FELS Teachers Receive National Child Care Teacher Awards

Two of our own teachers, Ellen Furman at our Gutman Center and Leslie Hylaris at our Paley Center received the Terri Lynne Lokoff Children’s TYLENOL Children’s ZYRTEC National Child Care Teacher Awards. See below for details about each of their classroom projects from their Award applications.

With a grant from the awards program, Ellen will implement her project, Let’s Learn About Worms. Furman stated, My children are very curious about nature.  They are always picking up things and are interested in finding out about them.  A few weeks ago we were returning from our playground when the children noticed a group of dead worms.  This sparked a discussion about where they came from, what they do in nature and why they were dead? For my project I would like to bring worms into the classroom so the children can have some hands on experience with them.  I know some children are a little squeamish about real worms so by purchasing plastic worms they can use them to do some of the observations.  By enhancing our science area with books about worms the children will be able to learn more facts about worms. This group of children also enjoys gardening and last year we had a discussion about what helps make vegetables grow.  The children came up with plant food.  When I said we could make our own plant food they became very excited. By purchasing a composter and worms they would have the hands own experience of watching the worms begin to turn our left over food into compost that would eventually be spread out in our Mitzvah garden to grow vegetables.Each year the produce we grow is sold to the parents and the monies collected go to a charity the children choose as a group.

With a grant from the awards program, Leslie will implement her project, The Authentic Diversity Classroom. Hylaris stated that “My project is meant to incorporate authentic aspects of the children’s lives and family culture in the classroom. The children will be able to see real photos of themselves and their families respectfully framed in a way that allows them to share stories about themselves and connect home to school. Books featuring children and families that the children can readily identify with will be available to them daily. Open-ended art materials and activities will allow the children to create their own specific skin tone with various art mediums, such as paint. It is important that the classroom environment is a true reflection of the people who use it daily.”


As a part of the Terri Lynne Lokoff Children’s TYLENOL Children’s ZYRTEC National Child Care Teacher Awards procedure, a committee of national early childhood educators and experts reviewed and scored the applications. Each recipient receives a $1000 award: $500 to implement their proposed project and $500 to acknowledge their dedication.

Both recipients will receive their awards at a special ceremony on April 14, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA