Census 2020: Make sure to count the children
The beginning of a new decade brings the opportunity for everyone living in the United States to be counted. The Constitution requires the population be counted every 10 years, including all ages, all ethnicities, all workers, all students, those who are retired, homeowners, renters, those who are homeless, and immigrants regardless of documentation. While the form can look complicated, there are essentially 9 questions: (1) how many people are living in the home or apartment on April 1st, (2) how many other people are staying there on April 1st, (3) is the home owned or rented, (4) telephone number, and for each person in the dwelling (5) sex, (6) age, (7) date of birth, (8) ethnicity, and (9) race. There is not a question about citizenship. Continue reading
The Book Nooke
By Sueño LeBlond, Early Education Outreach Specialist
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In honor of Dr. King’s dream, I share the following book in which the characters see past their artificial differences and join hands, confident in the goodness of the other’s character. There aren’t many picture books depicting children engaged in positive, cross-racial connections, so it is important to find the ones that do and share them with our children. This sends the powerful message that we can play and work together, enjoying the companionship of people different from us.
Chris Raschka’s book Yo! Yes? is the story of two boys – one black, one white; one shy, one outgoing – crossing paths on the street. With the open mindedness and curiosity inherent in young children, this seemingly unlikely pair relate to one another and joyfully accept each other as new friends.
The reader’s tone of voice is essential to a successful reading of this book. The story uses simple text (34 words total) and is largely told through Raschka’s expressive illustrations. Therefore, the reader must be inspired by the body language and facial expressions to modify their tone of voice to convey the emotional energy of the pictures. Reading this book is like acting on a stage.
When done well, Yo! Yes? is an instant hit for children as young as two years old. I have had several groups of children ask for it to be read several times in a row, delighting each time in the pacing and intonation. While the first time through is often read without interruption, repeat readings should take time to pause and examine the story more closely.
When talking about the book, first focus on universal themes like feelings and friendship. How are the children feeling? How can you tell? Why do you think they feel that way? Let these questions guide your conversation and let the child lead from here.
Be prepared to speak about race if your child brings it up. Acknowledge that the boys in the book have different colored skin in a matter of fact way. Look for other things that are different about them – their clothes, perhaps, or personalities. Think about similarities and differences you notice between each other. Make a point of saying that despite our differences we all have feelings and want good friends.
We can raise children who judge others, not “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” just as Dr. Martin Luther King dreamed. But we must be mindful that this is an intentional act that requires right action. Be sure your child has access to diverse books. Don’t be afraid to talk about what makes us different; there is strength and beauty in our diversity. Commit to making the world a better place for ALL people.
Our 50th Anniversary: A Look Back
Early Learning Center News
Welcome back from holiday! Hopefully everyone is refreshed and rested and embracing the winter days, welcoming our slightly longer days back, little by little. As I look out our picture window onto the garden blanketed with snow, I begin to dream of what to grow and plant with our little ones in the spring. By then they will all be motoring around in different ways. Because we are on a rotating schedule, we often see babies discovering and inventing movement in curious and authentic ways throughout the year and in their time. We do however see a flow and trend towards certain postures and movements the first year of life. Each posture represents a milestone of growth and development so it’s really exciting to see them as they begin to roll, side sit, creep and crawl, stand and walk. Outside our classroom we put a bulletin board together of different postures and movement milestones that we have seen with the last four groups. Come take a look! Some of the babies might look a little familiar! As we watch them unfold from prone position to stand and all the in betweens, we witness and are amazed at how these little ones discover their bodies and their world.
With snow outside and more gear to put on, going outside has become a bigger focus of our time in the Willow Room. Sledding, climbing snow banks, and trying not to slip on the icy spots have been some of the new experiences brought with this change in weather. There has also been a lot of excitement about putting on (and taking off!) hats, mittens, and boots. The Willows are working on self-help skills as they practice putting their own things back in their own cubby when we come back inside. To help with this and as a way to naturally incorporate literacy into the classroom environment, we have added photos of each child alongside their names in the bottom of their cubby. Most of the children have been excited about saying each others names, and identifying which items belong to each of the other children throughout the day. The Willows have also started working on putting away their own things after rest, and seem to feel a great deal of accomplishment when they complete the task. It has been amazing to see how much they are growing, and learning each day, and we look forward to continuing our time together in the new year.
In December, the Maple room got to meet their new teacher, Jocelyn. The Maples read stories about winter, painted pinecone ornaments, made big snowpeople, took long snowy walks through the campus and forest, and celebrated the traditions of both Christmas and Hanukkah. We even made latkes together! Thank you to Joey’s mom, Melanie for helping us learn about Hanukkah and for bringing in dreidels, decorations, and a menorah. In January, we will be learning more about the wintry world around us, practicing putting on our snow gear independently, and doing some colorful art projects to contrast the white outdoors.
The Birch Room spent December enjoying the outside and the snow. We went sledding down the hill behind the classroom and played on the mounds of snow made by the plows. We really worked on our gross motor skills, climbing up and down these hills. We also hung small jingle bells on the tree outside our classroom. As part of our curriculum we studied jingle bells and played lots of jingle bells songs and games. We also talked about giving and how good it feels inside to give a present. We made presents for our classmates, name bracelets, and presents for our families. We also talked about gingerbread and made gingerbread people. We read the Gingerbread Man, The Gingerbread Boy, and the Gingerbread Baby and compared the stories. At the end of the week, we made gingerbread cookies that we shared we the rest of the center! The last day before vacation we made a special snack using strawberries, bananas, marshmellows and choc chips. It was fun to make and eat! We were all looking forward to the Holiday Break and now that it is January, we will be discussing winter, ice and snow and what animals do in the winter.
Dates to Remember
- Friday, January 10 – Center closes at 12:00 for All-staff meeting
- Friday, February 14 – Center closes at 12:00 for All-staff meeting
- Monday, February 17 – Center closed for Presidents Day holiday
- March 28 – 6th annual indoor mini-golf benefit: Par for the Cause
Celebrations & Recognitions
1/2 – Happy Birthday Chloe, Executive Director
1/6 – Happy Birthday Jocelyn, Maple Room teacher
1/12 – Happy Birthday Evon, Family Supportive Housing Coordinator
1/19 – Jade is 4!
1/21 – Kai is 5!
1/28 – Madison is 4!
Resources & Events for Families
Get out the Basics – January 29
Come learn about, and become a champion of, The Basics Vermont! Five fun, free, and simple ways to help every child have a strong start from birth. More info
Mister Chris & Friends in Concert – February 22
Jump, jump, jump up and down! Dance and sing along as Mister Chris and his band of special friends perform new and familiar songs, including favorites from the popular Vermont PBS music series for kiddos, Mister Chris and Friends! Featuring Caleb Bronz (Drums), Tyler Bolles (Upright Bass), Emma Cooke (Keys, Guitar, Vocals) and Ethan Tischler (Guitar, Banjo, Vocals). Latchis Theater, 11:00 AM. More info
New Mom’s Group – Winter schedule published
Brattleboro New Mom’s group meets weekly on Wednesdays from 9:30-11:00 in the Exercise Room of BMH. New mom’s have the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, have access to skilled lactation support, and learn from community presenters on a variety of topics including infant physical and emotional development, dental health, starting solids, and planning a return to work. Winter schedule
High School A Cappella Warm-up concert – February 7
Local high school a cappella groups perform at the museum during Gallery Walk. Proceeds support BMAC’s work with children in grades K-6. ADMISSION: Free for children 18 and under, $5 for all others. More info