The Prouty Voice: February 2021

Child development and public education are not synonymous

By Chloe Learey, Executive Director

In his inaugural address last week Governor Scott stated that he is “proposing to organize all the state’s child development work within the Agency of Education.”

This is an ambitious idea that is resurfacing at a time when there is a leadership vacuum in the Child Development Division as it currently exists. Creative thinking and big ideas are important for innovation and continuous improvement, and vetting ideas takes a broad range of input and expertise from across departments and community partners. This is particularly true for an area like child development which cannot be contained or defined neatly by one discipline.  Continue reading

Giving back to Winston Prouty

This month, there are two opportunities to support the Winston Prouty Center. Throughout February, Hannafords will donate $1 to us for every reusable Community Bag sold at their location on Putney Road.

And we’re currently fundraising for our winter bookmobile program. The bookmobile brings a lending library, teacher resources and engaging literacy activities to child care programs across Winham County, including visits to Prouty’s ELC classrooms. Learn more about the bookmobile and how to make a gift.


Early Learning Center News

Acorn Room

With the start of a new year, the Acorn room is preparing to go through some changes. Michelle’s last day will be March 12th as she embarks for her journey on the Appalachian Trail. We are still in the process of finding someone to step into her role. Jude and Vena are starting to visit the Willow room. They will be moving up in the next few months and, although it is hard to say goodbye, we know that they are ready for this next step! We will be getting a new baby in the next month and a part time third person to help with caregiving and cleaning. Amid so many upcoming changes, there is calm and peace in these cold winter days. We have been enjoying bundling for winter walks, cozying up with good books (our current favorites are “More, More, More, Said the Baby” by Vera B Williams and “That’s Not My Dragon” by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells), and exploring snow and water in our sensory buckets. The babies have also been doing more dramatic play. They have been using the metal bowls, rubber spoons, and sensory bottles to pour, stir, and eat their pretend meals. As we move into February we will continue to use our sensory buckets to explore snow and water. We will be doing “Snow Painting” using food coloring in small squeeze bottles and some water play with bubbles!

Willow Room

For the start of the new year, the Willow team really wanted to focus more on documentation and being intentional with our emergent curriculum. The beginning parts of this month were full of art experiences, dancing, outdoor exploration, and working on the harvest of the month getting the beets prepared. As we focused in on some big ideas emerging in the class, we started to pose banging and pounding provocations for the class. We used a range of materials from playdough, hammers and golf tees, frozen chunks of snow, and more. We then began collaborating about bringing more loose parts into the class to promote more open-ended experiences and child led play. We are all collaborating more and more to brainstorm new ideas to make the Willow class a rich and engaging learning environment for our students!

Elm Room

For the month of January, we enjoyed the outdoors when we could on warmer days. This group very much enjoys sledding and going fast down the hill. We did some activities outside such as water colors in spray bottles to spray the snow and other activities. We also enjoyed many sensory activities like orbeez in the table. We did a lot of painting too, as the children enjoy that.

In the month of February we will be learning more about emotions – our own and others as well. We will be introducing the story of “The Color Monster” -a story about feelings and emotions through the lens of colors too. We will be also doing transitions and move ups through the month as we say our farewells to Ryan and Ian who will be going to the Birch Room, and Aubrey is will be moving to attend her sisters school in NH. We will be welcoming Louisa and Shawn into the Elm Room all officially starting February 16th!

Birch Room

The month of January has been another fun and adventures month with lots of new learning activities that the children have been exploring! This month we focused on the season of Winter. We had weekly themes of snow, ice, snowmen, and dressing for Winter. Each week we had different circle activities and questions such as the hidden snowball game where Teachers labeled puffy snowballs 1-10 and the children had to correctly identify which number they had found or questions such as “What Is Your Favorite Activity to Do in The Snow?” or “What Are Sports That Are Played on The Ice?” We also had a couple of science experiments thrown in there that the children were able to participate in (they liked the cause-and-effect aspects of these activities!) We also continued our outdoor adventures to the “Swimming Pool” and we also found a new activity that we enjoyed of sliding on our bottoms down large, fast hills! We also started to explore patterns and rhyming activities as some of our small group activity as well as we worked on more process-based art projects such as ice painting!

The month of February is sure to be an exciting month as we welcome the last remaining Elm friends to the Birch Room, Ryan and Ian! We look forward to having them join our classroom and are excited to share in new adventures and learning opportunities with them. Their official first day will be Tuesday, February 16th. During this month, we will also be talking about animals in Winter as well as hibernation/migration and what these definitions mean. We will also have a week where we focus on the holidays of Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year!


Oak Room

The Oak Room enjoyed a busy January, playing the snow and sliding down the hill. Even though we have sleds most of them preferred sliding on their bellies and bottoms. They formed quite the train going down the hill all together. We also painted the snow in our sensory table with eye droppers, then checked it after it melted to see how all the different the colors mixed.  In the classroom, we read three different versions of The Mitten story and compared the story and the characters. We also used a mitten to estimate how many unifix cubes we could fit inside the mitten. The students had fun guessing the amount and then watching the mitten stretch to hold as many as possible. A big interest in the classroom right now is drawing and writing. They are working hard on writing their names and other names and words and their pictures are becoming very detailed. We also explored musical instruments, and everyone took turns playing a guitar. We are looking forward to more fun in all the new snow in February and studying the solar system.



  • Feb 2 – Happy Birthday La-Shaunda, Family Supportive Housing Coordinator
  • Feb 11 – Happy Birthday Kerri – CIS Intake Coordinator
  • Feb 11 – Ryan is 3!
  • Feb 15 – Madeline is 5!
  • Feb 16 – Nevaeh is 5!
  • Feb 17 – Happy Birthday Lisa W., Director of Campus Operations
  • Feb 21 – Madison is 3!
  • Feb 24 – Happy Birthday Paula, Finance Assistant

Dates to Remember

  • The Center will close at 12:00 on Friday, February 12 for in-service
  • The Center will be closed Monday, February 15 for President’s Day
  • The Center will close at 12:00 on Friday, March 12 for in-service
  • The ELC will close at 12:00 on March 26 for family conferences
  • The ELC will be closed on March 29 for family conferences

Resources & Events for families

Windham County Winter Resources Activity Guide

Vermont Child Development Division and University of Vermont are working together to understand how the early childhood system can better support children with special health needs in childcare settings. If your child 0-6 uses behavioral services, has ever been expelled from a childcare program or told your child was not a ‘good fit’ for a program, they would like to hear from you via a focus group or anonymous online survey. More information

Parent Circle: Feb 4th & 11th

Join other ELC parents on Thursdays at 7:00pm for an online conversation and connection: Feb 4: “The Good Enough Parent,” and Feb 11: “Intentional Parenting.” No registration necessary – click HERE to join.

Monthly Early Learning Express Virtual Visits – January 2021