Fall is in the air
By Chloe Learey, Executive Director
It is amazing that even in the midst of a world-changing pandemic the ‘back-to-school’ mindset kicks in. It is one of those transitional times of year full of ritual around first-day-of-school photos, new lunch boxes and backpacks, haircuts and clothes. All of this is evident despite hybrid school schedules and remote learning. There are photos of at-home school spaces mixed in with the photos in front of the school, a demonstration of our adaptability to the circumstances.
There is also evidence that this is wearing on us in ways we may not realize. We will not know the full extent of the impact of these changes for years, even if we get back to some semblance of what existed pre-pandemic. Reports to child protection are down not because children are better cared for in a pandemic but because there are not as many people interacting with children at risk. Family stressors are on the rise for multiple reasons. Parents who work outside the home juggle school schedules or leave their job because they cannot figure out how to be both education support and employer. Some families are facing eviction due to lost jobs, and it is unclear when things may improve. How do we maintain hope and resilience in the face of the uncertainty? How do we understand that some of us are surviving and thriving despite the challenges while others are suffering?
Regardless of our circumstances we can show up for each other and offer whatever gifts we have, no matter how small, to help make a difference. We have seen a multitude of examples of this over the past six months since COVID 19 dramatically changed our world. Mutual aid groups have sprung up to connect volunteers to people who need help, we successfully housed everyone in our community who did not have a roof over their head, resources have been extended to help both restaurant businesses and people who need food, people have made masks, essential workers have stayed on the job to bring us health care and groceries, and on and on. The phrase “this is not a sprint, it is a marathon” is more relevant now as related to navigating this changed world. Patience with each other and ourselves, respect for individual circumstances, assuming best intention, and commitment to caring for our community will help us create our new normal and settle into routines even though this fall and back-to-school is like no other we have experienced. We cannot go back, we can only keep moving forward, and we can support each other to do the hard stuff and hopefully find joys to celebrate, too.
Winston Prouty is committed to being here for children, families, staff and the community. We will do all we can to successfully get through this together. Thank you for your support to help make this possible.
School-age Child Care Hub opening on campus, 9/14
Meeting Waters YMCA has been approved as one of Vermont’s recently announced ‘child care hubs’ for students who are opting for hybrid learning. The program will run 5 days a week from 8:00 am – 5:30 pm. It will be located on the bottom floor of Thomas Hall. The entrance will be near the ELC playground, so Oak and Birch room families may overlap during morning drop-off hours. The playground will not be used concurrently with ELC programming. To learn more, click here.
Early Learning Center News
Last month our older baby friends began transitioning to the Willow room. We will miss them dearly, but know they are in good hands and enjoying their new classroom. We also said goodbye to our dear friend and teacher, Nancy. We know it is not truly goodbye though, since she will be working right down the hall in CIS. Hopefully she will visit often and grace us with her love, wisdom, and good energy.
Jess and Michelle have taken on the role of Co-teachers for the Acorn room. We welcome back Vena, Jude, and Kylie and we welcome in our newest baby, Lincoln.
As the season shifts to colder weather, we’ll find ourselves exploring pumpkins, crunching leaves, and singing many songs about apples. We will be bundling up more often and going on peaceful autumn walks around campus. We are excited to turn over a fresh leaf together and begin the year anew.
The month began with us launching into an exploration of color and different artist mediums such as paint, markers, dobbers, pastels and crayons. We used many different tools such as paint brushes, combs, beads, forks or just our fingers. Our goal was to have the children explore and create in an open ended joyful way, which fosters a love for art. This approach is called Process Art. Defining characteristics of process art are:
- No step by step instructions or sample for the children to follow
- No “right” or “wrong” way for the children to create
- The focus is on techniques tools and experience
- The art is unique, original and completely the child’s own.
Benefits of Process are noticeable in many different ways. It helps with children’s self-regulation and self control because the children are focused on making choices, taking risks and feeling successful. They aren’t concerned with making something that looks like everyone else’s or the teachers sample.
The month ended with us reading our friends to transition into Elm and welcoming new friends to the room.
August has been a busy month! We said our goodbyes to Abby as she ventures off to finish her student teaching. We wish her the best of luck. We welcome Morgan who has joined the Elm Room Team! We have been enjoying our fun morning “I Spy” as Morgan has hidden items for the children to find first thing when they are arriving. We also had a blast with blow up bowling pins and balls! The children are all enjoying the last summer weeks together before fall transitions for some of the children.
Happy Summer! The Birch Room friends have been enjoying lots of outside time this summer. Some favorite activities include trips to the pond where we stay nice and cool in the shade and water play with the sprinkler, spray bottles, or plastic water slide. Most of our friends prefer to just be sprayed with the hose directly. At the pond, we have been fishing with sticks, using bark as boats to sail across the water, or digging holes in the mud to fill with water and watch it disappear. We also love to jump in the puddles. We have been walking to the bridge and playing games at the top of the big hill. We enjoy using bubbles, the parachute, and collecting sticks, ferns, moss, and pinecones. We are looking forward to continuing all this outside fun for the month of August.
August has been a wonderful summer month for the Oak Room. The children have had a great time being outside. We’ve been spending our days walking on the trails in the woods, exploring nature. Two of our favorite spots are the cabins and the rock garden. We do circle outside and then small and large group activities, as well as free play. We want to thank Nancy M. for all the hard work and extra time she put into making our wonderful garden. All of us have had fun helping her plant, weed, water, harvest, and eat the vegetables from it. Soon we will pick the gourds to make bird houses.
Resources & Events for Families
Every month, listen to new pre-recorded songs and stories read by Sueño of the Early Learning Express Bookmobile! Call (802) 257-2101 ext 7. You can leave a message for Sueño, too!
Free ‘Felting in a Parklet’ workshop
Come have some sudsy fun and make wet felted projects with Victoria of BY OUR HANDS. During COVID-19 these workshops (usually $10) are TOTALLY FREE! Donations are gratefully accepted. Every Saturday from 10:00am-12:00pm in the Dosa/Peter Havens Parklet, 34 Eliot St., Victoria is offering socially distanced wet felting workshops, August 22-September 26. Projects include key chains/zipper pulls, sushi beads, soap (bring a new bar of your favorite soap), and anything else Victoria dreams up! Pre-registration encouraged, walk-ins welcome. Contact Victoria @ 410-925-8532, firstname.lastname@example.org, byourhandscreate.com.
Everyone Eats!, a program that leverages CARES Act funds to buy to-go meals from local restaurants for anyone in Brattleboro, Guilford, Vernon, Dummerston, or Putney who has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Over 12,000 meals have been distributed since August 3rd, and on August 31st we have increased our impact by now distributing 850 meals per day (increase from 650 meals per day in the 1st 4 weeks). These meals are coming from nine local restaurants. More information