Hometown Hero: Day-care provider shares love of learning
There are probably more animals than children at Teddy Bear Cottage Family Child Care in rural Pine Island, and that is just what the kids love.
Parents who who like having their children raised in a country setting, but don't want to take care of goats, ducks, chickens, horses, dogs, cats and rabbits, think it's pretty cool too, said Stacy Boysen, who opened Teddy Bear Cottage Family Child Care in 1997.
But it's more than the chance to see chicks and ducklings hatch that earned Boysen the honor of Olmsted County Provider of the Year.
Boysen, who shares the honor of Olmsted County Provider of the Year with Jennifer Parrish, of Rochester, will be recognized Saturday during the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association 's state conference, being held this year in Rochester. The conference is always timed to the Week of the Family Child Care provider, which starts Sunday.
Also being honored Saturday is Michelle Gillard, a health and safety expert for early childhood educators and parents in Southeast Minnesota. She has been selected Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association Advocate of the Year.
"This is one of those jobs that you don't get told often that you're appreciated," said Boysen about being recognized by her peers. "We just do what we do."
Boysen, however, has been focused on doing what she does even better and helping others along the way.
She recently earned a masters degree in family life education from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., as a way to offer a more comprehensive program for families, she said.
In addition to providing weekly reviews of what the children are learning through her preschool learning and school-readiness curriculum, Boysen also opened her personal library of parenting and curriculum books for parents to check out.
Boysen has also become more active in the local child care providers association, Family Child Care, Inc. After starting out as a member at large, she progressed onto workshop coordinator, newsletter editor and now serves as president.
"It's a really good way to meet other providers and network and know more about what's going on in legislation right now," she said.
Boysen credits her success in part to the addition of her husband, Jamie, as a co-day care provider about five years ago.
"I've been able to focus a lot on preschool learning and school readiness," she said. "He enjoys the infants and toddlers."
And they all love the animals.