The Springfield Area Regional Council spent its December meeting learning more about the Preschool Development Grant that was submitted and what that means to the council, meeting the new Executive Director at the Springfield Area Parent Child Cente,r and being updated on the trainings that took place for the Same Page Initiative. The Same Page Initiative is designed to offer optimum education opportunities through collaboration and unique partnerships benefitting every child that will eventually attend kindergarten. We were also able to participate in the Professionalizing the Workforce conversation that VTAEYC is currently conducting throughout the state. At our January meeting we were able to look at the How Are Vermont’s Young Children and Families? Report. Some items of note were that although the percentage of high quality child care programs has increased the number of slots has not. We also had concern over the reliability of the kindergarten readiness data, specifically noting that it is not required to be completed and therefore can be based on one or two classrooms for the whole supervisory union, as well as the subjective nature of the survey. We also noted some of the unintended consequences of Strengthening Families that research has shown. We did note that the data was great at starting conversations and we will continue to use this resource.
Outside of the council, the Springfield Region has been working on next steps from the two day training of the Same Page Initiative, including follow up trainings, meeting with superintendents, kindergarten transition activities and more. We are also partnering with a library to create kits that families can borrow when they experience a loss of a pet or family member. We are continuing to strengthen partnerships to support children in our community and have begun to strengthen our partnership with foster parents. We look forward to see where these will take us.