The Prouty Voice: January 2023

The market can’t fix child care

By Chloe Learey, Executive Director

One of the lessons the COVID-19 pandemic hit home is the important role child care plays in our communities and economies. Fortunately, this brought federal financial assistance into the sector, helping programs stay afloat during a time of great uncertainty. Still, according to EdSurge, thousands of programs closed, and teachers have left in droves, leaving classrooms empty. What will happen as this financial support ends? Many states, including Vermont, used COVID relief funds to bolster the child care sector through initiatives like offering bonuses and subsidizing tuition for families. The end of this support threatens the survival of this essential system.

One significant challenge we face is hiring. Low wages and difficult work is a brutal combination in this competitive environment. The only way to raise wages is to increase tuition, which is already unaffordable for families who do not receive financial assistance. Raising tuition would cause families to reconsider whether it is worth participating in the workforce or encourage them to seek care that is not regulated and potentially of questionable quality. A lack of child care will cause the economy to slow down in the short and long term as people make choices to limit family size. This is a scenario we can avoid by committing public investment to a sector that contributes value far beyond individual children and families; the impact of inadequate child care touches all our lives. Continue reading

Resources & Events for Families

Starting Solid Foods with Baby-Led Weaning – free lunchtime workshop

Thursday, January 19th from 12:00-1:00 at the Winston Prouty Center. In this free presentation, we will review guidelines, dos and don’ts, and foods to include and avoid. We will also discuss food allergies and intolerances and the importance of introducing one new food at a time.  Sally Pennington, our CIS Nurse and Lactation Consultant, will be presenting. She has decades of experience supporting parents as they begin to introduce solid foods. Babies are welcome to join their parents at this event. To attend, please RSVP by emailing or calling 802-257-7852.

Love without Bounds: An Intersection Allies Book about Families

The Eric Carle Museum will host a virtual program with the author of Love without Bounds, a joyful, heartwarming celebration of family in all its forms: multicultural families; LGBTQ+ families; adoptive families; single-parent and blended families; transnational families; families impacted by incarceration, detention, and deportation; chosen families; military families; and more. Thursday, January 26 at 7:00pm. More info

Wish List

We are looking for donations of clothes: 18 month old and preschool age! If you have any to donate, please drop them off at the front desk. Thank you!

Job Openings

We have multiple job opening across our Center! Please help spread the word:

  • Child Care Referral Specialist (Part-time)
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program Specialist (Part-time)
  • Developmental Educator/Early Interventionist (Part-time or Full-time)
  • Family Supportive Housing Coordinator (Full-time)
  • Teacher (Full-time)

Learn more about these positions.

Early Learning Center News

Changes to classroom communication app

Later this month, we will be replacing Brightwheel with a new app called Procare. Families will be getting a new 4-digit code which will be used to check your child in and out of Procare and will also be your new pin code to enter the building. All authorized pick-ups on file for your child will be given new door codes as well. 

Photos and messages will not come over onto the new app; however you will have plenty of time to save what you would like from Brightwheel before the account is closed.

Here are some important dates:

  • January 20th – you will receive instructions on how to download and log in to the Procare app.
  • January 30th – teachers will begin using the Procare app instead of the Brightwheel app.
  • February 1st – the new pin code box will be installed on our front door, and you will use your new code to get in.
  • February 28th – your child’s profile in Brightwheel will be deleted.

Families who pay tuition via Brightwheel will receive information on how to set up billing on the new Procare system.

More details coming next week!

Acorn Room

We had lots of fun in the Acorn Room in December.  Children are moving and exploring with their bodies every day, from spending more time on their tummies to climbing up and down on the carpeted blocks.  They are starting to notice one another more and more, whether it be looking at one another closely or moving next to another child and play beside each other.  They’re watching what happens when they let objects go, whether it be dropping their spoon from the chair or swinging their arm and throwing a ball.  We introduced different kinds of rounded objects (balls, eggs, cylinders).  The children are experimenting with how these different objects respond when pushed, thrown or rolled.  Their curiosity is endless!  It’s so fun to watch and think about different ways we can expand their knowledge.  Alana has settled nicely into our classroom.  In January, we’re hoping to welcome another friend to our classroom.  Stay tuned! 

