Living our values
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
We often check in with ourselves about how we live our organizational values in our work at Prouty. How are we including multiple perspectives? What are we learning? Who else could we be working with? Have we tried all the avenues we can think of to move forward?
- Inclusion – We believe children, families, and staff benefit from participating in an environment where everyone feels they belong, where individual differences and needs are embraced, and where everyone’s uniqueness is celebrated.
- Learning – We believe in fostering a culture of curiosity. We support children, families and staff learning how to be fully themselves. We want to be in the practice of learning in every moment. We are open to being changed by the work that we do.
- Collaboration – We believe in the power of groups to find solutions individuals cannot. We are committed to investing the time and resources necessary to work with our community partners and families to ensure that every child has access to the tools they need to thrive.
- Persistence – We believe that there is potential for every child and for every family. We are committed to joining families in addressing the most stubborn challenges, and to empowering children, families and staff to build their capacity.
We adopted these during strategic planning in 2014, and there we formally revisit our values to see if they still reflect reality. It is heartening to see how they hold true and to experience how they inform our expanded work on the campus. We are entering our 7th year of owning this amazing place and celebrating that all the space is fully leased. This has been a community effort, with people joining us as tenants and supporters, understanding that they have something to contribute to the success of this place, even if it is just patience with our processes as we continue learning how to steward this asset.
These values will also inform whatever future development happens here as well, partially evidenced by the vision statement for our planning process:
Transform and expand a treasured community asset to meet Brattleboro’s existing and future needs by:
- Building an inclusive, walkable neighborhood for everyone
- Connecting Brattleboro’s trails, nature and downtown
- Providing access to services, recreation, amenities, and culture
- Elevating the beauty of a unique and historic place
- Increasing Brattleboro’s sustainability, diversity, accessibility, economy, and vibrancy!
Living our values means letting them be guardrails that help us know where to go when there are not “right” and “wrong” answers. Even though the future is unknown, it is reassuring to know it can unfold in a way that is guided by some clarity. When in doubt, we can check ourselves: Is this inclusive? Does it reflect our learning? Are we collaborating? Have we been persistent?
Resources & Events for Families
Project Feed the Thousands collection begins
Winston Prouty is a collection site for our community’s Project Feed the Thousands initiative. Project Feed the Thousands was started in 1994 by Larry Smith, formerly of WTSA radio and Entergy Vermont Yankee, and George Haynes, formerly of the Brattleboro Savings & Loan. Their initial goal was to fill a single tractor trailer with food for people in Brattleboro area. Over the years, the need has grown. Project Feed has also grown in size and scope. Today, Project Feed the Thousands collects multiple tractor trailers’ worth of food and personal care items for thousands of people in and around six communities across southeastern Vermont and southwestern, NH. To make a donation, bring in your food or personal care item to the collection bin of the lobby in Thomas Hall. Look for this sign:
SASH supports families at home
SASH for All, or “Support and Services at Home for All,” is a pilot initiative funded by a federal grant. The overall goal is to work with residents to provide a broad and flexible spectrum of support and resources within the home to empower participants to achieve goals they have set for themselves. SASH for All is a completely free and voluntary program. The housing-based SASH staff work with individuals and families to assess health and wellness needs, connect individuals with resources, and attain their goals. Families and individuals under the age of 65 who live in qualifying affordable-housing communities are eligible. Link to sign-up.
Early Learning Center News
In November, the Acorn room experienced some changes and some things stayed the same. The colder weather has certainly been a change! Darby and Taylor have been wonderful helping the children, families and Jen get to know each other. We have watched the children as they play and they’re showing interest in moving their bodies and using their hands to hold and manipulate toys. We’ve provided instruments like drums and shakers, and other materials like tissue paper and ribbons to support their learning about their abilities to move things and make sounds. We’ve also brought in some mats and furniture to encourage moving and climbing under, on, over and through. For those eating solids, we’re eating at the table together, and enjoying each other’s company. We’re adding family pictures to our picture tree in the classroom. It is a great way to see our families and talk about them when we’re at school. In December, we are excited to welcome Alana and her family to our Acorn Classroom Family. We will all continue to try new things, explore with our senses, and share about our families.
