Striving for a workable early childhood education system
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
A traditional greeting for the Maasai is “And how are the children?” Their culture understands the importance of measuring the health of the community by considering how well one of its most precious resources is faring. When we are not able to protect and invest in our most vulnerable citizens who are bearers of the future, it is an indication that all is not well. Or, that we are not choosing to invest in the future. As legislation is proposed and spending priorities debated in an environment of scarcity and competition for limited financial resources, the forces that divide us become more prevalent and we forget the ways in which we are all in this together. For instance, we can argue about how best to encourage economic development, whether it is by offering tax credits to employers for keeping or bringing their businesses to Vermont, investing in housing or making sure employees have access to childcare. Fundamentally it is an interconnected web and we need to understand and strengthen all the threads for the system to work best. Continue reading
COVID-19 & the Winston Prouty Center
The health and safety of our staff, our visitors and the children in our care is of utmost concern. We have formed an Organizational Health Response Team that meets daily to monitor, research and review updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. Please click here to read an update from this team.
We are currently recruiting for a Service Coordinator to join our CIS Early Intervention Team and a Maternal Child Health Home Visiting Nurse. Learn more
Early Learning Center News
The Promise of Spring is in the air. As the warm weather approaches, we are peeling off our winter snowsuits and enjoying the warm fresh air. The Acorn babies love being outside, they enjoy their walks on the campus. We have begun going to the yard and spreading a blanket out for everyone to roll and crawl on. We are looking forward to spending more time outside, motoring around, discovering leaves, grass mud and rocks. It always amazes me to observe how infants discover the world and nature. You see the wonder on their faces when a gentle breeze touches their cheeks, or they feel the warmth of the sunshine, or finding their shadow. The outdoor classroom lends itself to a whole other kind of teaching, learning and discovering. This month we are beginning some spring songs like Ratland Bog and some old school nursery rhymes. We will be reading about baby animals and outdoor play. And of course enjoying the warmer weather!
This month we have welcomed a new teacher, Wendy into our classroom. The Willow’s have really seemed to enjoy getting to know her, through a variety of experiences that she has provided. Particularly, Wendy has taken advantage of the time after rest when a few children are awake to introduce art opportunities, including painting with jello. In the mornings we have started splitting into small groups to allow the children a more in-depth opportunity to explore particular materials. It has been amazing to watch how focused and intentional they have been during this time. As we have observed the children during free play we have noticed that there seems to be a growing interest in small world play, including animals, people and doll houses. One afternoon the children worked with Wendy using play-dough to create “clothing” for the “people”/clothes pins. We are hoping to expand this opportunity by introducing more materials and creating a place in the classroom to explore this more in depth. We look forward to seeing how this can grow over time, and how the children will engage with the new materials and set-up.
The month of February we focused on some art for Valentines Day! We did some painting to create red and purples. We also enjoyed the magna-tiles and building big towers together. Another fun fine motor we did was Pom Poms in the sensory table with tongs
The month of March is always a fun one in th Elm Room. It is our “Fantastic Foods” Unit. We’re mixing it up this year and focusing more on fruits and veggies within the color of the rainbow. We explored some fruits and veggies with the color red, orange, ete. For example, one day we did red raspberries and red peppers. At the end of each week, we used the leftover fruit and veggies to create stamping with paint and we are hopeful that by the end of the month all the food stamping with colored paint will create a rainbow.
Maple room had a beautiful February full of art, music, and lots of forest time! We celebrated Black History Month by changing over our classroom library to feature all Black characters (Thanks, Sueno, for the books!). We started off the month learning about Garrett Morgan and his invention of the stoplight. We did a stoplight playdough activity, glued construction paper stoplights, and played Red Light Green Light outside. Later in the month, we learned about George Washington Carver and honored him by making peanut butter muffins together. In circle time, we sang songs by Ella Jenkins, which the children really enjoyed! We read some books about how we all look different from one another and that it is good to be different because being all the same would be boring. Dylan brought his guitar often and we enjoyed singalong time in our classroom and at All School Sing with Elm, Willow, and Acorn. Outside, we explored the forest and campus as much as possible (despite the big chill mid-month), and found lots of mud and shallow streams to splash and play in. In March, we will be learning all about different types of animals. Since March came “in like a lamb,” we are starting with baby animals, and we will go “out like a lion” with some big wild animals at the end of the month. We are excited to do more forest exploration in the mud season!
