Holly Lynn Hale Owner of Holly’s Little Red Wagon Childcare in Roberts, Regional Representative for the Wisconsin Family Child Care Association, Early Childhood Advisory Committee Member and Adjunct Instructor at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a preschool teacher. When my first child was born, almost 39 years ago, I wanted to be home with her. I opened my family childcare center with the desire achieve my goal of becoming an early childhood educator and to stay home with my children. I was able to earn a little extra money while providing a safe and loving second home for other children. Although my role as an early childhood educator has changed over the years, providing a safe, secure, and loving “home away from home” for the families I care for will always remain the same. My center is accredited by the National Association of Family Child Care and has earned a 5 star rating from YoungStar. I am dedicated to my work and to caring for the children of our community. I offer a preschool learning program that is play based with a child led curriculum. We have activities in math, science, literacy, art, music, social studies, and incorporate lots of outside play. I also work closely with each of the families in my care as a point of contact for resources to support their needs. I am proud to have been chosen as the 2018 Family Childcare Provider of the Year and receive the 2019 Terri Lynne Lokoff National Child Care Teacher Award. However, I feel the most pride when the children I cared for stay in contact with me and ask me to care for their own children. In addition to working directly with children and families, I also want to make a difference for early childhood educators. I am a regional representative for the Wisconsin Family Childcare Association where we raise awareness about the importance of early care and education and advocate for early childhood issues. I am also an Early Childhood Advisory Committee Member and Adjunct Instructor at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, where I mentor early childhood education practicum students. I am also continuing my education and am currently working on my doctoral degree at Northcentral University. I would like to see early childhood educators be given the same respect and compensation as K-12 educators. I wish more people knew that early childhood educators also work many hours behind the scenes to ensure that children are provided safe, secure, and fun early childhood learning experiences. I am often up a few hours before we open to organize and plan out the day. I do this job because I love the children and want to provide them with a good start that will follow them for a lifetime. My goal for the future of our industry is to make sure each child has access to a high-quality early childhood education while educators are compensated accordingly.