It’s about time that area caregivers received some giveback of their own. And the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation will do the honors during the National Child Care Teacher Awards ceremony, to be held on Thursday, April 19 at the Please Touch Museum.
District Attorney Seth Williams and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey will join Mayor Michael Nutter in making comments during the presentation, which will award 52 caregivers from across the country.
“Child care teachers, particularly those honored as our national award winners, are professionals. Their curriculum-based lesson plans are designed to further children’s natural creativity and stimulate curiosity to explore,” said TLLCCF Executive Director Allan Miller. “Teachers play a vital role in the development of the children. They introduce children to reading and writing, expanded vocabulary, creative arts, science and social studies.
“They use games, music, artwork, films, books, computers and other tools to teach concepts and skills.”
The award is designed to enhance current projects or assist caretakers in creating new ones, and 2012 marks the 18th year that TLLCCF has offered such awards; the non-profit organization teamed with McNeil Consumer Healthcare — the makers of Children’s Tylenol — for this year’s presentation. In all, TLLCCF has presented more than 685 awards valued at more than $650,000 to deserving caretakers, teachers and providers.
Providers such as two-time award winner Serena Spearman, who runs a home child care establishment from her West Philadelphia row home. Spearman is one of the eight local caregivers to receive the award; Spearman first won the award in 2006.
“My project will help the children and their families experience more hands-on reading skills. The literacy project will help the children learn to read by building their phonological skills through reciting stories, shared reading, family reading time and a variety of reading exploration materials,” said Spearman, a career caregiver with more than three decades of experience, noting that the proceeds from the award will assist families to encourage reading at home. “Infants will be able to have their library full of board books … measuring the quality of my language and literacy environment will represent an initial but important first step in strengthening and reinforcing pre-reading skills, particularly those who come from a family childcare environment.”
TLLCCF’s director echoed many of Spearman’s ideas. For him, assisting Spearman and others like her in educating the today’s youth is paramount.
“Preschool children learn mainly through investigation and play. Early care and education teachers capitalize on children’s play to further language and vocabulary development, improve social skills, introduce scientific and mathematical concepts, learn self-help skills and physical independence through play and social interaction,” Miller said. “When teachers have done their jobs well, they will have instilled a life-long love of learning in their young charges.”