Chittenden County Regional Council Recap – July 2017
One of the priorities of the Council is to improve how families feel welcomed and are involved in their child’s learning. Current practices among educators work well for some families, but others who grew up in another country, speak another language or have a different experience with early education all can be barriers for some parents. Chittenden BBF Council has used time in Council meetings to explore aspects of cultural and linguistic competence that would improve family engagement and more accessible services.
In May, Beth Truzansky, the Chittenden Regional Coordinator, developed several discussion guides for Early Childhood Programs to use with their staff. She shared these at the Early Learning Partnership meeting for 50 community pre-k program directors who meet quarterly with all Chittenden county school districts. The discussion guides focus on different levels of change programs can make to improve inclusion of children with different backgrounds (based on language, culture, family structure, race etc.) and reduce bias: interpersonal between a child and teacher, classroom practices, and program management practices.
This month the Council celebrated one of our Parent Child Centers launching from a program of the VNA of Chittenden and Grand Isle County to an independent non-profit. The Janet S Munt Family Room has been in operation for over 20 years in Burlington’s Old North End and is recognized for their attention to relationship building through cooking and gardening and successfully integrates families from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. The organizational move followed a two-year process catalyzed by the loss of a Federal grant and then the VNA stating they could no longer support the activities of the Family Room. The BBF Regional Coordinator and many Council partners were involved in the strategic planning and assembling the new Board of Directors.