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Educators Recognized for Excellence in Early Childhood Education

May  10, 2013 / Educators Recognized for Excellence in Early Childhood Education During National Teacher Appreciation Week: The Goddard School® Announces National Teacher of the Year Honorees

King Of Prussia, PA – Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), franchisor of The Goddard School, held its seventh annual "Teacher of the Year" competition in conjunction with National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6th – 10th, and has selected five exceptional early childhood educators for recognition.

"For the past seven years, GSI has received numerous outstanding nominations for our Teacher of the Year competition. Each year, we are absolutely impressed with the phenomenal projects our Goddard School teachers are implementing,” said Sue Adair, GSI Director of Education. “Chosen from more than 8,000 Goddard School teachers, we are honored to have these five educators as a part of our system and we are thrilled to recognize them for their accomplishments."

GSI received "Teacher of the Year Award" nominations from all across the country, including those from Goddard School owners and Educational Directors as well as recommendations from parents, peers and, in some cases even children.  In addition to the recognition, the teachers received a cash prize and a gift package from GSI.

The Goddard School "Teacher of the Year" honorees each developed ongoing projects that benefit their classrooms, schools and communities. The following teachers were honored:

Justine Gaumond and Misha Coolbaugh, Toddler co-lead teachers at The Goddard School located in Auburn developed Multicultural Visitors Day to teach the children in their classroom to value, respect and embrace diversity. Family members, special visitors and students from local college groups, including Multicultural Student Organization and Multicultural Peer Educators visit the entire school to share their personal cultures through dance, music, culinary experiences, language, sports and traditional clothing.

Anna Stirrat, Pre-kindergarten teacher at The Goddard School located in Concord Township, developed The School Garden, an invitation for play, inquiry, curiosity and community. Stirrat began this project in 2008 by digging a small plot in the school yard to plant sunflowers, one tomato plant and one watermelon plant. Now a year round program, the children prepare the soil, plant the seeds (indoors), transplant to the outdoor garden, nurture and care for the plants and then harvest the crops. The children wash and prepare their crops to be taken home, canned or enjoyed as snack. Some items from the garden were sold to raise funds for military families in the community.

Dan Berardi, a Junior K teacher at The Goddard School located in Exton, PA created Talk it Out, a program to create the next generation of effective problem solvers. As is common in a preschool setting, young children become accustomed to “tattling” and seeking teacher intervention at the first sign of a disagreement with friends. Berardi introduced two simple, colored popsicle sticks that varied in color: “The Talking Stick” and “The Listening Stick.” The sticks were used to communicate when the children had a disagreement. After modeling and sharing the rules of the program, the children began to utilize the sticks to problem solve with their peers and the “tattling” slowly came to a halt.  This program empowered the children to think independently, communicate and collaborate with their peers.

Linda Taylor, a Preschool teacher at The Goddard School located in Wyomissing, PA implemented the Literacy Awareness program to inspire young children to read as well as parent involvement. Taylor brings stories to life and promotes a love of reading for the children in her classroom. She encourages both parents and co-workers to support this passion for literacy for the children. Taylor reads many books throughout each day to the children, though it is her “Book Themed Days” that really stand out—all activities reflect the theme.

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The Goddard School®: Celebrating 25 Years of Learning through Play.

Learning for fun. Learning for life.℠ The Goddard School uses the most current, academically endorsed methods to ensure that children from six weeks to six years old have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life. Talented teachers collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners. The Goddard School’s AdvancED and Middle States-accredited F.L.EX.℠ Learning Program reaches more than 45,000 students in nearly 400 Goddard Schools in 35 states. The Goddard School’s comprehensive play-based curriculum, developed with early childhood education experts, provides the best childhood preparation for social and academic success. To learn more about The Goddard School, please visit

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