wonderful days.
“Multicultural Mobile Center”
My project is a “Multi-Cultural Mobile Center”. This center will contain all kinds of dress-up clothes, puppets, music, instruments, books, and puzzles from different cultures. These things with help the teachers in my center incorporate more multi-cultural activities in their daily routine. It will also introduce the children to how other people live, learn, and play. And for some it will help them feel more comfortable about their culture.

Heather Miller
York Jewish Community Center Child Care York, Pennsylvania
I volunteered with the fours and fives preschool program at the York Jewish Community Center in 1991 and discovered that I loved working with young children. While finishing my BA degree in Elementary Education at Penn State University, I continued volunteering and working summers for the Early Childhood program. In 1995, I joined the newly launched JCC Child Care Program. Over the last 12 years, I have worked with infants through school-age children. Currently, I am the Child Care Coordinator and fours and fives lead teacher. I am also enrolled at Penn State University and is within three classes of earning my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I am married and a mother of two beautiful daughters. I feel fortunate to work with a group of inspirational, supportive, and dedicated individuals. They inspire me to be a better teacher, friend, and co-worker.
“Integrating Children's Literature Across the Curriculum”
The project “Integrating Children’s Literature Across the Curriculum,” is designed to enhance literacy and school readiness through the use of children’s books and support materials. The children and teachers choose a favorite story to read and discuss from may angles, with the children then reenacting the story through dramatic play. The art projects, math, and science experiments and dance activities that result are photographed and compiled into books with the children’s language as text. The books are laminated for frequent use and are available for children to take home to share with their families, opening a dialogue between parents and children.

Trista Moyer
Salford Mennonite Child Care Center Harleysville, Pennsylvania
My name is Trista Moyer and I am a teacher in our two year old room. I work at Salford Mennonite Child Care Center in Harleysville, Pa. I am engaged to Andrew who is a wonderful man and a great gift in my life. Our wedding is June 2007. Thank you very much for is gracious opportunity to help enhance our child care center.
“The Multicultural Project”
The Multi-Cultural Project will enhance our program greatly. It will provide books, dolls, puzzles, instruments etc. for the children to explore and learn about other cultures. The children I teach are very curious and will thrive with the opportunity to learn about cultures that are not theirs.

Barry Muser
Kiddie Academy Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania
I am 22 yrs of age. I currently have my AA degree in early childhood education and am working on my BA in Human Development and family studies. I have been working with children for eight yrs. Currently I am the group Supervisor in the four year old program, but have worked with all age groups.
“Butterfly Greenhouse”
The butterfly green house was created to provide hands on learning of nature concepts. The construction of the green house was designed to be simplistic so that the children in the class can assemble it. Once the greenhouse is fully established the class will be able to maintain and enjoy all its aspects. This will truly be something that all the classes will be able to explore and enjoy. This will not only be a learning project but one of accomplishment and enjoyment. I am Debbie Rypinski and I’ve been married for 33 years. I have 3 wonderful children and a grandson. I have worked at Sunshine Preschool and Child Care Center since 1994. I also volunteer at my church to teach PREP. My most recent accomplishment is achieving my goal and becoming a Preschool Teacher and receiving my Child Development Associate Credential.

Debbie Rypinski
Sonshine Pre-School Child Care Center Bensalem, Pennsylvania
I am Debbie Rypinski and I've been married for 33 years. I have 3 wonderful children and a grandson. I have worked at Sonshine Preschool and Child Care Center since 1994. I also voluteer at my church to teach PREP. My most recent accomplishment is achieving my goal and becoming a preschool teacher, and receiving my Child Development Associate Credentials.
“Stepping Stone Activity Center”
The name of my project is the Stepping Stone Activity Center. It will be an area where children can improve on their fine, gross motor and cognitive skills, both independently and also with teachers help. It would be a great place for a teacher to observe her children other than her classroom. I have choosen age appropriate equipment to have a safe environment. Children of preschool age need to move but also be safe.

