Kaplan Early Learning Company Announces 2014 Innovator Award Winners at NAEYC Annual Conference

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The Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation recognizes Dr. Thelma Harms, Dr. Debby Cryer and Dr. Richard M. Clifford for their achievements in the field of early education.

Kaplan Early Learning Company and the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for the Health and Well-being of Children announced the winners of the 2014 Innovator Award on Thursday evening at a special reception held during the NAEYC Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas.

The 2014 Innovator Award was presented to Dr. Thelma Harms, Dr. Debby Cryer and Dr. Richard M. Clifford. Best known for their collective work on Environment Rating Scales (including the ECERS, ITERS, FCCERS and SACERS), these three recipients were recognized by the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation for forever changing the view of quality care in childhood education.

“It’s amazing to see how Environment Rating Scales are now being used worldwide to ensure children are receiving the highest quality care and education,” says Brenda Leger, Chief Academic Officer at Kaplan Early Learning Company. “Their ideas have changed the way so many people think about child care. They are true difference-makers in our field.”

About the Winners

Dr. Thelma Harms is the Director of Curriculum Development Emerita at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Harms is recognized internationally for her work on assessing care and educational programs for children from infancy through the primary grades. She is the lead author of the four widely used Environment Rating Scales (ECERS, ITERS, FCCERS and SACERS).

Dr. Debby Cryer is a scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is now retired from the university and works with the Environment Rating Scales Institute. Dr. Cryer was a Principal Investigator for the national study on Cost, Quality and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers and has studied the effects of providing continuity of caregiver to infants and toddlers.

Dr. Richard M. Clifford is a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he has written and consulted extensively on child and family policy issues. Dr. Clifford was also one of the principal investigators on the Cost, Quality and Child Outcomes in Child Care Centers study and served as the past president of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

About the Innovator Award

The Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation Innovator Award is given annually to a person, program, product or organization that positively impacts the health and well-being of children. Previous Innovator Award winners include the Devereux Center for Resilient Children (2012) and Linda Smith, the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families (2013).

About the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation

Established in honor of Kaplan Early Learning Company’s founders, Leon and Renee Kaplan, the Leon & Renee Kaplan Foundation focuses on finding and supporting individuals, businesses and organizations that support the health and well-being of young children. Since 1997, the foundation has gifted more than 2 million dollars in support of programs affecting children and families across the United States.

About Kaplan Early Learning Company

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina. Kaplan Early Learning Company provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.

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