Now is the time to appreciate early childhood educators
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
Last month we celebrated Month of the Young Child in Windham County. It was a wonderful opportunity to both celebrate early childhood and to honor the tireless efforts of childcare providers who dedicate their lives to educating the next generation. Broader awareness about the importance of the experiences a child has in their early years has led to successful initiatives to support public investment in services for young children and their families, including early education.
There is also much greater awareness about the important role early education/childcare plays in the lives of those of us who do not have small children. This is partially due to the fact that childcare programs and schools were shuttered during the pandemic and people were not able to work. A day without childcare became weeks and months, highlighting how integral it is to economic activity in our community. High-quality childcare also contributes to our youngest citizens getting the foundation they need to be successful in school and beyond. When 80 percent of the brain is developed by age 3 and 90 percent by age 5, we cannot wait until kindergarten to invest in early education.
Resources & Events for families
Outdoor Prenatal Yoga Class
There will be one hour prenatal yoga class at the Winston Prouty Campus in Brattleboro on Wednesday May 11th at 5pm. This will be a gentle class with hatha and kundalini elements, including asana (movement), pranayama (breathwork) and nada (sound/voice), and is safe for all trimesters. This is an lgbtqi+ affirming space for all pregnant bodies. There is a $10 suggested donation with 100% of proceeds going to CASP (Community Asylum Seekers Project). No one will be turned away for lack of funds. More information
Teddy Bear Teas
Open house events, called Teddy Bear Teas, will be happening at many area elementary schools this spring! The Teddy Bear Teas are for families with children 0-5. The purpose of the Teas is for children and their families to get connected with their community school, other families and resources. Date & Locations of this year’s Teddy Bear Teas
The Basics Principle #3 Count Group & Compare
Help your child make sense of the numbers and categories all around them. You can help your child learn math as you play.
- clap and count
- count toes and fingers
- compare sizes of objects
- talk about less & more
- add & subtract using blocks
- sort puzzle pieces
- sort toys by colors & shapes
- count steps
- demonstrate “big” & “small”
- count fruits and vegetables
The Basics are simple strategies that support healthy brain development in children 0-3. Families can do these activities at home everyday. Learn more about The Basics.
Early Learning Center News
Professional Development in the ELC
As we continue to work on updating, clarifying, and communicating about the philosophy of the Early Learning Center, the teachers are discussing their classroom practice as it relates to a variety of topics. This month we are focusing on our “philosophy of time”. In our busy world, it can be easy to go from one thing to the next, and hard to find the time for what is most essential. Often in early childhood centers children are rushed through one experience, just to find themselves sitting and waiting for other children. I have heard this described as a culture of “hurry up and wait”. We know that children need time for the essential things; time for thinking, for practice, for working through conflicts, time to form relationships with each other, with materials and with the world around them. Our PD this month is designed to help teachers identify barriers that may exist to being able to create the time for what is essential, and to support them in thinking through new practices that will result in routines and a classroom culture that feels spacious, rather than rushed or stressful. Ann and I would love to hear your feedback about how the classrooms feel if/when you come in with your child. We would also love to hear if you have any strategies that you use at home to intentionally create time for things that are meaningful to your family. Feel free to send us a note about this (or any other topic that is on your mind). We can be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the month of April, we enjoyed a lot of fun activities. The children enjoyed the bubble wrap dot dot painting and some fun-colored ice cubes in bags to play with. They all are really starting to enjoy the ball pit and most of them can crawl into it and back out. We are getting a lot more mobile in this room and cannot wait for warmer weather to spend outside to move around with their gross motor skills! We also celebrated Monty who turned the big 1!
In the month of May, we will be focusing on the garden that is currently growing in the former Acorn room! Some mornings when we have time, we bring some of the children over and show them the plants. We will also be making some fun flower sensory bottles and other spring activities! We have a couple of babies turning 1 as well this month: Nick, Silvan and Kinslee!
