Making sure the Early Learning Center is both high quality and accessible to families is a priority for us, and we are committed to ensuring that cost is not a barrier if a family wants to enroll. It is important to note that, because of the funds we raise through events like the Par for the Cause, this year we are providing over $40,000 of scholarship. We also strive to pay our staff well in order to attract the most highly qualified teachers and retain them. Turnover in the field is very high with the national average being 30% a year. We are fortunate to have long-time staff with an average of 8 years of service – ranging from 1 to 20 years at Prouty. Our excellent staff committed to providing the highest quality education and we are able to do so because of financial support through fundraising and other sources that help make tuition affordable without sacrificing quality.
Children’s Integrated Services are possible through state-funding, including Medicaid and other sources, and are made available to any family in the community who is expecting a child or has children 0 to 6 years. Although the number of families we work with and their needs continues to rise, this program is currently level-funded. Families that have a child with a disability or risk of developmental delay will not disappear because the funding decreases; these early years are the most important time we can provide interventions. That is why it is critical that we continue to provide the same level of service, and this is another area that fundraising will support.
Fundraising also helps raise awareness which helps us communicate the critical importance of quality early childhood services. After all, 80% of the brain develops by age 3 and 90% by age 5. However, when 40 to 50% of our children are not ready for kindergarten in Vermont, we have a lot of work to do.
Supporting the Prouty Center, whether through donation or attending its annual fundraising events, is an opportunity to make an investment and a difference in the lives of many young children in our community.
Thanks for your consideration.