Event honors childcare providers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Event honors childcare providers

Carol Ledesma, Gabi Fenyvesi, Robin LaFleur and Jeannine Ferguson, from left, share information at the 15th annual Child Care Professionals Appreciation Day in honor of Month of the Young Child.

In honor of the Month of the Young Child, Choices for Children’s office in South Lake Tahoe organized a special event honoring our community’s child-care providers for the services they provide to families and children throughout the year. Choices for Children firmly believes that the presence of stable caregivers in a child’s life has a positive impact on children’s growth and development extending well beyond their early years. Unfortunately, child-care is a profession that has a low retention rate. Recognition such as the Choices for Children Provider Luncheon helps encourage providers to continue doing their important work.

There are currently 63 child-care facilities in South Lake Tahoe including daycare centers, family daycare homes, and babysitting agencies. The Provider Luncheon averages between 40 to 60 participants each year. This year 79 participants took part in the event – a highly successful turn out.

The 15th annual Child Care Professionals Appreciation Day was held at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course on April 29. The theme, “Creating Magical Moments with Young Children,” was brought to life by the talents of Lisa Murphy, known as “The Ooey-Gooey Lady.” Murphy is a nationally known speaker who strongly believes that hands-on play-based activities are integral in preparing children for kindergarten. She has worked with children in various environments including Head Start, private preschools, family daycare homes, parks-and-rec centers, group homes, and kindergartens. She is the owner and director of Ooey Gooey, Inc. Her early childhood education background, humor, and energetic delivery style made the day fly by.

Participants started the day with Murphy sharing her powerful story of her first day of school and how and why that day solidified her decision to become an early childhood educator. She then provided exciting science and outside play ideas for creating engaging environments both at home and at school. Child-care providers next ventured to the Ooey Gooey demonstration station where they had an opportunity to experience hands-on activities to take back to their students.

A recognition lunch followed, including certificates and flowers for child-care providers that have been in the field for 20 or more years. Child Care Food Program participants were given gifts in honor of their dedication to serving healthy meals to the children in their care. Raffle prizes donated by various local businesses contributed to a festive and exciting lunch.

Murphy concluded her seminar with an interactive discussion on the importance of early learning experiences in strengthening the foundation that supports the house of higher learning. She reinforced the value of hands-on learning in the early years and explained how play-based programs truly are kindergarten-readiness programs. Participants left the conference ready to return to their homes and classrooms to provide essential age-appropriate, hands-on play based activities for all typically developing and special needs children.

A special thank you to the El Dorado County Early Care and Education Planning Council’s Inclusion Advisory Committee and to the following businesses: Lake Tahoe Golf Course, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Sierra at Tahoe, Squaw Valley USA, Coyote Grill, Orchid’s Authentic Thai Cuisine, Ernie’s, Bert’s, IHOP, Applebee’s Grill and Bar, Carrows, Round Table Pizza, Goodfella’s, Wolfgang Puck Express, Heavenly Village Cinema, MS Dixie II, Sorensen’s Resort, Barton Memorial Hospital, Pier One Imports, Staples, Blockbuster, SLT Parks and Recreation, Tahoe Hemp Company, Raley’s, Freshies, Chevys, Sprouts Natural Foods Café, Sessions Salon, Lavender Hair Design, Costco, Embassy Suites, and Harrah’s/Harveys for their generous donations and their support to professionals who provide child-care for our community’s children and children of families visiting South Lake Tahoe.

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