Jodi Skelly
Tender Care Learning Center New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Growing up in Level Green, today I reside in Delmont. I graduated form Penn-Trafford High school in 1988 and continued my education at California University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Science and a concentration in Elementary/Early Childhood Education. As a single mom, my daughter Alison who will be 4 in April is my biggest inspiration and keeps me going. My passion is photography. I have had the honor of having one of my photos published in a book called. ìShifting Sands,î through the International Library of Photography, something that I will always be proud of and cherish. I would like to dedicate this award to the memory of my parents, Joseph and Betty Ann Cavada, who unfortunately passed away summer of 2005. Thanks Mom and Dad. I love and miss you!
“Amazing Manipulatives”
My philosophy is that children learn best through play, especial when they are creating with their hands. ìAmazing Manipulatives,î is a way for children to be creative and use their imagination when they are given the opportunity to explore various manipulatives. Some of the tools that I intend to purchase are ìJumbo Nuts and Boltsî, ìGiant Fun Beadsî, ìPuzzlesî, and a ìBrick Building Activity Table with various blocks. By using these items and others, my children will work on developing building and strengthening their fine motor skills. By supplementing our interest centers, I can help all my children to feel good about themselves when they are able to work on and complete a task.


Karen Freeland
The Children's Courtyard Austin, Texas
I have worked in early childhood education for more than 12 years. The first time a child looked up at me and said ìI did it!î I was hooked. I love the look on a childís face when he or she experiences or discovers something for the first time. I am currently working on my Associateís Degree, and plan to continue in early childhood education for many years to come.
“Family Pizza Garden”
For our project, Family Pizza Garden, the children will plan, construct, plant and care for a vegetable herb garden. When the vegetables are mature, the children will make homemade pizza with sauce made from our garden plants. Families will be invited to join us for a special Family Pizza Night. We will document our project from start to finish using childrenís writing and dictations, drawings, charts, and photographs. The children will learn to plan, create, observe, work independently and cooperatively, and feel proud of their accomplishments.


Shauntell Kanigan
Kids on the Move Early Education Center Orem, Utah
I am originally from Billings, Montana. After high school I moved to Utah to attend Utah State University, where I received my bachelor's degree in Family and Human Development. Shortly after graduation I got married and began my own family. Now I have two wonderful children, Jacob who is three and Isabella who is one. Along with being a wife and a mother I am also an early education teacher for Kids on the Move for the past four years.
“Hooked on Books”
ìHooked on Booksî project is to promote early literacy in children; the basic idea is to take a book and find pictures that coordinate with it, and then add a fishing pole. The concept is a teacher or parent can read a book and then ìfishî for the different pictures. This will reiterate the book and also encourage discussion and language development. For me, the great thing about this project is that it can be used in the center or parents can borrow it to bring more literacy activities to the home.


Vicki Lucas
Building Bridges Family Child Care and Preschool Harrisonburg, Virginia
I am a native Virginian. I have three sisters with whom I am very close. I have been married for 33 years to my husband Bill. We have one son and one daughter. I have cared for many children over the last 23 years. Enriching childrenís lives and advocating on their behalf is my passion. I am continuing my education and constantly striving to improve myself and the quality of care I give my children. I am the president of the Shenandoah Valley Child Care Assoc. and an active advocate for the ìGus Busî, a mobile literacy vehicle that provides a book bag exchange program to families living in low-income neighborhoods.
“Four Seasons Magical Theater”
My project is the ìFour Seasons Magical Theaterî. This is an enclosed outdoor stage with a tin roof. The front of the stage is made so children can design and change the scenery. The stage will have built-in storage for costumes and props. The theater will become much more than a stage as the children bring their favorite characters and stories to life. Read alouds on the stage, accompanied by the sights, sounds, and smells of nature will provide the children with a ìsenseîational experience.


