Addison County Regional Council Recap – September 2017
Addison Building Bright Futures is focused on increasing access and affordability for early care and learning programs. Many regional community partners agree that investing in the first years of life are crucial, and that high quality childcare is a priority for supporting families. However, as a region, we struggle with finding a viable solution. Addison BBF is working to bring the community together to develop a common understanding of the state of early childhood in the region, discover why it matters to businesses, schools, employers, parents, and the community at large, and, to build innovative solutions to best meet the needs of the local community.
Addison Early Care and Learning Showcase Tours is an opportunity to explore what high quality early education actually looks like. Community partners, businesses, employers, school administration, and decision-makers are invited to visit programs throughout the region during the first week of October. A culminating luncheon event will be held at Middlebury College, where participants will take a deeper dive into the reality of access and affordability in Addison County. Regional data and stories will guide an interactive panel discussion and participants will be charged with building a community movement to discover how we might work together to meet the increasing need for high quality programming. This event is being sponsored in partnership with Let’s Grow Kids, Vermont Birth to Five, United Way of Addison County, community partners, and local early care and learning providers.
In addition to broadening community understanding of regional challenges in regard to accessing high quality and affordable childcare, Addison BBF is working closely with the Addison County Director’s Network to better understand what programs need in order to best provide this service for families. Retaining highly qualified staff is the biggest challenge for programs to maintain quality. Addison BBF is exploring opportunities to increase staff retention through a shared services model, and to empower staff through opportunities for reflective supervision and training around social and emotional development. In effort to best respond to the needs of parents seeking care, Addison BBF will explore ways to streamline waitlists, address the need for non-traditional hours of care, and increase the number of infant/toddler slots and Universal pre-K partner slots.