By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Educator, nutritionist, chef, janitor, nurse, nurturer. Few people have such extensive job descriptions, but Family Child Care providers must be all of these things and more.
Tess Johnson, FCC in-home childcare provider, goes above and beyond to provide exceptional care for the six children, ages one through six, she cares for in her home, all of whom have some sort of special need. For this reason, Johnson has been selected as the 2012 FCC Provider of the Year.
Johnson, a former physical therapy assistant, has been an FCC provider for Peterson Air Force Base since January 2012. “I got into childcare because I wanted to stay home with Lea (Johnson’s youngest daughter),” she said. “I love working with kids.”
Johnson said she places an emphasis on learning through play, and takes into consideration each child’s abilities and interests. Recently, Johnson’s crew has been interested in dinosaurs and Peter Pan.
Karen Kirshenbaum, FCC coordinator, said, “Tess includes a lot of outdoor exploration and creative art, and sand clay, a lot of sensory experiences. She has her backyard set up so it’s very developmental for a multi-age program.”
Her medical background has been useful in working with the variety of therapists who come to her home to work with children. Additionally, Johnson is certified in pediatric first aid, CPR and phlebotomy, which allows her to give injections or draw blood.
Being an FCC provider isn’t your standard 9-to-5 job. Johnson is an extended duty care provider, meaning she provides care in the evenings and on weekends, even caring for children overnight in certain situations.
Kirshenbaum said the families rave about Johnson. She has encouraged Johnson to get her degree in early childhood education because she has a knack for working with young kids. “We are so proud of her,” Kirshenbaum said.
For more information about the FCC program, call 556-4322.