Campus Planning Update
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
September and October have been busy with campus planning, and we are putting our grant from the Thompson Trust to good use. It is inspiring to feel the energy and support of the many people helping us in the process, from staff to campus tenants to at-large community members. Some interesting ideas are being explored for the future of making the campus sustainable.
Recruiting for the campus task force happened in late August and early September and resulted in 22 people from across the community committing to being part of the planning process over the next few months. The task force is focused on four main areas of research: real estate, infrastructure, community integration and financial analysis. The framing question is. “How can we achieve short-term financial stability and alleviate capacity pressures on Prouty in order to support the development and implementation of a long- term plan, without limiting the plan’s possibilities?
The Book Nookc
By Sueño LeBlond, Early Education Outreach Specialist
Welcome to Book Nook, where I get to recommend books I believe are worthy of reading to your child(ren) or reading to yourself, even. They’re that good. Today’s choice Hush, Little Baby by Marla Frazee.
Marla Frazee is author/illustrator who first came to my attention in while reading the book Reading Picture Books to with Children. This book pointed out nuances of color and book design used by Frazee in her illustrations of Hush, Little Baby which has forever changed the way I look at children’s books. (And I’ve been looking at picture books pretty closely for a while now!)
You are likely familiar with the lullaby “Hush, little baby, don’t say a word, Papa’s going to by you a mocking bird…” but few of us have ever considered a narrative beyond the listing of items in the song. Frazee creates a compelling drama which begins in the illustrations provided before the text begins. Here, we see a jealous big sister give her baby’s cradle an angry shove, setting off the crying that she then tries to quell.
This book is an excellent choice to share with children as young as two, especially those with younger siblings. Take note of the yellow end papers (the pages glued to the inside of the cover boards) and notice how that yellow is the same color as the protagonist’s dress and is used to highlight other items throughout the book.
Don’t just read or sing the words to the song. (Okay, maybe the first time you read it, but don’t just read it once!!) Talk about the story being told in the illustrations. The words, after all, do not carry a narrative arc, but more of a background melody to what is taking place in the pictures.
Finally, make a mental note to always start at the very beginning of a book when reading with children – don’t skip over the end pages, copyrights page, title page, etc. – very often, especially in picture books, important information is contained in these pages!
In September, our Early Learning Express bookmobile attended the River Valley Kids Fair. Children and families got to explore the bookmobile, while staff and board volunteers giving out free books and information to visitors.
Early Learning Center News
Emergency Alert System
The recent power outage and subsequent communication about our early release was a great opportunity to practice and assess the systems we have in place for contacting families. The experience allowed us to test the capacity of our center to reach families in a timely manner during a total power loss.
We have recently subscribed to an emergency alert system called One Call Now. This system is very similar to what local school districts use. It will allow us to send a voice, text and email messages to every family at the same time with the same message. In the next few weeks we will be testing this system. If you have any questions about this or would like to update your contact information, please stop by the front desk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bluetooth speaker
- CD player (with or without) bluetooth speaker
- 4T pants (preferably pink)
Happy first birthday to Aria, Cade, and Shawn! These three will be moving up to Willow room this month as they become young toddlers, who are wanting to walk, climb, and explore every nook and cranny. They have already begun visiting their friends in the Willow room and are enjoying all of the open space and opportunities for motor development thoroughly. We will miss them dearly, but know they are ready.
With their departure, we welcome in new babies—Kennedy (Madison’s sister) , and a new acorn Thatcher. We look forward to meeting these new babies and learning their individual rhythms and routines.
We have been decorating the Acorn classroom for fall. Nancy has laminated some especially beautiful leaves and taped them to our floor for the babies to crawl over and explore. Our younger babies are enchanted by Raphy’s leaf and bell mobile hanging from the ceiling. We have been loving these cool fall days and have been enjoying playing out in the yard, rolling in the leaves, and crunching them between our fingers. It has been just beautiful outside! We have been starting to bundle in warm sweaters, jackets, suits, hats, and booties.
This month in the Willow Room we added an “art studio” to our classroom. This is an opportunity for children to have a specific space in which to explore, learn about the properties of, and build relationships with a variety of art materials. We have worked to think through different ways of engaging, including listening, touching, and looking. Our provocations have ranged from bubble wrap on top of paint, to using an image of a piece of artwork created by Andy Goldsworthy to explore color. We have used cray-pas and paint dabbers, squeeze bottles and fingerpaint. We have explored how the texture of paint changes when we thin it with water, when we add soap, and when we mix it with glue. The children have also been learning how to prepare to use the materials by putting on smocks, and how to clean up, washing their hands and returning materials to the shelf before they leave the space. In our experience having distinct opportunities creates novelty, which increases creativity, and allows for a new level of depth in learning. This is also true of having opportunities to revisit the same materials in new ways. We are looking forward to seeing how the children will respond as we continue to provide them with space and time to explore materials in the art studio, and throughout the room.
