The Prouty Voice: December 2021

Is the child care market in an economic death spiral?

By Chloe Learey, Executive Director

Across the United States, headlines of urban, suburban, and rural news markets herald the “crisis in child care.” Programs are unable to run at full capacity because they cannot hire enough staff, and others are closing altogether. Families are left in the lurch. And, women have dropped out of the workforce at an alarming rate since the onset of the pandemic as the challenges of child care fall on them to navigate. Since women are the primary workforce in child care this is a double whammy to the sector.

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Resources & Events for families

Fuel and Energy Assistance

Covering the cost of Vermont’s long winters can put a burden on our budgets. There are fuel and energy assistance programs that are here to help! For information about seasonal fuel assistance and weatherization, crisis fuel assistance, water and electricity assistance–and where/how to apply for each, visit this website.

PATH Behavioral Health Care

PATH Integrated Healthcare, or Path IHC, is an organization that specializes in providing high quality, innovative behavioral health treatment via strength-based solutions and positive approaches to care. They provide outpatient counseling, psychiatric services and medication therapy for struggling children, adolescents and adults. They are located on Canal St in Brattleboro. Learn more about their services.


Early Learning Center News

Professional Development in the ELC

“Each one of [us] has inside [our]self an image of the child that directs [us] as [we] begin to relate to a child. This theory within [us] pushes [us] to behave in certain ways; it orients [us] as [we] talk to the child, listen to the child, observe the child. It is very difficult […] to act contrary to this internal image.” – Loris Malaguzzi (from Your Image of a Child: Where Teaching Begins 

This month during our in-service, after reading the article Your Image of a Child: Where Teaching Begins by Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emilia Philosophy of teaching, teachers will share about their “image of a child” and we will co-create a shared center-wide image, which we will return to throughout the year and which will inform all of our classroom practices going forward.  We hope to find ways to continue to make what the teachers are doing and learning during more visible to families and to anyone who comes into the ELC.   

Farm to School Grant Awarded!

We are so pleased to share that we have been awarded $10,000 to fund our Farm to School initiative. This was a competitive state-wide grant, so we are very proud and very excited about how this investment will support our work. Our goals are to grow and maintain our garden by adding fencing, irrigation and raised beds so we can continue providing gardening activities for the children. We also plan to dedicate some of the funds towards food planning, curriculum design and child and parent education around nutrition and creating a sustainable food source. Lastly, to support our efforts of providing nutritious meals for the children in our care, we would like to invest in a commercial oven which will make processing food easier and more efficient.

Acorn Room

The month of November flew by for us as we had plenty of fun with all sorts of new materials and toys. We changed the environment around and added some fun and busy mobiles to look at and toys! The children are all becoming much more mobile and beginning to move around the room whether it be twisting and turning, rolling over, or even army crawling! We did a fun thanksgiving footprint turkey activity as well.

The month of December we will enjoy keeping to develop the relationships with one another as well as focusing on the children’s development as a group and as individuals! We also will enjoy and get to know Teacher Darby more!


Willow Room

In the month of November, the Willow Room focused curriculum and experiences around cooking. The class got to pour, mix, and of course taste test a few different recipes. We also incorporated cooking through sensory play by adding oats to the sensory table and making our own playdough with pumpkin pie spice in it. Our Willow friends also did some work in small groups with activities involving hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. We discovered many friends here are interested in playing doctor. They all love to listen to their own heartbeats and the heartbeats of their peers! For the month of December, we look forward to extending their interest in playing doctor and doing some holiday baking!

Elm Room

November has been a month of adjustments for both the children and teachers in the Elm room. It definitely feels like we are coming together as a strong, cohesive group in these last few weeks as we’ve been keeping a steady and predictable routine for everyone.

With the departure of Ann and Honor as a steady presence in the room, the arrival of Rebecca and Jack, and the rotating schedule of staff to cover planning meetings, the children have seen a lot of movement in one month! To help them manage the feelings that may come along with big changes like these, we have been talking a lot about our feelings, those of others, and how we can all work together to help each other feel safe, happy, and cared for in our classroom community. If you’ve been hearing anything about a new friend named Tulip, rest assured she is just a very friendly pig that lives in the room and talks with us about social emotional learning opportunities. The children love helping her and her friend Jeremy solve problems and find ways to play together!

The physical space of the classroom has also changed a lot. With some adjustments and additions, the room is abuzz day after day with the children busily exploring their interests and becoming deeply engaged in play. We’ve noticed a lot of interest in sorting small objects, cooking and serving in the kitchen, and cars and animals. Exercise is another big favorite in the room. We’ve enjoyed plenty of movement songs and games, have worked on making choices around how we can move our bodies vigorously and still be safe,  and have even introduced some small free weights for the kids to build up their strength! We hope to do much more of this active play in the month to come.


Birch Room

The month of November in Birch was an exciting one as we delved into the new and exciting theme of Fairytales! We looked/discussed books such as the “The Three Little Pigs”, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” We completed activities for our small groups such a Little Red Riding Hood board game which helped to work on our number recognition, we built the Three Little Pigs house using different colored paper as well as yarn to represent all three of the houses, and we worked on our pattern using our pattern bears during the week we looked at Goldilocks. The children enjoyed building towers and structures both in the train and the block centers this month. We even hung pictures of famous buildings throughout the world that the children could use as inspiration in their masterpieces. We also have been working on letter tracing specifically the letters in our names. Some other favorite centers of the month were the dramatic play area (which will be transformed in the coming months,) as well as the science area and the math area. We also spent time talking about the Thanksgiving holiday.

We continued our weekly outdoor trips with Alfred to places such as the “Swimming Pool,” The Salute to The Sun Bridge, woods walks to visit Mrs. Cranberry and much more. We also continued our weekly trip to the playground. Now that the ground is freezing and we are expecting snow in the next few weeks, time to bust out our snowpants and find new places to explore and look for animal tracks in the snow! During the month of December, we will be talking about Christmas! We will be talking about different types of holidays that are celebrated throughout the month as well.



  • Dec 3 – Happy Birthday Luisa, Early Interventionist!
  • Dec 10 – Solveig is 4!
  • Dec 16 – Happy Birthday Kathy K, Developmental Educator

Dates to Remember

  • Wednesdays, December 15 and 22 – Free meals from Everyone Eats at 3pm
  • Thursday, December 16- last day to donate to Project Feed the Thousands
  • Thursday, December 23 – Friday, December 12 – Center closed for winter break