The Prouty Voice: January 2022

Simple tools to help during challenging times

By Chloe Learey, Executive Director

As we head into the third year of dealing with a public health crisis that has greatly undermined the social emotional well-being of children and adults alike, it is heartening to know there are some simple tools that can help counter some of the negative effects of the pandemic. The Basics is one of those tools. It is not the latest trend in supporting child development, a fad that will fade away over time. Rather, it offers an easy way to remember what you already know about helping your child’s brain develop and includes strategies for doing so through everyday activities that you are either already doing or want to be doing. We are excited to bring The Basics to the forefront again, hopefully in a way that is supportive and helps us know we can continue to do the most fundamental things to support child development even in the face of great challenges. One of the five elements of The Basics is to “maximize love and minimize stress”, and this applies to children and adults. Let’s strive to take care of ourselves so that we can be available to one another and to our children as we continue to face unprecedented times. Learn more about The Basics.

Resources & Events for families

Everyone Eats continues through April

Free locally made dinners will continue to be available on Wednesdays starting at 3pm.

Free produce through Veggie Van Go

Veggie Van Go is a program of the Vermont Foodbank and all families of school children and school staff are welcome. There are no eligibility requirements and no reservations needed. Here are the following dates:

  • Tuesday January 4th & 18th at BUHS from 10 AM to 11 AM 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro VT
  • Thursday January 6th at Academy School from 8 AM to 9 AM 860 Western Ave, Brattleboro VT.
  • Thursday February 3rd at Academy School from 8 AM to 9 AM, 860 Western Ave, Brattleboro VT.
  • Monday February 7th and 21st at BUHS from 10 AM to 11 AM 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro VT.
  • Thursday March 3rd at Academy School from 8 AM to 9 AM, 860 Western Ave, Brattleboro VT.
  • Monday March 7th and 21st at BUHS from 10 AM to 11 AM 131 Fairground Road, Brattleboro VT.

The Basics to Support Brain Development in Babies

Teachers at Winston Prouty’s Early Learning Center are using a research based strategy called The Basics to bolster brain development in infants & toddlers.  This strategy identifies 5 principles of learning that directly stimulate brain activity beginning at birth.  The principles include:
  • maximizing love, manage stress
  • talk, sing & point
  • count group & compare
  • explore through movement & play
  • read & discuss stories
Our teachers organize many daily activities that encompass these principles and activate brain function. Parents can easily support this process at home by:
  • Signing up for a free Basics Texting App, to receive age appropriate activities for your child via text.
  • Asking our early education staff for activities to use at home
  • looking for future spotlights on our Brightwheel App
We will continue to provide parents with activity ideas and updates regarding The Basics in future newsletters.

Early Learning Center News

Professional Development in the ELC

This month the ELC staff have been invited to join an ongoing conversation being had by Early Childhood educators across the country about the use of nicknames for children in our care.  We, at Winston Prouty don’t have a policy about this for the ELC, but we believe it is important to be exploring this aspect of our practice.  We see the ways in which nicknames can be an expression of care and connection, and we also recognize the ways in which they are tied to power, and can be experienced as dismissive, or disrespectful (to children, families, or both).  We have asked the teachers in the ELC to read what other Early Childhood professionals are saying as part of this conversation, and to reflect on their own use (or not) of nicknames in their classroom.  We would love for you to be a part of the conversation as well.  If you want to, and feel comfortable, we hope you might share with the teachers in your child’s classroom (or with Honor or Ann) your experience of nicknames, either in your own life, or here at Winston Prouty.  What experiences have you had with nicknames?  Were those experiences positive? Negative? Mixed?  What else do you have to contribute to this conversation?  We would love to hear from you.   

Acorn Room

December was a busy month full of developmental milestones with the group! We also had more inside time as it is starting to get more cold out for walks but we try to get outdoors as much as possible for these babies. We enjoyed bubbles, feet painting, and a fun water mat!

For the month or January will be a month of transition and settling back in to a routine as we had been off for a long vacation! We will be also welcoming two new babies as well!

Willow Room

Here in the Willow Room, we continued our focus on turn taking experiences, discussing feelings, and cooking. Our class continued to explore different doctor instruments and is continuing to play pretend doctor. We got a little bit of snow here and there to explore and learn how to navigate through, as this is the first time our friends are able to walk in it! For the new year, we look forward to seeing what new big ideas and interests arise from the children’s play. Since the season has changed to winter, our classroom will center our curriculum ideas around this theme.

Elm Room

December was a very busy month for the Elm children. The children have been exploring many new materials, play schemes, and friendships. As teachers, we’ve been very inspired by them and have followed their interests when offering activities. One example came when we had our usual fire drill towards the end of the month. The children were excitedly talking about it for days. After adding firefighter play props to the dramatic play area, they all worked together pretending to put out our big pillow fire! It was a great incentive for them to practice dressing with coats and full body suits. We also did some baking to extend their experience with playdough “baking” in the pretend kitchen.

We’re noticing a lot of strong bonds between the children. There are several pairs and small groups that are inseparable. It’s wonderful to hear them asking about each other in the mornings and watching them enter into sustained play with each other throughout the day. There is so much learning happening in this play – social interactions, persistence, patience, problem solving, language, storytelling, physical skills, and much more. It has been an intention of ours to let the children have long, sustained periods of uninterrupted play which gives them the opportunity to truly pursue their own interests in depth. We will be posting daily reflections about the activities of individual or small groups of children to make this type of child-initiated learning more visible. Please feel free to offer your ideas or share what you’ve been seeing at home!


Birch Room

The month of December in the Birch Room focused on the theme of “All Things Holiday!” Throughout the month, we touched base on all holidays which included Hanukkah and Christmas. The classroom was decorated with festive window clings and even a small little Christmas Tree to really bring the holiday spirit into the room. We continued to focus on the learning objectives of numbers as well as letters which were our focus, and we threw in some other objectives such as pattern work and putting our rhyming skills to the test. We also continue to work with our Second Step cards focusing on friendship skills in the classroom and identifying emotions within ourselves as well as our friends. We added some targeted learning into the Wednesday social/emotional realm which included a review of the classroom rules and a game focused on our schedule. This game involved the Teacher taking icons out of our daily schedule strip and seeing if the children remembered the sequence of our daily events. During our small group activities, we worked on tracing letters (specifically the ones in each child’s name) as well as making Christmas ornaments for our families as gifts! We continued to enjoy our Monday outdoor time with Alfred where we ventured to the pond, which is finally starting to freeze over, Barry the Flamingo’s house deep in the woods, we even got a chance to visit Mrs. Cranberry’s classroom and play by the river flowing through where we pretended to fish.

In the new year, we will be focusing on writing our name and attempting to make letters especially for those friends who will be venturing off to kindergarten. Our weekly themes will include topics such as Winter and new topics that our friends said they wanted to learn about in the new year before we went on break so stay tuned! Here’s to an exciting new year full of fun!


  • Jan 2 – Happy Birthday Chloe, Executive Director!
  • Jan 11 – Oz is 4!
  • Jan 12 – Happy Birthday Evon, Family Supportive Housing Coordinator
  • Jan 16 – Louisa is 3!
  • Jan 30 – Ian is 4!

Dates to Remember

  • Monday, January 17 – The ELC is closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • Friday, February 11 – The Center closes at noon for all-staff in-service
  • Friday, February 21 – The Center is closed for President’s Day