Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
My family recently had an addition put onto our home. It seemed as if the early stages of building took forever. The processes we hoped would be completed in weeks ended up taking months— putting us way behind schedule for completion.
For the last few weeks, we have finally been enjoying our new space. As I look around, I no longer see those early efforts that seemed to drag on so long. The foundation is covered by newly installed flooring. The framing, plumbing and electrical work are hidden behind neatly painted walls. We will live in this space for years to come and unless there is a problem, probably not give much thought to what lies under our feet or behind our walls.
Watching this process has reminded me of the work of early educators. Our work comes first. It is slow, deliberate, and intentional. Early educators build children’s foundations for both learning and interacting with others. Yet, this important work is often unnoticed and even misunderstood. Just as we would never want someone to rush through building the foundation for a home, we can not rush the developmental process of children.
I have often said that if we as a country truly understood what is happening in the brains of young children, early educators would be the best educated, qualified and resourced of all teachers.
What happens in a child’s early years matter. A child may spend in excess of 10,000 hours in an early education setting. There is no room for low quality early care and education.
For those who follow our program and support our work, I know that you believe this too. Please know that our entire school family is grateful for your time, attention and support!
Wishing you well,
The Critical Need for Child Care
It is estimated that in the city of Madison, there are currently over two thousand children in need of child care services. The lack of child care spaces across the country is impacting both families and local economies.
A recent article highlighted the obstacles facing local early childhood programs with one of the biggest challenges being the lack of qualified teachers. Some programs have classrooms sitting empty simply because they are unable to staff them while other programs are closing their doors.
Executive Director of The Playing Field, Abbi Kruse commented, “We are fortunate to have low staff turnover rates. However, as we continue to expand on both sides of town, the recruitment of new staff is definitely one of our top concerns.”
The Playing Field is looking ahead and partnering with the Department of Workforce Development, the Early Childhood Program at Madison College, and the City Childcare Accreditation Unit to offer paid internships in Early Childhood Education.
It is our hope that adult family members of children enrolled at The Playing Field will join us as paid apprentices and earn the qualifications to step into Lead Teacher roles. Abbi continued, “Recruiting from our own School Family will do more than but staff who truly understand the life experiences and barriers of the families we serve.”
We will also be reaching out to local schools and community agencies in an effort to find interested candidates.
Please help us spread the word. Those interested can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Celebrating Our Volunteers
Classroom volunteers provide extra support for both children and teachers. During the early part of the pandemic, we closed our rooms to volunteers but, they are returning now and we couldn’t be happier!
The Playing Field asks classroom volunteers to commit to a specific classroom so that they can build relationships with the children over time. Some of our volunteers even follow their group of children to the next classroom because these relationships are so important.
Sara Flogel affectionately known by all as “Sara B” was employed with The Playing Field from 2016 through 2020. She recently returned as a volunteer to the Brown Bear room.
When asked why she volunteers, Sara B responded, “It makes me so happy! I smile the whole time I’m here. They say it’s helpful to have me here rocking babies and I certainly enjoy doing it!”
Red Bird Teacher, Lydia Swanson invited her brother, Caleb to volunteer as well. Caleb formerly volunteered as a hockey coach but, his new career in real estate doesn’t allow time for that. He has found a new way to donate his time each week by visiting preschoolers in our Blue Horse Room.
We are grateful for all who donate their time and talents to our classrooms.
If you or anyone you know would enjoy supporting a classroom at either our Eastside or Midtown location, please have them email us. Volunteers should enjoy spending time with children and must pass a complete background check.
Thank You to Madison Professional Women for Good
The Playing Field was recently awarded $11,300 from Madison Professional Women for Good! This funding will support us in opening an additional preschool room at our midtown location!
The Playing Field was invited to present alongside two other area nonprofits. Group members voted and in a tight race, our organization was named the as the recipient of the generous Gather and Grant donation.
We were nominated by Charmaine Friar. In addition to being a member of the professional women’s group, Charmaine is a sister to TPF Program Director, Michelle Henner.
The event was sponsored by American Transmission Company and Serendipity Labs. We were grateful for the financial support as well as for the opportunity to connect with area professionals and other nonprofit organizations!