“In the month of November, the Willow room environment was changed around to grow with the toddlers that make up our classroom. Climbing, dancing, vehicles, kitchen play, and looking at the world outside of our classroom have been some of our largest interests lately. The Willow teaching team took this opportunity to follow the lead and interests of the children by rearranging the classroom so that we now have a climber by the window that lets the children climb and see what is going outside, and we also made a larger more established kitchen/house area for all the cooking and dramatic play fun! Mark making is another new exploration happening in the Willow Room. We have been taping large canvases of paper to the floor and letting the children explore the experience of mark making with markers. It has been amazing to watch the children participate in this creative experience and we look forward to decorating our classroom with this new artwork!”
This month in the Elm room has continued to be musical, exciting, and messy. We started the month off finally being able to dress up in our winter gear and even though the snow didn’t stay for long, we were able to take advantage of the autumn ground by playing in the woods with our kaleidoscopes, jumping in massive leave piles which now have two hidden gloves beneath them, and exploring the “Rock garden” in the woods; a place that the Elm room has finally gotten to discover for the first time as a class. Inside the classroom has been pretty fun, too. New books to read, more handmade art on the wall, and for our Prouty Harvest meal, the Elm room helped bake a sweet potato casserole to share with our families and peers. To kick off the end of the month, we finally welcomed visits from our friend in the Willow room: Richy, who will be officially joining us in our classroom in December. We can’t wait for him to be apart of our class, and our friends are already so excited to have him join!
During the month of November, the Oak room discussed families and differences. We traced our bodies and gave them hair and eyes. As the harvest meal came closer, we prepared a fruit tray. We played in leaves, did some cutting, and graphing. We have also have been practicing recognizing our name and spelling it. We played with the wind tunnel and made kites to see if they would fly. In December, we will continue to talk about our names, families, and different celebrations around the world.
During the first snow of the season all of the children got up from the table and ran to the window to watch the snow coming down. One of the children said, “It’s like a blizzard out there.” Another child said, “I LOVE the snow. And I’m got my new thing to wear, to play in the snow.” The excitement and enthusiasm displayed by the children at this event spurred us to think about how we could begin to represent the children’s thoughts, experiences, and knowledge about snow (and winter) in our classroom environment. We began by introducing the idea of “resist painting” where you draw on white paper with white crayons, then paint over it with a color so the white shows through. Many children participated in making a “snowy scene” using this technique. We read the story about little bear, who wants something to put on when he goes out to play to play in the snow, and at circle we shared thoughts and memories about what snow is, what it is like, and what you can do with it, then in small groups we worked on adding “soft”, “fluffy”, “white” materials we had collected onto a piece of contact paper to make a snowy scene to hang in the window alongside our brainstorm about what we know about snow. We will continue to look for ways to represent the children’s thoughts and knowledge in our classroom environment, including a beading project and more books about snow and winter.
We would also like to extend an invitation to anyone who would be interested in sharing about any celebrations or traditions that your family has this time of year. The other day when we were looking at our classroom calendar one of the children shared that “it [was] the first day of Advent.” when asked what “Advent” is, the child responded, “the day that I open my Advent calendar.” This prompted us to think about the many ways that families might celebrate this time of year, and Lucy has expressed interest in sharing with the children how she celebrates Hanukah (likely with some cooking opportunities). If anyone has something they would like to share with us about any aspect of your family’s traditions, or favorite books to share we would love to hear about them, as we continue to make connections with what is going on in this season we are experiencing together.
- December 10 – Yuki is 1!
- December 10 – Solveig is 5!
- December 14 – Happy Birthday Shanti, Administrative Support Specialist!
- Decemeber 16 – Happy Birthday Kathy, Early Interventionist/Early Intervention Program Coordinator
- December 20 – Happy Birthday Mariah, Supervised Visitation Program Coordinator
Dates to Remember
- Friday, December 9 – Center closes at noon for all-staff in-service
- Friday, December 23 – Center closed for Christmas holiday
- Monday, December 26 – Friday, December 30 – Center closed for Winter Break
- Monday, January 2 – Center closed for New Years Day holiday
- Monday, January 16 – Center closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day