Wisconsin Providers Recognized at the 2019 Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation Awards Ceremony

Recently, 50 early childhood teachers across the country traveled to historic Philadelphia for the 2019 Terri Lynne Lokoff Children’s TYLENOL®, Children’s ZYRTEC® National Child Care Teacher Awards. Since 1994, The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation proudly recognizes the critical work child care teachers provide to children and acknowledges the need to elevate this workforce as the key to quality child care.

Tammy and Holly

This year, we’re honored to share that not one but two early childhood teachers from Wisconsin were recognized. Tammy Dannhoff, owner of Kids Are Us Family Child Care and Holly Hale, owner of Little Red Wagon Childcare received $500 for their own personal use and an additional $500 to implement a classroom enhancement project for their programs.

Tammy, who’s enhancement project involves building an outdoor water play and discover station, was also in the running for The Helen Marks Award, which brings the honor of being named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

“It meant so much, first and foremost, that I was be able to stand with other professional childcare providers and be recognized for a profession that is not recognized very often,” Tammy shared. “It is wonderful that The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation provides this recognition to providers from around the country. While I wasn’t chosen as the Teacher of the Year, being picked overall and as one of the top 11 teachers was an honor. It was an amazing experience!  Out of the 50 early childhood teachers recognized, ten were family childcare providers, which made it extra special.”

Holly, another family childcare provider, appreciated the fun-filled weekend celebration which included a welcome reception, tours, meals, networking and the awards dinner. Hotel and transportation were also provided.

“This past weekend was amazing,” Holly said.  “From the minute I stepped into the limo at the airport until I boarded the plane for home, I felt like royalty.  This weekend inspired me to continue in my profession and to keep advocating for our children and the providers.  The connections that I made will hopefully last a lifetime.  Being an early childhood teacher can be so isolating, but with the support of the others at the ceremony, I know there is always someone to talk to.  Thank you to the Lokoff family and to all of those who were part of this amazing weekend.  I get happy tears just thinking about it!”

Holly’s enhancement project will involve creating a natural outdoor play area. She will be adding a waterfall table, wooden bridge and balancing logs to her program.

When asked what advice they would give to the next generation of early childhood educators coming into the field, both Tammy and Holly shared the following:

“Education is so important,” Holly added. “It will help a caring early childhood teacher understand what best practice is and how to implement it.  Continuing your education has also helped me understand the importance of advocating for our profession by being involved in other organizations, by helping others in the field, and advocating with our government.”

“First and foremost, always keep learning,” Tammy agreed.  “Get involved in the early childhood field; there is so much going on!  Reach out to other family childcare providers if you feel lonely. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – from your licensor to your colleagues, to presenters at trainings – if you are wondering, ask why.”

Congratulations again to Tammy and Holly for this amazing achievement.

Why not apply next year?
Are you interested in applying next year for the 2020 Terri Lynne Lokoff Children’s TYLENOL®, Children’s ZYRTEC® National Child Care Teacher Awards? Learn more about the application process on their website.


Grants support improvements in credit transfer between 2-and 4-year colleges

Grants support improvements in credit transfer between 2-and 4-year colleges

Across Wisconsin, projects are underway that will streamline how early childhood education credits transfer between 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. The transfer agreements – also known as “articulation” agreements will be strengthened between the schools in the University of Wisconsin System, the Wisconsin Technical College System and private colleges and universities.

Image: John Walker via Flicker.com Early childhood education students will complete courses more easily, bringing new skills to Wisconsin’s youngest children

Image: John Walker via Flicker.com
Early childhood education students will complete courses more easily, bringing new skills to Wisconsin’s youngest children

“The more we work together to solve problems, the faster they will get solved and the better the outcomes.  Articulation is a means to get the conversation going,” says Eloise Anderson, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. The Department is the primary funder of the grants.

Other fiscal partners include the University of Wisconsin’s Waisman Center, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.  In total, 10 projects were granted funding to resolve key barriers to credit transfer.

In a collaboration between Lakeland College and MATC-Milwaukee for example, the number of credits that transfer to Lakeland will be maximized and graduate interns at Lakeland will work directly with MATC transfer students to help them prepare for teacher certification exams that include Praxis I, Praxis II and Foundations of Reading.

“It’s exciting to see the collaboration between staff at the 2-year and 4-year schools and the new solutions that are emerging, “says Autumn Gehri, Director of Wisconsin’s T.E.A.C.H. program. “Moreover, each project will incorporate strategies that can be replicated elsewhere in the state,” she adds.

“Ongoing education is essential for the child care workforce to meet the needs of young children at a time when their brain development is at its most critical and fragile stage,” says Ruth Schmidt, Executive Director, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association.  “The projects bring diverse educational institutions together to lower the barriers for students pursuing early childhood courses and degrees,” she says.

For over a decade, the T.E.A.C.H. program has supported the child care workforce and raised teaching quality through subsidizing the costs of tuition, books and time away from work for child care providers who want to improve their skills through college coursework, credentials and degrees. For more information see www.wisconsinearlychildhood.org/programs/teach/