Childcare: Crisis & Opportunity, 2-11-15

In Vermont, more than 26,000 children under the age of 6 are in need of childcare. According to Building Bright Futures, licensed childcare providers have the capacity to serve only 40 percent of these children. Up to half of children are not sufficiently prepared to enter kindergarten. Vermont Gov. Shumlin has called for the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission to research financing options for high-quality, affordable childcare .

We have four perspective on childcare:

Parent: Alison Maynard, Director, Center for Leadership and Innovation at The University of Vermont Continuing Education, mother 4 and 5 year old.

Provider: Sonja Raymond, Owner of Apple Tree Learning Centers in Stowe, and Quality Project Coordinator for the Vermont Association of the Education of Young Children (VAEYC), mother of 16 yr old.

Business person: Benjamin (Ben) Wilson, President of the Better Middlebury Partnership, an organization dedicated to making the greater Middlebury area a better place to live, work and play. Ben is active in the BMP’s efforts to recruit  telecommuters and new businesses to the Middlebury area. Dad of 5 & 7 yr old.

Robyn Freedner-Maguire, Campaign Director of Let’s Grow Kids, public education campaign that aims to raise awareness about early childhood development, mother of 3 yr old twins and a 6 yr old.

Let’s Grow Kids: Improving early childhood in Vermont

About half of Vermont’s children arrive at kindergarten unprepared. Children who are not prepared for school are less likely to graduate from college and more likely to need special education, depend on social services, have health concerns, and commit crimes. Let’s Grow Kids is a campaign to educate Vermonters about giving children the support and preparation for success in life. Discussing early childhood initiatives:

  • Julie Coffey, Building Bright Futures Early Childhood Advisory Council
  • LouAnn Beninati, Vermont Birth to Three
  • Dr, Johana Brakeley, MD, pediatrician
  • Robyn Freedner-Maguire, Let’s Grow Kids