January 2024

Illustrated winter scene with children

Field News January 2024

Letter from Abbi

Dear Friends of The Playing Field,

Nine years ago at this time of the year, I had just started to consider the possibility of starting a nonprofit organization.

People often ask me how I came up with the idea for The Playing Field but, the truth is that the idea found me. I had been serving as the director for the university’s Preschool Lab. Jen Bailey from Reach Dane had approached us with an opportunity to partner and include children impacted by homelessness in the lab school.

The idea wasn’t my own but, it quickly found a place in my heart. I could see so many benefits for children, families, and the community. I loved the idea of caring for children in the context of our community rather than in groups segregated by family income level.

When the university made the decision to close the site where I worked, I wondered if I could start something new. A book called Creating the School Family by Dr. Becky Bailey inspired me to believe that one program could care for children from very different backgrounds.

The Playing Field opened in the fall of 2015. Since that time, we have learned so many valuable lessons. We learned to support teachers as they support children impacted by trauma. We have fine tuned our model for staff onboarding, training, and coaching. We have seen children succeed who had been expelled from other programs. At the same time, we have witnessed our staff turnover rates decline.

The Playing Field has grown from a single location to three and we are still making plans to grow. In addition, we are building our capacity to support fellow educators in the implementation of Conscious Discipline®.

Please know that I value every one of you who supports us. I am grateful for your interest, time, and finances. You are an important part of our success.

I wish each of you a safe, healthy and happy new year!


2 Day Conscious Discipline® Training Event

The School Family as a Model for Access and Equity

Friday, March 15, 2024

Saturday, March 16, 2024

Conscious Discipline has been a huge part of our success at The Playing Field. This social emotional program has given our staff members skills to support children impacted by early adversity.

Conscious Discipline is different from traditional models of discipline which focus on gaining compliance from children. Conscious Discipline helps adults manage their own emotional triggers and feelings first— before they attempt to help children. It provides specific language and usable strategies that allow adults to turn moments of conflict into opportunities to teach skills.

The Playing Field is thrilled to host an upcoming event for area leaders and educators! With funding from the City of Madison, the Madison Area Rotary, and Dream Up, we are able to offer this two day event for only the cost of lunch and workshop materials!

The first day, Friday, March 15th, will focus on community, nonprofit and educational leaders.

The second day, Saturday, March 16th will focus on educators including both classroom staff and administration.

Register for one or both days using the button below!

We are very excited to bring in two inspiring speakers, Amy Spidel and Latonia Marcellus! They will help us to examine barriers to access and inequities in education. Participants will leave with new perspectives, usable strategies, and tools for supporting both children and adults.

Please help us spread the word about this amazing opportunity and join us in thanking the sponsors who made this event possible!

Our New Location

On January 2nd, our third location opened! We are now operating our original location on Mineral Point Road and two temporary sites on Madison’s east side.

This expansion means we have openings for children from the age of six weeks through six years old. If you know someone in need of high quality early care and education, please let them know we have openings on the east side.

The Playing Field has a unique process for enrollment. We first want to assure that all families embrace our unique model and mission. Next, we want to be transparent and fair in our process. We do not charge waitlist fees until we can reasonably expect to have an opening.

For more information, visit our enrollment page.

The Playing Field Newsletter - Want to Help

Want to help?

We continue to raise funds for ongoing needs including scholarships for children. These scholarship funds assure that no child is ever denied access to our high quality program.

Please email info@playingfieldmadison.org for more information.

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