Let’s Thank Early Childhood Teachers

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GoodLiving® Magazine Honors Early Childhood Educators and Caregivers


The years from birth to five years old are the most important developmental years for a child. The majority of the brain’s connections are made during this time, and a child’s personality is mostly formed. That means that the caregivers who spend the most amount of time with your child are helping to shape the person that child will become.

Every morning across Pinellas County, tens of thousands of moms and dads drop their children off at a daycare center, a preschool or at the home of a private, licensed childcare provider. They are trusting their child to another person, and while it may not seem like a big deal, IT IS HUGE! The individuals who care for and teach young children are contributing one of the most valuable services to our community, because without them, parents would be unable to work and support their families financially. They receive training in child development, teaching techniques and first aid. But most importantly, they provide the daily love and encouragement children need at this age.

These teachers and caregivers are not given nearly enough credit for the valuable service they provide everyday, let alone proper compensation. So we are taking this opportunity to say, “thank you.” We appreciate all you do to care for and teach our youngest children during this most important developmental phase.

And to the lawmakers who will receive this, please support adequate funding for quality early learning programs in Florida. Our children deserve the best start they can get. #goodlivingstandsforkids



Appreciation from the Community:


Early child educators do so much more than teach letters and numbers. They teach children how to learn, manage their emotions, problem solve and persist in the face of challenges.  They help children build a strong foundation for success in the classroom, in life, and in the workplace. Lindsay Carson, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County, Inc.

Teachers with appropriate preparation and continuous professional support in early childhood development and education are the most likely to positively effect children and their families.  They provide richer language and other content experiences, appropriately implement curricula and creative play and provide for individualized and group instructional opportunities.  They make a difference in a child’s readiness for Kindergarten. R’Club teachers fit this bill! Arthur O’Hara, MSW, Executive Director R’Club Child Care, Inc.


Appreciation from Parents:

I would love to give special recognition to Alison Dudding, Brittany Kennedy and Katie Smith (PreK3) of Indian Rocks Christian School. They have gone above and beyond for my daughter, who struggled in her previous daycares/preschools. She has made huge progress due to their creative engagement, patience, and nurturing ways. She can be quite a challenge, yet they love her and build on her strengths. My husband and I are forever grateful for those three.
~Mandy Hines, LMHC, QS, MCAP


Our family LOVES “Ms. Sue” (Susie Yolkiewicz) in the 3 year-old room at Oak Crest Preschool. She taught my daughter 4 years ago and now has my son in her class. Ms. Sue is AMAZING! She makes learning fun for every child.  She teaches more than just counting and ABCs, she also teaches about the world around us (recently my son has been coming home wanting to “plant a garden” and telling me how important it is to protect the plants and trees after learning about gardening with Ms. Sue ). I am in awe of her ability to effectively teach so many different personalities and learning styles — 3 year-olds are not an easy bunch   Thank you Ms. Sue for ALL that you do!

~Rachel Noll-Bastacky


My son attends Bright Beginnings in Dunedin, he had been there since he was almost three-months old. We have had the most amazing experiences with both his infant class and his 1 yr-old class. Without the guidance of his amazing teachers over the last 13 months he wouldn’t be where he is today, he has learned so much. A huge thank you to Miss Michelle and Miss Shannon from his infant room and Miss Maria, Miss Mary Beth and Miss Alli in his 1 yr-old class. Barrett loves you all!
~Helen Asp


I would like to thank Karen Gardner, the director at Skycrest Christian Preschool.  She does a terrific job managing the day-to-day activities of the preschool as well as hiring amazing loving teachers to care for our little ones. In particular, I would like to thank Krystina Barber, a 2 year-old classroom teacher. She is truly amazing with her class.  Two year-olds can be challenging as they try to express their thoughts and control their
feelings (let alone potty training) yet Krystina takes care of them effortlessly with her patience and understanding. Thank you.
~Jaime Howe


Note from editor: There are so many teachers to thank. This is just a small sample of how parents feel about their children’s teachers. Please take a moment to share the artwork on the back of this story and say thank you in your own words.