Cheryl Bennerotte of Woodbury and Kathy Wenzel of Hugo were honored as Family Child Care Providers in Washington County by the County Board earlier this month.
The presentation publicly acknowledges their achievement and success in their career as early childhood educators and caregivers, and to increase awareness of quality childcare.
Cheryl Bennerotte is a family childcare provider from Woodbury who has been licensed for 31 years. She is licensed to care for up to 10 children ages infant to age 10. Her nomination was unique because a former child in her care who now has her own daughter in Bennerotte’s care nominated Bennerotte.
The nominee writes, "I was in Cheryl’s day care myself growing up. She provided me with the tools necessary to grow into an independent adult. She provided me and my brother and all the other children in her care with the structure and stability that children so desperately need."
When asked what her personal philosophy is in working with children and parents, Bennerotte said every "child should be expected to do things they are capable of. Sometimes this does not happen as quickly as adults would like. I am patient and help them learn and then encourage them to do it themselves."
The nomination for Kathy Wenzel came from a parent who struggled with finding quality childcare for her children and was pleased when she found Wenzel.
Wenzel has been licensed since 1994, and is licensed to provide care for up to 12 children with 10 being under school age. When asked what her personal philosophy is in working with children and parents, Wenzel said she believes in letting parents know how the business is run and what her beliefs are, being down to earth and honest, and being able to communicate and listen.
The nominator wrote: "Kathy is truly amazing. I have only known her for four months, but honestly feel I have known her for years. I have never had such a good relationship with my provider as I do with Kathy. Communication is important to me and Kathy makes that so easy. My boys are so happy, and even have to give her a hug and kiss and always say thank you when we leave."
Wenzel performs community service with the children, coordinating a food shelf collection at day care each year, and putting together shoebox gifts for children at Christmas filled with gifts for children who are less fortunate. The nominees said her "boys loved picking out toys and learning about giving."
The county has recognized two family child-care providers in conjunction with the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association’s (MLFCCA) conference and banquet held for family providers throughout Minnesota.
Individuals in the community nominate providers and applications are reviewed by an ad hoc committee from the county Child Care Council with representation from the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association.
The ad hoc committee recommends the nominees and their names are submitted to Washington County Community Services/Child Care Licensing Program and the MLFCCA.
Requirements for potential family child care providers of the year are they have been in the field for at least three years; promote quality child care as a profession and in the community; meet annual state training requirements; have a positive impact on the lives of the young children; and demonstrate professional skills in child care.
Photos attached: Cheryl Bennerotte receives her award from Commissioner Lisa Weik, District 5.
Kathy Wenzel receives her award from Commissioner Dennis Hegberg, District 1.