Alumna presented National Child Care Teacher Award

Kathy VanAmburg

A ’13 Upper Iowa University alumna has been presented the 2016 Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s TYLENOL® National Child Care Teacher Award. The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation (TLLCCF) recently presented the prestigious award to Kathy VanAmburg of Norwalk, Iowa, during ceremonies in Philadelphia, Penn.

An early child care and education teacher at Apple Tree Learning Center in West Des Moines, Iowa, VanAmburg was selected from a pool of applicants from across the United States. There were 49 National Child Care Teacher Award recipients for 2016. Each honoree designed an enhancement project that illustrates the educational, social and emotional benefits for children. VanAmburg graduated summa cum laude from the UIU-Des Moines Center with a bachelor’s degree in prekindergarten-grade three education.

A committee of national early childhood educators and experts reviewed and scored the applications. Each recipient receives $500 to implement their proposed project and $500 to acknowledge their dedication. VanAmburg received a $1,000 award for her "Everyday Math & Science" project.

From the inception of the Teacher Awards program in 1994 the TLLCCF, with the inclusion of the 2016 recipients, will have presented 892 awards totaling more than $850,000 to early care and education teachers and providers for their dedication and excellence.

Following the recent awards ceremony, TLLCCF Executive Director Jamie Lokoff stated, “The field of early childhood education has made great strides as being an essential first step in the formal education of a young child. Child care teachers are being recognized for the important role they play in providing learning opportunities for as young as six weeks of age to five years old.

“The teachers, particularly those honored as our national award winners, are professionals. Their curriculum-based lesson plans are designed to further children’s natural creativity and stimulate curiosity to explore. Teachers play a vital role in the development of children,” she added. “They introduce children to reading and writing, expanded vocabulary, creative arts, science, and social studies. They use games, music, artwork, films, books, computers, and other tools to teach concepts and skills.”

The TLLCCF has been working for 29 years to make America better by improving early care and education. The Foundation has dedicated its resources to improving the quality of child care for children and supporting and elevating the status of child care teachers and providers. TLLCCF was established in 1987 by Kay and Fred Lokoff to honor the memory of their daughter Terri Lynne Lokoff, a devoted child care teacher who died tragically in an automobile accident. The Foundation continues the work of Terri Lynne and those who work in the field of early care and education to ensure that every child has an opportunity to attend a high-quality child care program.

Children’s TYLENOL® has been the title sponsor the National Child Care Teacher Awards for sixteen consecutive years. Children’s ZYERTEC® is an official sponsor of the event. 

About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, nonprofit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,200 students–nationally and internationally–at its Fayette campus, 21 U.S. locations, as well as a location in Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit

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