Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
On September 8th, we will celebrate our fifth anniversary!
Starting a nonprofit was something I never imagined I might do. I followed my passion for making high quality early care and education available to all children without regard to their family’s ability to pay. It was the most risk I had ever taken in my career and to be honest, it was terrifying.
Looking back over this time, I am grateful for so much community support and for the amazing School Family we have built. Our model has been recognize for our trauma-sensitive practices and for our implementation of Conscious Discipline.
Over a year ago, we were presented with an opportunity to replicate our model. Of course, this represents another risk but, we know how many area children need our services. We are excited to be collaborating with The Road Home, The United Way, and the City of Madison. Our second site is scheduled to open in early September serving up to 20 children from families impacted by homelessness.
The pandemic has certainly put us behind. Much of the furniture we had planned to use was repurposed at our current location to provide for the extra space needed for social distancing and outdoor classrooms. Our renovation plans have also been impacted as some of our reserve funds have been needed for extra COVID related expenses.
Opening a second location during a pandemic is a huge challenge. Turning back has certainly crossed my mind a few times, However, I know that some of our most vulnerable children and families need us now more than ever!
Please consider helping us get this new, east-side location up and running. If you have time to donate, we are still painting and assembling equipment. You can also help by purchasing items from our Amazon Wish List or by sharing this link on your social media accounts – https://a.co/gBBvJxA.
Please accept my sincere thanks for your support of our work. We truly could not do this without you.
The Road Home is a local nonprofit that supports families impacted by homelessness. Over the last several years, The Playing Field has served many of the same families. Our two organizations compliment each other very well.
The following statement is from their website:
We seek long-term solutions to homelessness by helping families find and maintain stable, affordable housing. We work with families, not only to relieve the immediate crisis of homelessness, but also to build skills, resources and relationships that set the stage for long-term success.
We are thrilled to be entering into a more formal partnership with The Road Home. Through United Way Dane County’s Two-Gen initiative, we will be partnering together to provide high quality early educational programming with The Road Home providing adult focused support. The graphic below from United Way Dane County illustrates how this approach supports the entire family.
The Road Home, in collaboration with Stone House Development, will provide affordable three-bedroom apartments for larger families who have experienced homelessness. Our new, temporary location will provide child care to children from these families.
The long term plan is for this location to eventually be moved to our permanent location in a building owned by Plumber’s Union Local 75. In addition to housing and child care, this collaboration will offer adult family members with training in plumbing and other skilled trades.
The design for our new space was created by Jeremy Frommelt of Iconica. It is a beautiful space and includes observation areas so that we can provide opportunities for others to view our trauma sensitive practices without disruption to our children or teachers.
Update on our Reopened Site
Our current location is running well after reopening on June 29th.
We have taken extensive measures for safety. One change was a move to mixed-age classrooms so that we can care for siblings in the same small group. We have also assigned each group or pod an outdoor classroom. Our host, Bethany United Methodist Church has been extremely helpful to us, allowing us to expand the outdoor space we utilize and install new fencing in several spots.
The staff has done an amazing job of helping children adjust to the changes. Before children returned, the teachers created a video that went home to all families demonstrating the new drop off procedures. The staff have used extensive visual supports to help children master new routines.
Abbi has presented on the importance of visual cues, predictable routines, and emotional connections in supporting children through uncertainty and change.
We are grateful for our amazing staff, their dedication, flexibility, and high level of skill.