Despite being a shorter month, we have been very busy during February. We began the year exploring artic animals, forest animals, and playing the snow. We went sledding and practiced climbing up a big hill when it was icy. We also used wax paper to “ice skate” in the classroom. It was tricky at first, but we quickly figured out how to skate around and not fall. For Valentine’s Day we exchanged cards and had a special snack. We also worked on kindness for the day and earned heart stickers for our shirts when we were kind to a friend or teacher.
We are ending the month learning about Superhero’s. Many of our friends are currently very interested in this topic. We have explored how Superhero’s help people and how they use their powers. One morning we came to school to find our Superhero’s frozen in ice. Using water, scissors, and plastic knives we had to figure out how to get them out. This was a very exciting and engaging activity that lasted most of the morning. We even tried using salt to melt the ice. During Small Group we trained to be a Superhero by practicing our flying and counting the numbers to see how far we could fly.
The Birch Room is looking forward to Spring and the warmer weather. We will be exploring seeds, birds and bugs, just to start.
We have been enjoying the month of February in the Oak room. We had a wonderful celebration on Valentine’s Day with our friends and a lot of families sharing a delicious breakfast, reading special messages, and going for a campus walk with Alfred. We want to thank everyone who joined us or helped make a special treat.
The rock garden has been a favorite spot in our classroom to go explore. Children ask most days to go spend their outside climbing, sliding, building, finding special treasure rocks, playing in stick houses; the creativity for what to play in endless in this special place!
We have also been working hard on our fine motor skills; cutting, pegboards, gears, play-dough, and writing are just some of the ways we have been strengthening our hands. Teachers have noticed tremendous growth in the cognitive and language skills with our friends. Sitting back and listening to friends work on a project together we are hearing more planning, more description, and more analysis and problem solving skills. Children have been engaged in their choice areas of play for longer amounts of time and their creativity is blossoming.
Dates to Remember
- Friday, March 13 – Center closes at 12:00 All-staff in-service
- Friday, March 27 – ELC Closes at noon for Parent Teacher Conference
- Monday, March 28 – ELC closed for Parent Teacher Conferences
- Friday, April 10 – Center closes at 12:00 All-staff in-service
- Monday, April 20-Friday, April 24 – ELC Closed for spring break
3/6 – Happy Birthday Meg – Early Intervention Assistant
3/6 – Happy Birthday Carrie – Oak Room teacher
3/9 – Grayson is 3!
3/14 – Happy Birthday Michelle – Acorn Room teacher
3/14 – Happy Birthday Debbie – Substitute & Front Desk Support
3/20 – Happy Birthday Afred – Outdoor Program Coordinator
3/22 – Happy Birthday Angela – ELC Administrative Coordinator
3/29 – Happy Birthday Sueño – Early Childhood Outreach Specialist
3/29 – Happy Birthday Honor – Willow room teacher
Resources & Events for Families
Celebrate is Child and Adult Care Food Program Week: March 15-21
Did you know… last year the ELC served 15,389 meals to the children in our classrooms; our organization was reimbursed $7,809 which has made it possible to serve more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to the children in our care. Recently we updated our menu to add fresh green beans and the classroom will not be peeling and cutting their own cucumbers, which givesthe children an opportunity to explore and discuss where their food comes from. View the ELC Menu
No Small Matter Screening
Join Let’s Grow Kids for a screening of the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for leveling the playing field for children today— affordable access to high-quality child care. Panel discussion to follow. April 1st at the Latchis Theater & April 25th at Moore Free Library. More information
April is Month of the Young Child
Month of the Young Child is filled with dozens of FREE family friendly activigtes and events throughout April. New this year – local businesses are offering discounts and free items in recognition of MOYC. More information
In our most recent episode of Family Matters, Louis Josephson, Ph.D, President and CEO of the Brattleboro Retreat, joins Chloe Learey to discuss ACES, adverse childhood experiences – what they are and the role they play in working with children and families.