KILLINGTON—Rick Davis, co-founder of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children, announced both the finalist and winner of Vermont’s first Early Educator of the Year Award on Oct. 16, at the annual conference of the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VAEYC) held at the Killington Grand Hotel. The award winner, Geralyn (Gerri) Barrows, New Haven resident and owner of Discovery Hill Family Child Care and Preschool, was named the 2015 Early Educator of the Year. Shelburne resident and owner of Puddle Jumpers, Elsa Bosma, was the award finalist.
The Permanent Fund created the Early Educator of the Year Award to recognize and celebrate excellence in the teaching of Vermont’s young children and bring attention to the importance of high quality care and early education.
“Today we honor and celebrate Gerri and Elsa, two early educators who consistently go above and beyond to positively impact the lives of our youngest Vermonters,” said Davis. “Besides parents, early educators are a child’s first teacher. Their work lays such an important foundation for a child’s growth and future.”
Both Barrows and Bosma has have received national accreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care and have achieved all five STARS in Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System, indicating programs of exceptional quality. In addition, Barrows received a $5,000 award from the Permanent Fund as well as all expenses paid to the VAEYC annual conference and one national conference. As award finalist, Bosma received $1,000 and all expenses paid to attend the VAEYC conference.
In this first year of the award, the Permanent Fund accepted nominations for home-based providers who: have at least 4 STARS in Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System; have been in business for three years or more; demonstrate a commitment to professional, quality early education programs; include innovative approaches to a child’s learning, social emotional development and physical growth; are committed to furthering their own education in childhood development; and, serve as a resource to the families they work with.
The Early Educator of the Year Award selection committee was made up of leaders in early education and child development: Dr. Laurel Bongiorno (Champlain College); Julie Coffey (Building Bright Futures); Scott Johnson (Lamoille Family Center); Reeva Murphy (State of Vermont Department for Children and Families); and Bethany Hale (T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® VERMONT).