Alumna presented National Child Care Teacher Award

Kathy VanAmburg

A ’13 Upper Iowa University alumna has been presented the 2016 Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Award. The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation (TLLCCF) recently presented the prestigious award to Kathy VanAmburg of Norwalk, Iowa, during ceremonies in Philadelphia, Penn.

An early child care and education teacher at Apple Tree Learning Center in West Des Moines, Iowa, VanAmburg was selected from a pool of applicants from across the United States. There were 49 National Child Care Teacher Award recipients for 2016. Each honoree designed an enhancement project that illustrates the educational, social and emotional benefits for children. VanAmburg graduated summa cum laude from the UIU-Des Moines Center with a bachelor’s degree in prekindergarten-grade three education.

A committee of national early childhood educators and experts reviewed and scored the applications. Each recipient receives $500 to implement their proposed project and $500 to acknowledge their dedication. VanAmburg received a $1,000 award for her “Everyday Math & Science” project.

The award-winning teacher intends to provide her students the opportunity to learn math and science skills by using a variety of nontraditional toys. Utilizing materials beyond the typical Legos® and toy blocks, the preschool students will learn to count, sort, and explore weight, dimensions and capacities.

 “I will plan age-appropriate small group activities and ask open-ended questions to guide learning and model critical thinking skills,” VanAmburg added. “I will communicate with families about what educational concepts are being reinforced with the activities their child participates in at school and how they (family members) can continue to reinforce the concepts and skills at home.”

 In an effort to extend the learning opportunities, she noted that a math and science kit filled with items used in the classroom will be sent home with one child on a rotational basis each week. This will allow the children multiple chances to engage the materials and increase their math and science skills.

 I’ve always had a love for math and science. I feel these subject areas need to be incorporated into everyday activities so that preschoolers can develop the same love for it early in life,” said VanAmburg. “Through this project, I hope to achieve greater levels of independence with the math and science objectives of the Creative Curriculum that I use at my center.”

 From the inception of the Teacher Awards program in 1994 the TLLCCF, with the inclusion of the 2016 recipients, will have presented 892 awards totaling more than $850,000 to early care and education teachers and providers for their dedication and excellence.

Following the recent awards ceremony, TLLCCF Executive Director Jamie Lokoff stated, “The field of early childhood education has made great strides as being an essential first step in the formal education of a young child. Child care teachers are being recognized for the important role they play in providing learning opportunities for as young as six weeks of age to five years old.

“The 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. Teachers play a vital role in the development of children,” she added. “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 TLLCCF has been working for 29 years to make America better by improving early care and education. The Foundation has dedicated its resources to improving the quality of child care for children and supporting and elevating the status of child care teachers and providers. TLLCCF was established in 1987 by Kay and Fred Lokoff to honor the memory of their daughter Terri Lynne Lokoff, a devoted child care teacher who died tragically in an automobile accident. The Foundation continues the work of Terri Lynne and those who work in the field of early care and education to ensure that every child has an opportunity to attend a high-quality child care program.

Children’s TYLENOL® has been the title sponsor the National Child Care Teacher Awards for sixteen consecutive years. Children’s ZYERTEC® is an official sponsor of the event.


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