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Children’s Learning Center Group Leader to Receive National Award

Kathryn P. (Kay) JeraldAn early childhood educator at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Children’s Learning Center was chosen to receive the Terri Lynn Lokoff Child Care Foundation National Child Care Teacher Award.

Kathryn P. (Kay) Jerald, a group leader at the Children’s Learning Center, heads its toddler class for children about 18 months to 3 years old.

According to the Lokoff Foundation, Jerald is one of 50 exemplary early care and education providers nationwide who were chosen for the honor because of their commitment to maintaining high-quality child-care practices and dedication to the children they teach. Jerald will receive her $1,000 award on April 5 at an awards ceremony in King of Prussia.

This year, child-care providers from 39 states participated in the program. As part of the application process, providers designed an enhancement project for their classroom that illustrated educational, social and emotional benefits for the children in their care.

Jerald’s award-winning project, “Using Video to Promote Social and Cognitive Development in Toddlers,” proposes using a digital video camera, purchased with part of the award money, to allow the children to see themselves at work and at play. Jerald explained that watching themselves is a valuable learning tool for children. Parents will be encouraged to borrow the videos, both for their enjoyment and to give them the opportunity to view and incorporate at home some of the techniques the professional early childhood educators use at the Children’s Learning Center.

A committee of early childhood educators and experts throughout the United States reviewed and scored each application. When the scoring was complete, the top 50 applicants, representing 17 states, were named recipients of the foundation’s National Child Care Teacher Award. The award is sponsored by the makers of Children’s Tylenol.

Jerald’s $1,000 award will include $500 to implement her proposed project and $500 to acknowledge her dedication to her chosen profession. Recipients will also receive a silver rose stickpin courtesy of Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelry.

A native of Williamsport, Jerald has 18 years’ experience in early education, most of it at the Divine Providence Hospital child-care center. She joined Penn College’s Children’s Learning Center in 2000. Jerald earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Mansfield University.

The Lokoff Foundation was established in 1987 by Kay and Fred Lokoff in memory of their daughter, Terri Lynne, a devoted early childhood teacher who was killed in an automobile accident.

“In past years, the primary-grade teachers were responsible for laying the educational, emotional and social foundation for our children our future,” explained Kay Lokoff. “Today, with both parents working and single parents bearing the burden alone, that important duty is entrusted to our child-care providers. It is more important than ever that we all recognize the vital role these educators play.”

The Children’s Learning Center at Penn College serves students, faculty and staff whose children need high-quality, on-campus care and early childhood education while their parents work or attend classes. The center cares for children between the ages of 18 months and up to preschool during the school year, and through age 7 during the summer.

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