Seven Outstanding California Child Care Providers Recognized at State Capitol Ceremony

Aug 24, 2006, 01:00 ET from KCET

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Seven California child care
 providers were recognized at the State Capitol recently by public
 broadcasting stations KVIE (Sacramento) and KCET (Los Angeles) and members
 of the State Legislature for their commitment to improving the quality of
 child care statewide.
     A ceremony was held to recognize the important role informal child care
 providers play in raising preschool age children and preparing them for
 kindergarten. In California, an estimated 65 percent of children up to age
 4 are either in the care of a parent or informal caregiver, many of whom
 are eager for more information and training in early childhood education.
     Dignitaries participating in the ceremony included Assemblymembers Mark
 Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), John Benoit
 (R-Riverside), and Shirley Horton (R-San Diego); program hosts Alina
 Rosario (Los Ninos en Su Casa) and Debi Gutierrez (A Place of Our Own);
 major program funders Brian Sullivan, vice president of public affairs, BP,
 and Kris Perry, executive director of First 5 California; and David Hosley,
 president and general manager of KVIE-TV Sacramento (PBS) and Mary Mazur,
 executive vice president, programming and production, KCET-TV Los Angeles
     In September 2004, KCET in Los Angeles launched two innovative
 programs, "A Place of Our Own," and its Spanish-language companion, "Los
 Ninos en Su Casa," for anyone who cares for young children, including
 parents, grandparents, neighbors and informal caregivers. The two daily
 talk shows provide practical advice and tips dealing with common issues
 such as discipline, education, nutrition, relationships, and more. The
 shows are produced at KCET and air statewide on local PBS stations.
 Starting in 2007, both series will be available to public television
 stations nationwide.
     The seven childcare providers were all nominated as "Caregivers of the
 Week" by California public broadcasting stations in their area. They have
 been profiled on the programs as well as on the shows' websites at and
     The group of caregivers received state certificates of recognition from
 their legislators. The recipients were:
     Phyllis Carmona, Fresno -- A child care provider for 15 years who
 converted her home and yard to an exciting place where toddlers and
 preschoolers can learn and play. Phyllis offers her children a wide range
 of activities, including rock climbing, arts and crafts and music.
     DeAnn Knowles, Redding -- When the preschool she worked for closed,
 DeAnn stepped in by opening a facility in her home. The school's rural
 setting provides endless opportunities for exploration and discovery.
     Becky Nunez, Stockton -- A mother of five, Becky overcame throat cancer
 that threatened to take her voice. She now operates a home-based preschool
 that cares for children with special needs.
     Hatsue Daman, Mission Viejo -- Hatsue opened her preschool after
 raising three children and working 20 years as an engineering researcher.
 Hatsue leads her children on daily nature walks and teaches them her native
 Japanese as well as Spanish and sign language.
     Little Deer Durvin, Ridgecrest -- A childcare advocate for 37 years,
 Little Deer opened a family child care center 17 years ago in her Mojave
 Desert community. She enjoys dressing in her Native American attire and
 teaching children about her culture and traditions.
     Mattie Robinson, Los Angeles -- Mattie opened her own preschool 14
 years ago when she couldn't find adequate after-school care for her twin
 sons. She takes care of eight children, including two grandchildren.
     Elena and Raoul San Martin, San Diego -- Elena and Raoul say that
 caring for their grandchild changed their lives. They began watching
 granddaughter Samira when their own daughter went back to work. Now young
 Samira is learning Spanish from Elena and English from Raoul.
     The two shows received several national and local awards, including a
 Peabody, Parent's Choice, and Emmy. Major funding for "A Place of Our Own"
 and "Los Ninos en Su Casa" comes from BP, First 5 California, First 5 Los
 Angeles and the California Community Foundation. For more information check
 your local listing, or, visit and