It is the season for starting up- children start kindergarten and families begin to enjoy all of the fall activities. It means those of us serving families are ramping up too. In Vermont, a lot of things happen in the fall before the inclement weather hits.
We have three programs that have reached the 50 plus year mark: Sunrise Family Resource Center at 50, Northshire Day School at 51 and Head Start at 54. These are all high quality programs that serve our children and communities well.
Bennington County Head Start broke ground on a new facility in downtown Bennington. It will be part of the Bennington Recreation Center and will house classrooms for infants and toddlers and include some needed community space. Since the facility is downtown, the majority of families will not need transportation to access it.
This month, the community grant RFP process was announced. The funds are part of the PCC direct services funds. Sunrise annually allots a portion of these funds for community projects, and the proposals must have a direct link to the Bennington Regional Action Plan. Last year projects offered parent education, moms support, the family fair and professional development. Sunrise helps to sustain many important projects, pilots, and other activities that need just a small amount of money to sustain them. Approved direct service grants are sent to Sunrise for final authorization. The direct services funds also support region-wide playgroups.
The 1000 Books before Kindergarten program is expanding to Manchester this year, then hopefully south to Pownal and east to Readsboro. Linda Donigan from the Bennington Free Library presented about this important initiative to the state council in September. Since then we have been receiving inquiries from across Vermont on how to start up the project. Both Bennington and North Bennington libraries and Bennington BBF received CLIF grants to help with 1000 Books.
The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) is underway this year across the region. We are still in the pilot stage. One of the key important features of the DECA are the materials that support classroom management. The results also assist the professional development committee in identify opportunities for regional and workforce growth.