Rachael Peterson recognized by Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation
Rachael Peterson, a student in the Child Life Assistant and Early Childhood and Youth Development programs at Dakota County Technical College, received the 2015 Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Award for a project she submitted as a preschool teacher at Sandcastle Child Care in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rachael is graduating from DCTC in May 2015 with two degrees, an A.A.S. in Child Life and an A.S. in Early Childhood.
A 2004 graduate of Edina High School, Rachael grew up interested in the child life field through the influence of her mom, who is a registered nurse. Rachael chose to enroll in both Child Life and ECYD at DCTC after conferring with a friend who was a student in the latter program.
“I like that the Early Childhood program is so hands-on,” she said. “I have been applying what I learn in my own preschool classroom.” Rachael added that the children she teaches are 4- and 5-year-olds with a lot of learning to do. “Children today have to know so much when they enter kindergarten, including the alphabet.”
As a student in the Child Life Assistant program, Rachael took advantage of an internship opportunity at Children’s St. Paul Pediatric Hospital. “I love working as a child life assistant,” she said, noting that she will be finishing up her internship at Fraser School, a preschool, kindergarten and child care facility in Minneapolis recognized for innovation in the area of special needs.
Dawn Braa, an ECYD instructor, informed Rachael about the national award offered by the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation. “At first, I figured winning the award would be a long-shot,” Rachael said. “But then I thought, why not?”
Dawn Braa on Rachael Peterson…
“Rachael is a delight to have in class. I had the opportunity to observe her working with children this past fall in our classroom. My heart was filled with joy watching and listening to her interact with children. She demonstrated the skills and concepts from class as well as an ability to forge a genuine bond with the children. I am truly proud of Rachael’s accomplishments and her winning this award—she deserves it!”
Rachael designed a DIY light table for her preschool classroom that involved re-purposing a coffee table by replacing the top with plexiglass and adding lights. “The children can play on the table, have fun and explore,” she said. As a recipient of the national award, she received funding for personal use and for implementing her project
Married six years to her husband, Rob, Rachael plans to continue working as a preschool teacher, but is very open to the idea of building a career as a child life assistant working in a hospital setting. She and Rob reside in Maplewood, Minnesota, and they enjoy biking together. In the summer, Rachael often bikes to work, a 10-mile ride one way. She also enjoys running in her free time, often participating in 5K and 7K races.
Recognizing the need to raise the status of child care teachers and the need for quality child care, the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation (TLLCCF) created the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Awards. This award acknowledges the critical role of child care teachers in providing quality early care and education. Child care teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and on U.S. Miltary bases and installations around the world are invited to apply. Fifty teachers are selected for their commitment and dedication to the children they serve. Of the top ten recipients, one is selected to receive the Helene Marks Award and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year. — Courtesy of the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation
For more information about the Child Life Assistant and Early Childhood and Youth Development programs at DCTC, contact: