The Prouty Voice: April 2022

A Vermont Secretary of Early Childhood?

By Chloe Learey, Executive Director

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu recently announced that she is creating an Office of Early Childhood. This innovative news offers the opportunity for us to reflect on how the state of Vermont is doing with early childhood systems a year out from Governor Scott’s proposal to dismantle the Child Development Division, the closest thing we have to our own office of early childhood. The plan, which is on a shelf but not necessarily moth-balled, would have moved early care and learning and Early Intervention to the Agency of Education, home visiting to the Vermont Department of Health and child care subsidy to the Economic Services Division.

Since that time a Deputy Commissioner has been named, key leadership positions, including Children’s Integrated Services Director, have been filled and Building Bright Futures was tasked with overseeing an early childhood systems analysis.

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Resources & Events for families

The BASICS RAFFLE for Families with 0-3 year olds

Sign up to receive FREE BASICS TEXT MESSAGES that share brain boosting activities for infants & toddlers. Your name will go into a raffle to win a basket filled with BASIC Brain Development Tools for both adults & children, including books, gift cards, toys and other fun and educational treats! This service is supported by Early Education Services & Building Bright Futures Council of Southeastern Vermont. Sign-up at

Rocking Horse support group begins April 20

The Rocking Horse program is a free, 10-session educational support group that serves pregnant and parenting women who are at risk for alcohol or drug misuse – or who are experiencing the effects of a partner’s substance misuse. The group meets virtually from 11:00 – 1:00pm for 10 sessions starting April 20th. More information

Upcoming Month of the Young Child Events – Philosophy, Free Diapers & Art Kits!

Read and Imagine with Everywhere Philosophy
Saturday, April 9, 11:00-11:45 – Winston Prouty Campus, Austine Dr, Brattleboro
Are imaginary friends real friends and what does it even mean to be real? Join Everywhere Philosophy for a story, discussion and activity about friendship, imagination, and existence through Dan Santat’s, The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend.

Early Education Services Diaper Giveaway
Saturday, April 9
Early Education Services, 130 Birge St, Brattleboro
Sign-up in advance to pick up your two free packages of diapers. Contact Sandy Stark at

Preschool Art Fun Kits
Monday, April 11 – Friday, April 15, 10:00-4:00
River Gallery School Main Street Studio, 32 Main Street, Brattleboro
Free art kits available for pick-up. Please email Jess at to reserve a kit.

Early Learning Center News

Professional Development in the ELC

This month at our staff meeting the teachers are learning about “Inquiry based-learning” and the “cycle of inquiry”.  As we move more and more in a direction of planning based on the children’s interests, and using their questions to guide our teaching and our curriculum (called “emergent curriculum”), the teachers will start by creating a list of all the questions that the children are asking throughout the day.  Once they have this list of questions they will work as a team to think through what types of opportunities they might plan based on the children’s curiosity. As parents and caregivers, we know that you also hear many of your children’s questions, and we hope that you will feel free to share them with your child’s teachers as a way to connect your child’s life at home with their time at school.  What questions have you heard your child asking?  What do you think they might want to know more about based on these questions?  We hope you will feel free to share as you are inspired.  Looking forward to learning more together!    

Acorn Room

March was a busy month in the Acorn Room. We had family conferences and it was great to spend some time with the families and communicate as sometimes during the week it can be hard! We also enjoyed some fun footprint art projects as well. We are finally warming up to having Sophie in the Acorn Room and developing sleeping and eating routines. 

In April, we will be focusing on having the children gain more independence in and out of the classroom. We have set up the room in a way that the children can all We also will be doing some fun exploring with sensory activities such as ice cubes filled with toys, jello and water bead 

Willow Room

In the month of March, we continued to provide more sensory experiences to explore. The Willow students have enjoyed the transportation of ingredients/materials from one bin to another. They have been gaining more control and hand eye coordination through these dumping and filling experiences.

We have also been enjoying campus walks outside. We listen for birds and observe different cars that we see. Many friends really enjoy looking at rocks and finding the perfect walking stick to hold and bring along on the adventure too! On a hike through the trails one day, we got to see a big hawk which was exciting! We look forward to spending more time adventuring in the woods and learning about animals that live there.

Oak Room

In the month of March, we decided to hold off on clay projects. Everyone was very interested in what was happening outside when we finally made it to spring. There was a lot of interest in building and the sensory bin. When the snow melted, we got to climb on the slide, and there was a lot of mud to explore! We saw some chipmunks running around the playground and some flowers blooming. We observed the water moving under the ice when it was melting and we observed a red-tail hawk because it flew over us. 

In the month of April, we will talk about the five senses. We will cook banana bread for the ELC. We will be listening to different sounds and talking about how it makes us feel. We will taste different items to see if they are sweet, salty, bitter, sour, or savory. For smell, we are going to smell different items and guess what they are, along with making paint with spices. When we talk about touch, we will glue items with different textures and make collages that we can hang throughout the Oak Room. We hope to help out with gardening and will start to ask the children about what they want to do in the outdoor classroom. 