Samantha Carterby
Family Friend Childcare/Preschool and Snack Package School Richland, Washington
I have been a family childcare provider for eight years. During that time I have come to love the time that I have with the children. I love to see them investigate, share, and learn. Now, I have grown into a community leader and spend time teaching others in my area to take time to investigate.
“Pathways to the Future”
We will be making a trike path out of repositional rubber mats. This will allow the children to reincorporate role play into their outside environment. We have an enormous tree in the play yard that offers tons of lessons- but the roots cost us our level ground. The paths will allow us to ride over the roots perfectly.


Edna Darling
Darling Day Care Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Children are a very important part of my life. We have seven children, and 4 grandchildren. I have been a family child care provider for 26 years, serving more than 100 children, and loving it. I am continually taking classes thru the University system because there is always more information that I can learn to provide the best possible care to the children I am responsible for. I am also nationally accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care, have been a leader at the local support group and presented workshops at the state level. Last year, in 2006, I was awarded the Governors Award for excellence in Family Child Care. But the most important part of my life is meeting the needs and challenges of children in my care, and giving them lots of love.
“Three, Two, One, Blast Off!”
We will be building a spaceship in the backyard for the children to play in. It will hold 6-8 children at a time. The spaceship will be made out of plywood and painted with control panels and windows to see ìearthî. We will also have space helmets, air tanks, and space suits. With this, the children can pretend to go to the moon, mars, and outer space. They will also have some new space-related books, puzzles, and manipulative. My idea is to let the children learn about outer space, exploring "new worlds" and developing their scientific imaginations. Perhaps one of them will someday go to Mars or develop a cure for cancer because they have been allowed to explore and create with their imagination.

Deborah Kichefski
Faith Child Care, Inc. Appleton, Wisconsin
For twelve years I have been a teacher and have worked with three and four year old children. I am a mother of three children and a grandmother of seven children. My hobbies include reading and spending time with my family. For the past five years I have been a teacher at Faith Child Care in Appleton, WI where I continue to enjoy watching the children embrace their love for God. I am also employed at Target part-time.
“Enhancing Communications”
The project I chose is a Boardmaker by Mayer and Johnson. The Boardmaker is capable of making print pictures and symbols quickly as I need them for my classroom. By using the Boardmaker to make picture schedules, song boards and sequence boards, the non-verbal or low-verbal children will feel more included in the daily activities of our classroom. They will also be able to communicate their needs to me and their peers easily. I chose this project because I wanted to better meet the needs of some children I presently have in my classroom, as well as other children in our child care center, who have not mastered their verbal skills.

ping Language Through Play

2006 Awards Recipients


2006 Awards Recipients

2006 Teacher Awards Recipients

The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation National Child Care Teacher Awards sponsored by the makers of Children's TYLENOL®

Paula Turco
Adventure School
Tucson, Arizona
Early Literacy


Rosa Magana
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Child Development Center
San Diego, California
Space House

Candida Tapia
Aquatic Park School
Berkeley, California
Outside Art Gazebo

Pam Zvonec-Bonneville
Fullerton College Child Development Center
Fullerton, California
Cooking with Kids


Marilyn Dean
Marilyn's Kids Childcare & Preschool
Littleton , Colorado
Center Enhancements

Linda St.John
Renaissance Children's Center
Lakewood, Colorado
Sharing the Joy of Music with Babies


Sharon Moss
Hospital of St. Raphael's Childcare Center
New Haven, Connecticut
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look's What's in Our Classroom

Tammy Tronina
Northwest CT YMCA Childcare Center
Torrington, Connecticut
Cooperative Play Enhancement- Block Area


Annette Anderson
Annette Anderson Large Family Child Care Home
Immokalee, Florida
The Project Playground

Dawn Garrigus
Garrigus Family Child Care and Child Development
Jacksonville, Florida
Listen! Listen! Explore!

