Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
April has been a busy month at The Playing Field. The children and staff have enjoyed more time outdoors as the weather improves. They have also enjoyed many fun activities for Week of the Young Child™.
We so enjoyed hearing from so many of you when our program was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal! I also enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces when I joined the panel of Wisconsin Strong to discuss issues related to both child care and business.
Thank you so much for continuing to follow our journey and for all you do to cheer us on!
Room to Grow
We have received so many responses and encouraging messages regarding the recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal! We are so grateful to Logan Wroge for his efforts in bringing our story to life!
The article mentioned the potential for us to expand, and this has generated both interest and questions. We are awaiting word on a grant application that would allow us to fund children from both The Road Home and The Salvation Army. In short, nothing is final until we can assure that we have the funds in place. We will keep you posted on our progress.
If we have the funding, we will be partnering with Plumbers Union Local 75 to offer child care and job training services in the same location. They have purchased the former Menard’s building near the East Towne Mall. They have up to 20,000 square feet available for child care.
Our intent is to replicate our current model, opening with an initial capacity of 100 children from ages 6 weeks to 5 years of age. Our hope is to open in September of 2020. The grant funding would allow us to serve 20 children from low income or homeless families. Forty spaces would be devoted to families receiving scholarship assistance. This would include student parents who are learning a skilled trade in the same building. An additional forty spaces would be available for families paying full tuition, including members of the union.
It is a very exciting possibility. It would allow us to move from serving 50 children to serving 150 children! It would add an accredited child care program to the far east side as well as 32 infant-toddler enrollment spaces. It would also offer our parents opportunities to learn a skilled trade and move forward toward their own career goals! And of course, we would love the opportunity to design a space to meet the needs of the children and families we serve!
There are still a lot of hurdles to clear. We hadn’t intended to make this information public until we had all the information. However, it literally became front page news, so we are inviting all of you to dream with us!
No matter what happens, we will continue to provide high quality early care and education to children at our current location.
Please wish us well as we await word on our grant application!
Week of the Young Child
During the week of April 8th through 12th, our staff, children and families celebrated Week of the Young Child™. The purpose of this week is to focus attention on the needs of young children, their families, and the programs that serve them.
Staff and children participated in special dress days including “Wear Your Class Color Day,” “Crazy Hair and Sock Day,” and “Pajama Day.” One day was “Ice Cream Sundae Day.” The children also participated in a musical celebration and parade. Parents were also invited to share a bagel breakfast one morning.
Our partners at The UW Office of Family Child Care and Family Resources provided great T-shirts for our staff that read, “I Teach. What’s Your Superpower?”
Of course, our attention is always focused on the needs of young children and their families. However, this is a fun way to celebrate our important work and our amazing staff!
During the week of May 6-10, we will celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week. Please email us at email@example.com if you would like to help in the recognition and thanks of our dedicated teachers.
During the month of April, our Executive Director, Abbi Kruse had the opportunity to spend a day at Our House in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Our House is a nonprofit that serves families experiencing homelessness. Their campus not only includes a newly built early childhood program but also a shelter program, transitional housing units, and a career center. Abbi had the opportunity to tour their campus and meet their administrative staff. In addition, she was able to share Conscious Discipline practices with the teaching staff.
We are looking forward to continuing this mutually beneficial relationship and learning together about the best practices for serving our communities!
On April 9th, The Wisconsin Early Childhood Association invited area business leaders, community members, early educators, and parents to discuss issues related to child care and employment.
The Playing Field’s Executive Director, Abbi Kruse was invited to join the panel along with TPF parent, Katie Bogucki. If you would like more information, please visit Wisconsin Public Radio.
Life is a Playground
The children of The Playing Field are being taken under the wing of Madison’s historic Attic Angel Association, the philanthropic organization that set a framework for the city’s health care infrastructure as well as high-quality early education for disadvantaged children. Celebrating 130 years of caring for Madison, the Angels are using their milestone birthday to raise money to improve The Playing Field’s playground resources. Their yearlong online fundraiser will help build a sensory playground that will support children with specific needs related to early trauma.
Themed Life is a Playground! the centerpiece of Attic Angel’s birthday year will be an outdoor/indoor party and playtime on Sunday, July 28. With fun for all ages, from 1 to 101, the public event will be on the Attic Angel campus at the intersection of Old Sauk and Junction roads. The Playing Field will have a presence at the event and will be a partner in raising money for the project all year long. As a 501(c)(3) organization, Attic Angel Association seeks to meet identified needs of children and seniors in Dane County. For this anniversary fundraiser, the Angels are asking the entire community and beyond to join them in making a meaningful difference for children and their futures.
To learn more about the birthday party and to make your gift to help in this heroic effort, visit www.AtticAngel.org/130.
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.
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.
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.