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Awards to USA Early Childhood Teachers to Honor Excellence in Early Childhood Education and Care

Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( )

Geographic Focus

Important Dates
Deadline: 01/16/24 - Receipt or postmarked by date Save

Grant Description
Awards of $1,000 to USA early childhood teachers to recognize excellence in early childhood education and care. In addition to the monetary award, awardees will also receive an expenses-paid trip to the awards ceremony, participate in professional development activities, and have the opportunity to connect with peers. Early childhood teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Military bases and installations around the world are invited to apply.

One teacher will also be selected as the winner of the Helene Marks Award and bestowed with the honor of being named National Early Education Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year will receive an additional cash prize. 


Additional Eligibility Criteria
- Applicants must be full-time childcare teachers employed in a home, group or center-based program that is fully compliant with local and state regulations for operating childcare programs. -- Applicants must work a minimum of 32 hours per week, 12 months per year at the same center. - Teachers must be with the same children for 10 consecutive months.
- Applicants must be working as paid, full-time childcare teachers in their current regulated program for a minimum of 36 consecutive months (3 years) by December 2023.
- Applicants may apply having worked in a teaching position for the same childcare entity for 36 consecutive months (3 years) in more than one location.
- Applicants employed by a U.S. Military childcare facility in their current location for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.
- Programs must be open a minimum of 9 hours a day, 5 days a week 12 months per year.
- Applicants must be teachers of infant, toddler or preschool age children.
- Only one application per center may be submitted.
- Full day Head Start with wrap-around care programs. Teachers must be with the same children all day.

Additional Geographic Information:

Child care teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. Military bases and installations around the world may apply.

The following conditions will render an applicant ineligible:
- Teacher Award recipients who have won the Award twice.
- Teachers of part-day Head Start without Wrap-around Care Programs or other part day preschool programs.
- Teachers of kindergarten children in childcare or other settings.
- Teachers of school age children in child care settings. (i.e. before/after school programs).
- Administrative Teachers (staff who have administrative responsibilities that prevent them from being a full-time teacher.)
- Co-teachers or teaching teams are not eligible to share this award (On one recipient per award).
- Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Award winners from 2018 to present.
- Projects that include capital improvements to centers/homes will not be considered.
- Applications completed, revised or modified by anyone other than the applicant (including but not limited to a grant writer, director, or any administrative staff) are not eligible.

Pre-Proposal Conference
If you are struggling with the application or just have questions on how to start, please join the Info Session where staff will do their best to answer all of your questions.

An application information session will be held on Friday, November 11 at 6:00 PM EST.


Pre-Application Information
Application deadline postmarked by January 16th, 2024.

The award ceremony will take place April 13th, 2024 at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.

All applicants will be notified if they have won by mid-December 2022.

Note: Other than the letter of support, the application must be the work product of the applicant.

Only one winner per program site will be awarded, regardless of number of applications submitted.

Number of Grants
Up to 30 early childhood education teachers will be recognized.

Estimated Size of Grant
Each award recipient receives $1000 for personal use and $500 to implement a special project.

In addition to the cash prize, the award includes:
- A paid trip to historic Philadelphia including travel and accommodations
- Time to meet with peers and exchange ideas
- Special Awards ceremony
- Fun activities in Philadelphia, including a reception for all honorees and their guests

Out of the up to thirty teachers honored, one extraordinary educator will receive The Helene Marks Award which carries with it the honor of being named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year and an additional $1,000 for a total award of $2,000 plus $500 to implement a project.

Contact Information
Apply online:

Completed paper applications should be sent to:
First Up
1608 Walnut St, Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Please direct any questions to Lisa Kemmerer at

First Up

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