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Potlatch Educator Molly Clark Named PBS KIDS ‘Early Learning Champion’ Honoree

Idaho Public Television is excited to announce that Molly Clark, director and owner of The Garden Daycare in Potlatch, Idaho, is one of 14 early education professionals from across the country named as 2023 honorees of the PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program. 

The awards, established in 2018, recognize and celebrate passionate educators who work with the nation’s youngest students, from infants to second graders. Through the Early Learning Champions program, PBS KIDS and local PBS stations, including Idaho Public Television, surround educators with professional learning and networking opportunities.

"Molly saw a need for quality daycare in the rural community of Potlatch,” says Lenea Pierzchanowski, Idaho Public Television Education Specialist in North Idaho. “She took it upon herself to start meeting that need in such a gracious way: by appreciating the caregiver first. She provides above-average wages and benefits, assuring the caregiver is taken care of, so their focus is on the children and the early childhood curriculum they provide. The second thing that impressed me about Molly is she speaks about early childhood education as though she has been in the field for years, but what she has learned she learned by finding resources like Idaho Public Television, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and Idaho STARS. It is her willingness to see the whole child, meeting the needs of a community, and her passion for lifelong learning that inspired me to nominate her for PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion.”

The PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program, which has recognized 52 passionate educators of young children since its inception (including this year’s honorees) includes various early learning educators: pre-K and special education teachers, childcare center owners and directors, librarians and family literacy specialists, community and parent educators, and school counselors. The program represents the diverse community impacting young learners today. 

Supported by the CPB-PBS Ready to Learn Initiative, this year’s cohort will work on national co-design projects, such as professional development resources for educators, and everyday learning resources for families while also supporting Learning Neighborhood work across the country. 

PBS KIDS and local PBS stations will also provide support in skill-building within the classroom, in person and at home, while encouraging these professionals to seek out their own personal and professional trajectories. These Early Learning Champions will also connect with education networks across the nation and further their commitments to their community’s families, education officials, and administrators through the utilization of PBS KIDS and local PBS stations tools and resources. 

A full list of the 2023 PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions can be found here.