Darius Phelps, lead teacher in the infant classroom at the Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center, has received the 2016 Child Caregiver of the Year award for a large facility from the Georgia Association on Young Children.
In addition to his work at the Center, Phelps, a 2015 graduate in human development and family science, is currently pursuing a master’s of education degree.
“When I started off at the Child Development Lab almost five years ago, I met a child named Burke who changed my life for the better,” Phelps said. “Through his love, I learned what it meant to truly let go, have fun and just be yourself.”
After his encounter with Burke, Phelps said he knew he was destined to be a teacher and has worked diligently to get to know students on a more personal level and develop a mutual love and respect with every student.
“To be the recipient of this award so early in my teaching career is truly both an honor and a humbling experience,” Phelps said. “I owe it all to my grandfather who raised me to be the man I am today, and to Burke, for being the sole inspiration behind my teaching career.”
Phelps said he strives to engage his students through sensory activities and field trips around the UGA campus, and he has been praised for dedicating countless hours to each child’s progression.
“I want people to say I showed the world, regardless of your past or how unprivileged you are, impossibility is an illusion that your own doubt casts upon you,” Phelps said. “You have the power to train your thoughts and words to echo the kind of life you hope to lead.”
This is the second year in a row the CDL has had the top teacher in a large facility. In 2015, Siobian Minish, another infant lead teacher, was recognized by GAYC for her exceptional work with children.
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