Birch Room

During the month of March, the Birch room focused on the theme of construction and building! To go along with the theme, we had various pictures of famous buildings from around the world that the children could draw inspiration from to build their own creations. We also worked on building fancy marble tracks! It was fun to figure out how to arrange the pieces to make the marble get to the bottom successfully. During our morning circle time, we played a construction movement game where we had to make certain movements with our bodies such as “dig the dirt” and “pick up the bricks.” We also continued to work on our number and letter recognition which has been going very well! For some of our art projects for the month, we worked on shamrock sponge painting for our St. Patrick’s Day theme one week, and we also did some “tracks” painting where we used different vehicles and their tires to make tracks out of paint. We also celebrated a birthday within the classroom when our friend Grayson turned 5! We continued to go on our many outdoor adventures to the “Swimming Pool” and take long woods walks through Mud City to the top of the Big Hill where we played games with our friends. March also saw the return of visits to the playground now that the snow and ice have melted!

During the month of April, we will be focusing on a Spring/Gardening/Bug theme within the classroom. Also, from what we have heard, the Garden Room (the former Acorn room,) will be up and running soon so we can start helping to plant seeds for our garden that we anticipate starting to grow in May! With the return of the warmer weather, we anticipate being outside a bit more as the month goes on also


  • April 2 – Molly is 4!
  • April 3- Happy Birthday Brenda B, Birch Room teacher
  • April 3 – Jackson is 3!
  • April 4 – Archer is 5!
  • April 5 – Happy Birthday Alyssa K, Birch Room teacher
  • April 8 – Happy Birthday Jack, Oak Room teacher
  • April 11 – Kylie is 2!
  • April 12 – Happy Birthday Sarah D, Communications Coordinator!
  • April 16 – Happy Birthday Katrina M, Child and Adult Care Food Program Coordinator & Referral Specialist
  • April 21 – Happy Birthday Kim S, Pyramid Model Specialist/Licensed Pre-K Teacher
  • April 25 – Aiylah is 5!
  • April 27 – Piper is 1!
  • April 28 – Monty is 1!
  • April 30 – Kennedy is 3!

Dates to Remember

  • Friday, April 8 – Center closes at noon for all-staff in-service
  • Monday, April 18-Friday, April 22 – ELC Closed for spring break
  • Monday, April 25 – Friday, May 6 – Prouty Plant swap (see Farm to School below)
  • Friday, May 13 – Center closes at noon for all-staff in-service
  • Sunday, May 15 – Family Garden workday
  • Monday, May 30 – Center closed for Memorial Day

Farm to School

What is in a seed?

Magic. Hope. Joy. Beauty. Food. Life.

Planting seeds with young children exposes them to the joy and wonder of nature. While doing the real work of gardening, children ask questions, make predictions, observe, and with adult guidance, learn to record what they notice. This is quintessential hands-on science education in the early years.

How is it that these little seeds can hold the stuff of entire pumpkin vines, a full spectrum of colorful flowers, and majestic oak trees? Planting seeds and tending to them as they provide us with beauty and food (and even when the plants fail to thrive) allows children to make meaningful connections with the land and food that sustains them.

Over the next few weeks, Winston Prouty’s Farm to School Team is looking forward to working with classrooms to start seeds and prepare the school garden for the growing season. Already, children from the Oak Room collected soil samples to send to the UVM testing lab. We look forward to improving our garden’s soil composition, irrigation system and more, thanks to the Farm to School & Early Childhood Grant we received from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Markets.

Wish List

Volunteers – Are you interested in being part of our Farm to School Team? Want to be a regular Garden Gnome? We would love to have you!

Paving and edging materials – Have a few bricks, paving stones, a bucket of pea stone, or something else that can be used to create a mixed materials garden path? We could use it to define our garden paths from the beds!

If you answered, “Yes, that’s me!” contact Sueño. (

Prouty Plant Swap – 4/25 through 5/14  

By dividing, we multiply!  

Winston Prouty’s Farm to School team is excited to host a plant swap in front of Thomas Hall this spring. Families and friends are encouraged to share in the abundance of our collective home gardens. The rock wall in front of Thomas Hall will be our staging area where people can drop off plants, peruse the offerings, and leave with new plants. We encourage donations for plants that you leave with, as a way to support our Farm to School efforts. 

How it Works – The Big Picture 

  • Between April 25th and May 6th, we invite families and friends to drop off plants along the rock wall. Plants should be pest free and labelled.  
  • Beginning May 2nd people can select plants from the rock wall to take home.  

How it Works – The Details 

  • We welcome perennial divisions, extra plants from your garden six-pack, seeds, and rooted clippings from your favorite house plant. 
  • Help some of us new gardeners by labeling plants with as much information as you can: Name, light requirements (sun, shade, part sun, etc.), soil and water requirements and a brief description (height, color, flowering, etc.) 
  • Bring your labelled plants and find the right location along the wall: hardy perennials, tender annuals, house plants, seed packets. This will help others find suitable plants for their landscaping and help us manage the plants that need to be covered or brought inside each night.