October is always one of the busiest months. We enjoyed doing much orange art activities and many circle and movement activities too! We also enjoyed going to our home visits, so thank you to all the families that were flexible on those two days for conferences and letting us into your homes too! We also had the Fire Department st
The biggest highlight in October by far was home visits. It is our favorite event and time of year. I truly love meeting our families outside of school, when we are not in a rush, or exhausted after a long day of work. It is so wonderful to be welcomed by all our families and strengthen our relationships. We are thoroughly blessed that you are so trusting and patient with us. After all you are the expert about your child, and we need your help and support in order to do the best job possible. Please always feel welcomed to stay, help in the classroom, share your ideas and of course ask questions. We love when you visit us!
To celebrate October, we introduced some gentle Halloween traditions such as pumpkins, jack o’lanterns, witches, ghosts, and dressing up in costumes. Most of our Maples are still scared of this tradition, and it is important that we remember how “tender” they are. While some children loved wearing costumes, others refused or wanted it off “right now” Thankfully our Maples this year all wanted to wear a costume for the Halloween Parade. We had so much fun waving to our Prouty supports, that some of us were so sad when the parade stopped. Luckily, it was our woods walk day and we went with Alfred to the “Pool” and ran around in the leaves. Then we practiced our stair climbing and went “step-over-step” up the stairs.
In October the Birch Room was very busy studying pumpkins and the changing leaves. We made some leaf mosaics to hang in our window and talked about the changing colors. We also used pumpkins for measuring and weighing and compared sizes. Then we carved a pumpkin and made pumpkin bread. We ended October with a field trip to Gaines Farm where we went through the corn maze, fed the cows, and played on their playground and jumping pillow. We ended the trip with a picnic lunch. Thanks to all the chaperones that joined us on the field trip. On Halloween we participated in the school wide parade and then enjoyed a spider snack made with crackers, cream cheese, pretzels and raisins. Our classroom has been very interested in building so we have started November with a building unit and will finish by talking about Thanksgiving and things we are thankful for.
Dates to Remember
- Wednesday, November 27 – Harvest Feast
- Friday, November 28-29 – Center closed for Thanksgiving holiday
- Friday, December 13 – Center closes at 12:00 for All-staff meeting
11/1 – Josephine is 3!
11/7 – Tadhg is 2!
11/7 – Zoey is 5!
11/16 – Aria is 1!
11/17 – Happy Birthday Nancy, Acorn Room teacher
11/17 – Happy Birthday Lisa Atwater, Family Support Worker
11/22 – Fern is 2!
11/23 – Alex H is 4!
11/24 – Cortland is 4!
11/24 – Raehlynn is 3!
11/24 – Shawn is 1!
11/24 – Payton is 4!
11/25 – Averyana is 5!
11/25 – Alex D is 4!
Resources & Events for Families
Dinner Together – Friday, Nov 22
Dinner Together is a gathering for families who are struggling with mental health or trauma who would like to find connections and support with their peers. Friday, November 22, 2019, 5:30-7:30pm at the Winston Prouty Center. Hosted by the Copeland Center. For more information, contact Katie Wilson at 802-451-0140 or email@example.com. Child care provided.
Toys for Kids
The Marine Corps League is taking appointments for its 2019 Toys for Kids Program now through November 22nd. Calls are accepted Monday-Friday, 4:00-7:30 pm. Applicants will need a Social Security card or Medicaid card when making the appointments and picking up gifts. The program is available for children ages newborn through 12. For more information, call 802-451-6422.
Extra help to buy more food
3SquaresVT gives you extra money every month to help buy more food. If you qualify you can use your benefit to buy food at many local stores and farmers markets. The minimum benefit is $15 although you may qualify for much more. $15 could buy; 1 quart of milk, a loaf of whole grain bread, a can or tuna, 1lb of carrot, 1 lb. frozen green beans, a small bunch of bananas, ½ lb. of chicken breast and a can of black beans. The gross income limit for a family of four is $3,971. With winter and the holidays just around the corner, why not apply now? More info
How do we make Windham County the best place for kids?
Come meet your legislators on Tuesday, December 3rd at 5:30 pm at the Winston Prouty Center. Hosted by Southeast Vermont Building Bright Futures council. Connect with parents, early educators, pediatricians and legislators to share ideas about how to make our community the best place to raise a family. Learn about our local early childhood council and inform our priorities. Food and child care provided. RSVPs gratefully accepted with child care needs to Dora: firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-275-7530
Winston Prouty Podcast
Be sure to catch the latest episodes of our podcast, which you can find on your favorite podcast platform. Our most recent conversation is with Sarah DiNicola, Executive Assistant