GreeningThrough our greening initiative, we seek to set a standard for our community of sustainability. We've participated in a seed donation program from High Mowing Seeds of Wolcott and have received donated compost from Grow Compost of Vermont. Through our work with Carol Westinghouse at Informed Green Solutions, we are learning how to create an environment at The Children’s Early Learning Space that is healthy and free of toxins. Greening is an important part of Vermont’s state identity as we are leaders in the national sustainable movement. TCELS is proud to be a part of this. Our latest partnership is with Vermont Soap - their unscented foaming hand soap, which is gentle on our children and staff, is the only product like it on the market and reflects our commitment to our children's well-being. TCELS has also been fortunate to receive a grant from the Richard E. and Deborah L. Tarrant Foundation towards making our space more energy efficient. Our partnership with Efficiency Vermont will allow us to receive further mentoring for greening our building, a resource available to everyone in the state.
Staff DevelopmentIn order to maintain our 4STARS rating granted by the Step Ahead Recognition System of Vermont, we engage in rigorous staff development each year. We receive guidance from the Building Bright Futures professional preparation and development program and are able to take advantage of many educational opportunities for early educators in Vermont. We're pursuing funding in order for our staff to attend the annual VAEYC conference and will participate in countless workshops and programs throughout the year, many of which are free. As our staff is aware, being a great educator and caregiver is more than being studious and professional - it is also the pursuit of personal well-being. We strive to create a supportive learning environment for our staff, as well as for our beloved children and families.
Enrichment & Family ProgramsAn important part of our mission is to offer families support, resources and to connect families to each other and the culture we create at The Children’s Early Learning Space. It is our goal to continue to develop annual events, educational talks for families and the greater community of early education, and provide opportunities for families to enjoy each other and be creative. We are always developing new angles for fundraising, and as Thatcher Brook Primary has demonstrated with their fabulous River of Light Parade, great events can come first and then fundraising/resources will follow. We've had several successful efforts towards this goal made by staff and families this year and will continue to work together on a grassroots level towards expanding our services. We are currently seeking funding for our Mini Sounds Music & Wellness Program, which will allow us to employ a music teacher for weekly visits, to expand on our musical instrument collection, and to host musical events.
Vermont & National Initiatives in Early EducationIt is to our benefit that the United States is experiencing a renaissance in early education. This is due to scientific research that has proven the importance of brain development in the first three years of childhood and the tremendous need for the support of young families in our times. Statewide Vermont initiatives Building Bright Futures, Birth to Three, Vermont Early Childhood Alliance, and Lets Grow Kids are making concentrated efforts to ensure that young children and families receive proper early educational support. In May 2014, Governor Shumlin signed the Early Education Bill that grants funding to all 3-4 year old Vermonters for 10 hours of Universal Preschool a week during public school session. This encourages partnerships for all districts of Vermont between child care centers and public preschools. On a national level, the Strengthening Families initiative has been working to establish the support of the Five Protective Factors to prevent child abuse, the building of a medical home and the support of early education with child care grants.
Please see our “Resources” links for further information.