Willow Room

December was a wonderful month at the ELC! The children in the Willow Room finished up our mark making art pieces that are now decorating the classroom, we enjoyed the use of our building’s big room, and experienced playing in the snow at school for the first time! The children were delighted with the snow this month. Figuring out how to navigate outside with layers of winter gear and snow can be tricky, but the children joyfully adapted and explored through it all. We cannot wait for the fluffy white snow to come back so we can play in it some more! These toddlers have been so busy this month and have also been exploring various self-help and independence skills. Some class favorites have been drinking out of open cups at mealtimes, helping wash the tables, and sweeping the floor. This group amazes us every day and we cannot wait to see what the next month has in store! 

Elm Room

The month of December has been chilly, exciting, and fun for the Elm room, especially now that we have snow! We have been practicing how to dress for winter, and our friends have picked up how to do the “flip-trick” with their jackets, all by themselves! They have continued to fill our wall of art with their many creations, decorated their own stockings for their Christmas trees at home, and on the chilliest of days we have ended our adventures with dance parties in the classroom. During circle, the Elm room has learned some of our favorite songs on the Kazoo, and added jingle bells to our favorite festive songs over the last few weeks. When our friends were not busy inside building with blocks, scooping in the sand table, or adding pictures to our family tree on the wall, they spent their time outside shoveling up snow “cookies”, sledding, and exploring the woods. 

Oak Room

In December, the Oak room talked a lot about families and different celebrations. We talked about what families do together, who is in our families, and made some decorations for winter. We also talked about what animals live under the snow, and learned about big and little sounds and what they can mean. Once the first big snow came, we spent a lot of time outside tasting the snow and sledding! We had a classroom party for the holidays right before break, and had different games to play. We talked about Hanukkah, and played the dreidel game with buttons, pin the nose on the snowman, and a hibernation game. It was a fun time! In January, we will be exploring board games and introducing new games. We also hope there will be more snow because the class has expressed how much they want to build a snowman. For now, we will just build them in our art!

Birch Room

We have noticed the children in the Birch Room have been talking a lot about families. In conversations over lunch, during dramatic play, and in quiet moments during the day we have heard children sharing about their families, what they do, how they help, and why they love them. We have also noticed that a theme in the writing center has been writing “I love you” notes to mom’s, dad’s, brothers, and sisters. We have learned that some grandparents are called “gramma”, “Gigi”, “Grampa”, “Popa”, and some are referred to by their first names. Some families in our classroom live together, and others apart. At the same time there has been a great interest in sewing, and knitting (which we are told some families are “really good at”). Due to this interest, we are planning to start working on a family quilt. We have a lot of fabric, which we will be using alongside a variety of materials (including fabric pastels, fabric markers, and fabric crayons, watercolor paint, and perhaps others) for each child to design their own quilt squares to represent their family. We will then sew each piece together to hang on the wall (which we hope will also help reduce the echo in the classroom).  If anyone has extra fabric, or sewing materials (thread, needles, embroidery hoops, etc.) that you would like to donate, we would happily accept them as part of the project. We are looking forward to seeing how this interest and work develops over time.   


  • January 2 – Happy Birthday Chloe, Executive Director!
  • January 11 – Oz is 5!
  • January 16 – Louisa is 4!
  • January 21 – Happy Birthday Jasmine, Family Supportive Housing Coordinator!
  • January 30 – Ian is 5!

Dates to Remember

  • Monday, January 16 – Center is closed for MLK All-staff in-service
  • Friday, February 10 – Center closes at noon for in-service
  • Monday, February 20 – Center closed for Presidents Day