Fresno State’s Joyce M. Huggins Early Education Center is full of children laughing and playing as they engage and explore with the world around them. This is a typical day for Infant/Toddler Master Teacher – Connie Mosher. Mosher has been working at the Huggins Center since 2012 and she uses her educational expertise in early childhood education to fill each day with educational opportunities where curiosity is encouraged by the children.
The Huggins Center, known for its Reggio Emilia inspired approach to education, recognizes that collaborative and participatory relationships among children, parents, teachers and others not only create powerful and successful education and care programs but also improves the quality of life in the community.
“My co-teachers and I work to create secure relationships with each child and their families. Working at a Reggio inspired early education center, we view even our youngest learners, our infants and toddlers, as capable beings,” said Mosher. “As a teacher, I learn just as much, if not more from the children so I truly value the process of co-researching alongside the children to develop emergent curriculum throughout the year.”
It is the quality of the Huggins Center’s early educators and educational approach that has received the attention, for a second time, from the Terri Lynne Lokoff National Child Care Foundation (TLLCCF).
Each year the TLLCCF awards fifty early educators from across the nation for their critical role in providing quality early care and education. Of those fifty awardees, one is awarded the Helen Marks Award and is named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year. This year Mosher was selected as one of the top fifty in the nation and was additionally named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.
“Receiving the award was beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It was surreal sharing the news with my parents, friends and my fellow teachers. I cried telling my parents because I was absolutely blown away and it was such a special moment for all of us. My whole family is extremely proud of me so that is the icing on the cake,” said Mosher. “The award means a lot to me because it truly honors early education and the hard work and dedication that so many of us have to the children and families we serve.”
Mosher is the second teacher from Fresno State’s Huggins Center to be selected among the top fifty early educators in the nation. Last year, Chamroeun Yann was selected among the top fifty in the nation as well.
Along with Mosher’s National Child Care Teacher of the Year award, she was also gifted over $1,500. With that money, she plans to implement a portable light studio in her infant/toddler classroom.
“I can only hope that with this award I will inspire other infant/toddler and early educators to continually strive for the best for themselves, the children and their families,” said Mosher.