Child care can open safely AND needs continued investment
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
The Great Pause of the Pandemic has given us an important opportunity to make a positive difference in the trajectory of some foundational features of our society including housing, food access, and child care. We have an opportunity to stand together and to work towards creating more equitable systems – starting with early care and learning for our very youngest children.
The importance of child care to children, families and our broader community has been strongly amplified during this time. Certain aspects of education can be provided remotely, but care cannot. In the earliest years, the essence of the education (social emotional development) happens via in-person care. Continue reading
We are currently recruiting for a Behavior and Consultation Support Specialist to join our Community Based Services Team. Learn more
Early Learning Center News
What an interesting season and time we are in. This summer brings new beginnings, new goals re-acclimating to our new normal as we greet our families back, and get to know our infants in a new way. We are introducing our summer curriculum as we wrap our brains around doing this in a respectful and mindful way to keep our community safe from Covid 19.
Although these babies may not remember us the same way as before they are becoming familiar with our new routines and getting to know us and the environment again. It has been so nice to immerse the program into the outdoor environment. We are using the garden more this year as a classroom and have had some fantastic experiences gardening with our infants! They are naturals and so curious and inventive. We spend time pulling the grass, playing in sand, exploring and splashing in water. They are incredible inventors in the outdoor world. It has been rewarding to open up the room and experience this with our families.
In July we welcome back more of our families and continue to use the outdoor classroom as our canvas for learning!
The Willow Room children have all seemed so happy to be back, and to really be enjoying the outdoor classroom. Thanks so much to the many hands (Alex and Eric especially) that went into helping it come together. During the first few weeks, everyone was working to get acclimated to the (somewhat) new environment, and with the help of photos from our previous time in the space as well as family photos in the outdoor classroom, the children seemed to warm right up to it. Daily “woods walks” and trips to the garden have occupied much of our time, and while out we noticed that the children really were observing and interested in the rocks along the path. One day several children had the following conversation when they stopped to look at, and pick up a few rocks:
Child 1: Whoa! This is a mama rock.
Child 2: Rock! Rock!
Child 2 (picking up another rock and showing it to child 1): Mama!
Child 1 (finding a different rock): And this is a dada rock too!
Each day that we have been in the woods the children have stopped to look at the different rocks, often referring to them as “mama”, “dada”, “baby” or “tiny” rocks. They have also started to notice texture, commenting that the rock is “smooth” or “bumpy” as well as color describing them as “shiny”, “grey” and “white”. One day we collected some rocks to bring back to our yard, where we put them on paper and traced them, and some children started to build rock towers, counting “1, 2, 3, 4…” as they stacked one rock on top of another. In the area where we hung our family photos we also hung representations of families made of rocks, to which one child commented “I think it’s like… a family rock!”. Last week a small group went out to see if we could find some really big rocks to add to our collection so we can start to build a “rock garden”. Carrying the larger rocks is a great opportunity for those children who need heavy work, and involving them in the slow process of building something over time also helps to support longer term planning and reflection skills. We are excited to post the photos in the rock garden for the children to be able to see the process and we are looking forward to seeing what else emerges from this exploration. We did notice a hole where we think an animal “maybe a chipmunk” or “a rabbit, I think” might live, so perhaps next we will be exploring different kinds of homes, and perhaps learning what kind of animal made the hole.
If you are in the mood for a rock collecting adventure and want to bring in any rocks to add to our collection we would love to see the variety that we can collect, and the possibilities for what we might be able to build. We are also looking for branches, in order to help us define the entrance to our rock garden, and any and all donations would be appreciated.
We were very excited to be back in action to some sort of norm at Prouty! We have enjoyed spending a lot of time outdoors with the children. Our favorite spot has become up near the pond, up in the woods. We have found many frogs (thanks to Marielle) who is a professional at frog catching. We also saw dragonflies as well. The children love to be up in the woods with the nature and being able to do a lot of pretend play. We also have been enjoying the garden and watering all the plants!
We are so happy to be back to working with your children! At the beginning of June, we welcomed back some Birch students as well as some Maple students, who transitioned a little earlier than normal to our room. Some of our Birch friends joined the Oak Room. All of them are doing amazing and we have really been enjoying the outside time so far. In June, we used the sprinkler or Slip N Slide on Wednesdays. We have been taking walks in the woods and enjoying the pond in the woods. At the pond we have been digging in the mud, listening and watching for frogs and exploring small animal holes. Walks around campus have included the “swimming pool” and the “salute to sun bridge”. We have played in the field at the top of the hill and enjoyed Story Time in a shady area by the field. We have also enjoyed using chalk, car ramps on the hill, balls, and painting with water.
We are looking forward to the rest of the summer and continuing to spend lots of time outside and being together as a group.
We are so happy to have you all back at school! The month of June has been filled with joyous reunions with friends and families as we have been able to come back together once again. We have spent the majority of our time outside exploring. Each day we find a new spot on campus to go and explore. We have been able to bring most of our activities outside. Children have enjoyed hiking on the trails, climbing and building at the rock garden, yoga and dance at the sun bridge, seeing our frog and dragonfly friends at the pond, balancing on the log bridge, and exploring our garden. We have learned to move our circle outside onto blankets and engage in choice time outside with favorite classroom materials. In the month of July we look forward to welcoming back more families to our classroom. It has been such a gift to see everyone in person again and we eagerly await the return of the rest of our ELC families!
Dates to Remember
- Friday, July 10 – Center closes at 12:00 All-staff in-service
- Friday, August 14 – Center closes at 12:00 All-staff in-service
- Thursday, August 27 – Summer Program year ends
- Friday, August 28 – ELC Closed
7/2 – Happy Birthday Sally, Maternal Child Health Nurse
7/2 – Happy Birthday Liz, ELC Kitchen support
7/3 – Happy Birthday Alex, Campus Facilities Assistant
7/10 – Happy Birthday Raphy, Acorn Room teacher
7/15 – Thatcher is 1!
7/26 – Jack is 1!
7/27 – Happy Birthday Kristy – Child Care Referral and Food Program Specialist
7/27 – Happy Birthday Tonya – CIS Specialized Child Care Coordinator
Resources & Events for Families
Red Cross Blood Drive – July 25
On Saturday, July 25, there will be a Red Cross Blood Drive held in The Great Room from 9:00-2:00 pm. Blood levels are historically low and this is our chance to help. For a limited time, the Red Cross will test all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies as an additional health service to donors. Sign-up to donate
Summer meals for kids and teens
Are you interested in accessing free meals for your children this summer? Summer meals are a fun, inclusive, EASY way to access yummy and nutritious meals for all children 18 and under. There is no paperwork required. More information
Tips for boosting your child’s learning – right to your phone!
What are The Basics? The Basics are five fun, simple and powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life. They are: 1. Maximize Love, Manage Stress, 2. Talk, Sing, and Point, 3. Count, Group, and Compare, 4. Explore through Movement and Play and 5. Read and Discuss Stories. Basics Insights is a text messaging program designed to support your child’s development and strengthen your relationship. Each week until your child turns three, Basics Insights sends two messages based on their age. Sign-up for Basics Insights tips via text