Despite all the transitions in staffing, the Willow class continues to thrive. Each of the children seem happy to come to school each day (apart from a rare and age-appropriate “hard drop off” here and there). We have been spending a lot more time outside in the play yard, where digging, dumping, and scooping in the sandbox have been a big hit. The Willow children have also been showing a big interest in using spray bottles, which started when we invited them to help clean the table after lunch. We are continuing to find ways of expanding on this interest, including art projects, and sensory opportunities. We are also looking for ways to include them more deeply in the daily “work” of the classroom by inviting them to help with laundry and dishes, which they seem excited about.
Many of the children have been gravitating to the block area where they have been building “tall towers”, “kitty houses” and other structures, and then practicing waiting until the other person is ready so they can “knock it down” and laugh together. This is just one example of how they are working on turn taking; the new rocking horses that Yuan Yuan brought in, passing the ball to one another in the big room and using the cars out on the play yard are other ways that we see this skill developing. We are excited to continue to work and play together each day and look forward to seeing where the children’s interests will take us next.
In the month of April, the Oak Room explored the five senses. We glued things that were soft, rough, and shiny. We painted with tea bags and also tasted different kinds of tea. We tasted different fruit and decided if we liked them or not. We listened to different types of music to determine how it made our bodies feel. On Friday’s, we made the banana bread for the ELC. We went on a scavenger hunt for nature things to put in the sensory bin and explore. We also found some animal poop on our nature walk. We spotted a few worms and got to plant some veggies for the garden.
In May, we plan to continue to learn about our senses. We hope to get the outdoor classroom setup so that we can explore outside.
The month of April was very busy for the Birch Room! We worked on a Spring/Gardening/Bug unit throughout the month. We talked about what plants/seeds need to successfully grow when they are outside. We also grew our own sprouts in bags in the windows using kidney beans! Our science center was transformed into an All About Bugs unit where we looked at different types of bugs, we used unifix cubes to measure bugs on laminated cards, and it also had different books about bugs as well as a seed book that the classroom had made in one of the first weeks of the months. Our dramatic play center was also turned into a Farmer’s Market complete with shopping carts and a cash register so we could continue to work on our counting skills. Another favorite in the room for the month was our new chalkboard wall in our coloring/writing center. We continued to visit our favorite outside spots including Barry the Flamingo, Mrs. Cranberry’s Fort, the “Swimming Pool,” the Salute to the Sun Bridge, and the Rock Garden.
During the month of May, we will be working on a Community Helpers theme! We will also be heading down to the garden a bit more now that the weather is getting nice, and our planting will soon be underway. On a side note, we are saddened to see our friend Alfred retire. He will be terribly missed within the room, but we know he will be back to visit us in the coming months, so we have that to look forward to!
- May 1 – Kinslee is 1!
- May 5 – Happy Birthday Ashley, Willow Room Teacher
- May 7 – Charlotte is 3!
- May 12 – Asher is 2!
- May 15 – Silvan is 1!
- May 22 – Happy Birthday Autumn, CIS Nurse
- May 22 – Happy Birthday Amy, Supervised Visitation Program Coordinator
- May 23 – Braelynn is 3!
- May 31 – Nick is 1!
On Friday, April 29th we celebrated Alfred’s 20 year’s at Winston Prouty. See more pictures here.
Dates to Remember
- Friday, May 13 – Center closes at noon for all-staff in-service
- Saturday, May 14 – Family garden workday
- Monday, May 30 – Center closed for Memorial Day
- Wednesday, June 1 – Par for the Cause Raffle winning begins!
- Saturday, June 25 – Par for the Cause mini-disc-golf fundraiser
- Thursday, June 30 – ELC graduation
Par for the Cause
Our annual fundraiser, Par for the Cause, is right around the corner! We hope you will put the date on your calendar – Saturday, June 25 – to come enjoy an evening of games, food & drink and connections with everyone in the Prouty Community. We’ll also need lots of volunteers to make the event a success. More details about how you can help COMING SOON!