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The Goddard School® Honors Top Early Childhood Educators for the Eleventh Annual Teacher of the Year Awards

Five Exceptional Educators Acknowledged during National Teacher Appreciation Week

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School®, the nation’s premier preschool focusing on learning through play for children six weeks to six years old, announces today that five leading educators from across the nation have been chosen as recipients of the eleventh annual Teacher of the Year award. In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, which takes place from May 1 to May 5, these extraordinary educators will be presented with a plaque commemorating their passion for teaching, dedication to learning and love for the children, families and local communities. The Goddard School’s Teacher of the Year award honors educators in its preschool system who have developed compelling programs and projects that benefit their classrooms, Schools or communities.

“This year’s award recipients raised the bar with notable, long-term projects that have inspired us, Goddard School students and Goddard School families,” says Dr. Craig Bach, Vice President of Education at GSI. “These initiatives, which address healthy friendships and healthy bodies and teach children about journalism and elections, highlight the educators’ unique, nurturing approaches that help develop children into joyful, confident learners.”

The projects from the selected Goddard School educators include Taste It Tuesday, an activity that teaches students the value of a healthy, well-rounded diet; Friendship Curriculum, a program designed to foster emotional development and promote social awareness among peers; Election, a campaign that introduces the election process and governmental functions; and Journalism, a program that lets students explore a variety of career paths while nurturing their curiosity.

GSI honors the following teachers:

Laura Flanagan – Exton, PA

Laura Flanagan, a pre-k teacher at The Goddard School located in Exton, PA, created Taste It Tuesday after noticing that her students were curious about the colorful array of fresh fruits and vegetables she brought for lunch. She created the activity hoping that it would encourage and help her students to try unfamiliar healthy foods. During morning circle time, Laura introduced the food they were going to sample and related the food to the letter of the alphabet they were currently studying. During the lesson and before sampling the food, the students made observations and predictions about the food’s texture and taste. While the students were sampling the food, Laura discussed where the food was grown and why it is a healthy choice. She also made cultural connections where applicable. At the end of the lesson, all the students added their names to the Taste It Tuesday graph, which showed who liked or did not like the food they tasted. The project has been such a success that multiple classrooms in the School now hold Taste It Tuesday, and teachers in different classrooms collaborate on it.

Everith Radcliffe and Ashlee Summer – Simpsonville, SC

Everith Radcliffe and Ashlee Summer, junior kindergarten teachers at The Goddard School located in Simpsonville, SC, created the Friendship Curriculum. The teachers developed an initialism, FRES-CLAK, to highlight the necessary components of a healthy friendship: friendship, respect, empathy, sharing – compassion, love, acceptance and kindness. The goal was to help students focus on learning, having fun and building caring relationships while receiving opportunities to develop and practice important social-emotional skills, such as controlling their own feelings, behaving appropriately and getting along with their peers. The teachers focused on helping young children and their families understand the importance of social and emotional well-being and development. The tools included a kindness chain, an I Am Feeling mood dial, the “Good Friend” poem, a bucket fillers pledge and a 100 Days of Kindness chart.

Kerry Allaire – Wayne, PA

Kerry Allaire, a kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Wayne, PA, implemented Election to give her students a deeper understanding of how the election process works. Each November, Kerry introduces the election process to the students and chooses storybook characters as candidates. This year’s candidates were Clifford the Big Red Dog, Madeline and Arthur. Students prepared for Election Day by reading books to learn about each candidate’s platform and by creating buttons and campaign posters. They also cast their votes. Each student had a job to perform. First, students informed the teachers about the candidates and their platforms. Next, students had the teachers sign in before voting, and then the students gave the teachers a ballot to place in the ballot box. The teachers who voted received an ‘I Voted’ button, and once the polls were closed, the votes were tallied to determine the winner. Clifford the Big Red Dog was this year’s winner! The election project doesn’t end in November; an inauguration ceremony was held for Clifford, and students discussed the activities of the day.

Megan Brady – Fanwood, NJ

Megan Brady, a kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Fanwood, NJ, created a program called Journalism to help her students investigate a variety of careers. Each month, Megan invited two visitors to the classroom, each with a career related to a specific theme. The children met a flight attendant, a lawyer, an editor, a photographer, an animal protection provider, a publisher and a nutritionist. Before each visit, the children prepared questions for the guest interview, and during each visit, the responses were logged. These tasks mirror the responsibilities of journalists. The students learned about open-ended and close-ended questions and about occupations in the journalism field. The students often mimicked these interesting roles. The culmination of the project is a video montage of the broadcasts the children created that will be shown on graduation day. The broadcast will feature the children as news anchors, and they will discuss all the relevant Goddard news from the year.

For more information on The Goddard School, please visit http://www.goddardschool.com/educators/teachers.