Amanda Mudd
The Mudd Family Day Care
Milton, Florida
Sensing the World Around Us


Shelia Allison
Kids Kampus Child Care Center
Huntington, Indiana
Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds

Tonya Bays
Kinder Kampus Early Childhood Services
Corydon, Indiana
Kindergarten, Here We Come Club

Rebecca J. Claycamp
Little Hands Learning Center
Seymour, Indiana
Cultural Diversity Awareness


Joann Willis
Easton Day Care Center, Inc.
Easton, Maryland
Multicultural Ed for Pre-K


Jill Adolfson
University of Minnesota Child Care Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Picture Me

Danielle Charlson
First Steps Daycare
Moorhead, Minnesota
Outdoor Playscape

Sara Core
Kinderberry Hill
Roseville, Minnesota
Bringing Nature to the Classroom

Sheryl Warner
Loving to Learn Family Child Care
Minneapolis , Minnesota
Art Studio


Erica Rankin
Lakeview Learning Center
Branson West, Missouri
Portable Cooking Station

Angie Lee Ray
Randall Child and Family Learning Center
Independence , Missouri
Listening Center

Kelly Reed
The Goddard School of Oakville
St. Louis, Missouri
Multicultural Enrichment

New York

Trudy Lackner
The Children's Corner Group
Poughkeepsie, New York
Bike Path

North Carolina

Leah Fowler
Chapel Hill Daycare Center
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Exploring, Experimenting, Discovering- Oh My!

Rosa Velez
Leanring Together, Inc.
Releigh , North Carolina
Stores and More


Brandy Renforth
Tiny Fingerprints
Poland, Ohio
Reaching New Heights


Loretta Akins
Knowledge Beginnings
Hillsboro, Oregon
Dramatic Play Prop Boxes


Anglea H Bayer
Anglea's Child Development
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Brilliant P.A.G.E.R.

Sharon Bennett
Salford Child Care Center
Harleysville, Pennsylvania
Imagination House

Jeanette Bennett-Lee
Parent Infant Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Music/Listening Center

Lori Corrigan
Education Laboratory Center-ELC
Reading, Pennsylvania
Through the Eyes of a Child

Dianne Coyle
Day Care Centers, Inc.
Ardsley , Pennsylvania
Motor Babies

Mary Rose Dolce
Crispus Attucks Early Learning Center
York, Pennsylvania

Tammy Helman
Tender Care Learning Center
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Shine a Light on Science

Kay Jereld
Children's Learning Center at Penn College
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Using Video to Promote Social and Congnative Development in Toddlers

Kate Johnston
Montgomery Early Learning Center
Narberth, Pennsylvania
Storybook Theater

Atiya Khan
Paley Early Learning Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Teaching About the Five Senses Thru the Medium of Science Sensory

Licia Knight
Green Byrne Child Care Center
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Play and Grow Lending Library

Eleanor Mauras
Mongomery Early Learning Center
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Minds in Motion

Keri McCullough
Beaver, Pennsylvania
What's Inside of Me?

Lori Shirley
Grand Beginning Children's Center- East
Indiana , Pennsylvania
Reading is Fun

Gerilynne Snyder
Vright Horizon's West Point Child Learning Center
Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Playground Enhancement

Serena Spearman
Little Angels
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Exploration in Science

Christine Stewart
Tender Care Learning Center
Wexford, Pennsylvania
Science in Progress

Youngjin Um
Jewish Community Center Child Care
York, Pennsylvania
Fostering Multiculturalism in Classroom

Kathy Weyandt
Pottstown Family YMCA Child Care Development Center
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Exploring Our Surroundings by Using Our Five Senses

South Carolina

Julie Denton
Shaw AFB Child Development
Sumter Shaw, South Carolina
Exposure, Acceptance & Understanding


Edda Duff
Harrisonburg-Rockingham Child Day Care
Harrisonburg, Virginia


Marlene Armstrong
Mustard Child Care Center
Bellevue, Washington
A Garden for All Seasons

Roberta Wright
The Wright Child Care
Tacoma, Washington
Developing Language Through Play