Georgia Educator Named PBS KIDS Early Learning Champion
PBS KIDS recently named Marla Howard as a 2023 honoree of the PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program. The awards, established in 2018, recognize and celebrate passionate educators who work with the nation’s youngest students, from infants to second graders. Howard is one of 14 early education professionals recognized this year. Through the Early Learning Champions program, PBS KIDS and local PBS stations surround educators with professional learning and networking opportunities.
With over 20 years of experience, Howard proudly serves her community and family as a beacon of early childhood knowledge. Her work began in her own home with her children and those of neighbors who would sit on the living room floor with breakfast, watching PBS KIDS programs. Marla later transitioned to working in Head Start with children ages three to six and was inspired by that work to reach families on a greater and deeper level. This led Howard to become a parent educator for the United Way of Central Georgia’s Parents as Teachers team. In this role, Howard interacts with families, sharing developmental tips and age-appropriate learning tools while encouraging parents to be their child’s first teacher. Howard builds strong relationships with the families she serves. She is most inspired by getting to follow the families on their five-year journey to kindergarten.
The PBS KIDS Early Learning Champions program, which has recognized 52 passionate educators of young children since its inception, including this year’s honorees, includes various early learning educators, including Pre-K and special education teachers; childcare center owners and directors; librarians and family literacy specialists; community and parent educators; and school counselors. The program represents the diverse community impacting young learners today. Supported by the CPB-PBS Ready To Learn Initiative, this year’s cohort will work on national co-design projects, such as professional development resources for educators, and everyday learning resources for families while also supporting Learning Neighborhood work across the country.
PBS KIDS and Georgia Public Broadcasting will also provide support in skill-building within the classroom, in-person and at-home, while encouraging these professionals to seek out their own personal and professional trajectories. These Early Learning Champions will also connect with education networks across the nation, and further their commitments to their community’s families, education officials, and administrators through the utilization of PBS KIDS and local PBS stations tools and resources.