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Organization wants to recognize preschool teachers' hard work

Children's Center teacher Karina Diaz reads a book to preschoolers.
Children's Center teacher Karina Diaz reads a book to preschoolers.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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With preschools around the Southland closed for the holidays, most little children are home running rings their parents. And no doubt those parents are appreciating the work their preschool teachers do every day.

William Yu, an Economist with the Anderson Forecast, said they do it all for among the lowest pay scale of any occupation.

"We should think about it: -should we pay $72,000 for prison guard and at the same time we only pay $32,000 on a preschool teacher?" he asked. "I think we should ask ourselves, 'is this a wise resource allocation?'”

 And it’s not just poor pay that preschool teachers put up with.

"A lot of the preschool teachers don’t get the recognition," said Claudia Sarmiento of nonprofit group, LA Universal Preschools.

To make up for that, her group, known as LAUP decided six years ago to recognize preschool teachers for their critical work and created the Annual Preschool Teacher of the Year award. The nomination deadline has just been extended to January 6 -- so parents still have time to nominate a great preschool teacher.

"Let's recognize the great work that these preschool teachers are doing," she said. "It will inspire them to continue doing the great things for the children that they serve."

The award winner, who will be announced in April, will win $2,000.

LAUP hopes its annual award will bring attention to the range of important duties a preschool teacher does, from teaching literacy and numeracy, to potty training to early socialization skills. Given it’s the Holiday season, Sarmiento wants preschool teachers to feel the love.

"It's one time we get to celebrate the great work our preschool teachers are doing all throughout LA county," she said.

To nominate a great preschool teacher, visit LAUP’s website at <> .