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Addison preschool teacher a finalist in educator award

ADDISON — The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children has announced the finalists for the third annual Early Educator of the Year Award, which recognizes and celebrates early educators who have gone above and beyond to positively impact the lives of children and have been a valuable resource for families. This year one of the awards goes Cheryl “Cookie” Danyow of Addison.
Danyow owns Mountain Road Preschool in Addison and has been working with children for 30 years. She has both an indoor and an outdoor classroom and encourages children to explore nature and learn from their surroundings. “The philosophy of my program is to provide a safe, healthy, hands-on learning environment where children can learn and explore and expand at their own pace,” she said. “We always have a science area going. We’ve done the monarch butterflies, from caterpillars to butterflies — the children love it.”
Ellen Kraft, owner of Honeycomb Kids in Richmond, was also tapped for the award. She wants children in her program to feel comfortable and safe to play and just be kids. “Play is everything to a kid. Play is how they move through the world,” she said. Kraft said she and her staff focus on being positive influences for the children in the program. “The adults, we are the curriculum. The kids take in everything that we do and they’re genetically engineered to copy that,” she said. “Making sure we are truly worthy of imitation is a huge part of what we do.”
Both finalists will be honored at the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VAEYC) Annual Conference on Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Killington Grand Hotel, where one will be named the Early Educator of the Year and receive $5,000 and all expenses paid to attend the 2018 VAEYC conference as well as one national conference. The runner-up will receive $1,000 and all expenses paid to attend the 2018 VAEYC conference.
The Permanent Fund created the Early Educator of the Year Award to recognize and celebrate excellence in the teaching of Vermont’s young children to bring attention to the importance of high-quality early care and learning. Each year, the award alternates between honoring home-based providers and center-based providers.

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