Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
The beginning of the new year provides us the opportunity to both reflect on the past year and look forward to the one ahead.
2019 allowed us to showcase our unique model and mission across the state. We were visited by many state officials including First Lady, Cathy Evers and Lieutenant Governor, Mandela Barnes. We were also featured in several news segments and articles. It is our hope that this exposure will create opportunities for our success to be celebrated and more importantly, for our model to be replicated.
In 2020, we are looking forward to the completion of two playground projects. Our friends at Attic Angel Association worked tirelessly last year to support us in this effort. We are also working with other nonprofit agencies to expand our services. We will keep you updated as these exciting projects move ahead.
I am incredibly grateful for each person who subscribes to our newsletter, follows our progress, and supports our work!
Best Wishes in the Coming Year,
In 2019, The Playing Field was selected to benefit from the 130th birthday celebration of Attic Angel Association. This partnership not only raised money to expand and improve our playgrounds but, also provided us with many opportunities to share our model and mission.
Our young organization was inspired to see the long lasting reach of the work started by two sisters who simply saw a need in their community and realized “somebody should do something.” For 130 years, their work has continued and their organization has been supporting important work in our area. Our founder, Abbi Kruse commented, “This was the first time I considered that The Playing Field could outlive me. It is exciting to think that this work we have started could be passed on to others who would love it as we do and continue our mission!”
On December 20th, Attic Angel Association announced the total amount raised was $73,500! This will allow us to repair and expand our infant-toddler playground which was damaged by water. It will also allow us to build a specially designed sensory playground to assist children who have been impacted by trauma.
The idea for our sensory playground began two years ago when Dr. Becky Bailey provided Abbi with some specific strategies for children dealing with anger or rage. This conversation inspired us to begin searching for ways to fund this very special outdoor space. We are currently working with Gerry Slater to design this one of a kind space. We have also included some opportunities for students of Occupational Therapy to be included in this design phase.
We hope to unveil our work this summer!
In the News
If you missed any of the 2019 media coverage, you can visit our growing Media Page for links.
We are so grateful for the focus on early education, our trauma sensitive practices, and Conscious Discipline!
December Family Night
Our December Family night was another big success! These regular events provide time for our staff, children and families to connect over a delicious meal and to enjoy fun activities!
At our September Family Night, Shalicia Johnson of ArrowStar Photography took family photos. These photos were used on classroom Friends & Family Boards. They were also printed and given to each family as a gift. This has become an annual tradition for our School Family and provides some with their only professional family photograph.
Our Center Based Family Specialist, Mykenzie Lemberger worked hard to assure that all families in need were connected to resources for Christmas gifts and Reach Dane provided all EHS children with at least one gift.
Our family nights are always well attended. We feel lucky to have such involvement from our families. It is fun to see them enjoying the food and activities. Best of all, it is amazing to see staff, children and families connecting with each other.
We owe a huge thanks to the members of Bethany United Methodist Church who faithfully volunteer to serve and clean up for us. This allows our staff to enjoy these special nights with our families!
PERFECT VISION FOR 2020
We have much to look forward to in the coming year and we hope you enjoy following our progress. For more regular updates and ways to be involved, consider following us on Facebook.
From time to time, people ask about donating used goods. While we greatly appreciate the thought, it is often not practical for us to receive such items.
Ways to Be Helpful
Gas or Grocery Gift Cards – We keep gift cards on hand to help families during difficult times. Even cards with a small amount are helpful.
Items from our Amazon Wish List – Our teachers put items that they would like to receive on the wish list. When these items arrive, it is like a birthday or holiday celebration! (The teachers are often as thrilled as the children!)
Packages of New Underwear – New, child-sized underwear is always needed and appreciated.
Volunteer – If you have time to volunteer, there are many ways to get involved. Consider the following opportunities: Help a teacher on our next staff work day, assist with prepping classroom materials, volunteer in the office or in classrooms.
The No Thank You List
Used Books – When we receive books, we have to have a staff person go through them to assure that they are culturally relevant and reflect the values of our School Family. We are also limited on storage space so, having multiple copies of each book can cause a challenge.
Clothing – Storage space is always a challenge in early childhood programs. In fact, we pay to rent storage space so that our classrooms can rotate furniture and materials. While we do occasionally see needs for clothing, we just don’t have the space to store items until a need arises. When we need clothing, we post the needed item along with the size on our Facebook page.
Car Seats – Due to concerns related to recalls and expiration dates, we can not accept used car seats. We also are unable to determine if seats have been involved in an accident.
Toys – Used toys are another item that we can not receive. We may not able to confirm the appropriate age for materials. Pieces are often missing and/or broken and we must devote staff time to assessing the condition of items.