Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
May has been a busy month! We took pause to honor our amazing classroom staff. We had the opportunity to share our model and mission with our state leadership. I also had the opportunity to travel and share our work in both Texas and Oklahoma.
Most importantly, our children have continued to grow and learn. They are spending more time outdoors and enjoying seeing new things springing up.
I am very grateful for each child entrusted to our care and for each teacher who chooses this amazing and often challenging work. I am also thankful for your ongoing support and interest!
Wishing you well,
Our teachers do such a great job of building curriculum around the emerging interests of children. By watching what children are doing and listening to what they are talking about, teachers can plan experiences that are meaningful to them. This might seem like a small detail but, consider this— we all learn best when we are interested in the topic!
Our preschoolers have enjoyed watching spring begin in Wisconsin and this developed into a study of plants. Birthdays have also been a topic of interest so, the teachers included the makings of a fun party in the dramatic play area.
National Provider Day
The Friday before Mother’s Day has been designated as National Provider Day, a day set aside to honor child care providers.
In recognition of our staff, several officials from our state government paid a visit to The Playing Field. These visitors included Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, State Representative, Sheila Stubbs, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary-Designee Caleb Frostman, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Secretary-Designee Emilie Amundson, and Division of Early Care and Education Administrator, Erin Arango-Escalante.
This group came with an interest in our model for providing children from different backgrounds access to the same high quality program. They were also interested in our potential expansion and partnership with Plumber’s Union Local 75.
We were grateful for their interest and kind words. It was a great opportunity to showcase our unique model for early care and education!
Teacher Appreciation Week
The first week of May is National Teacher Appreciation Week. Our administration and board members look forward to this time each year as it is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our wonderful teachers and assistant teachers!
We had a lot of help celebrating our team. Staff were treated to lunch donated by local restaurant, Pasture and Plenty. Cheramy Story Arts and Marketing designed new T-shirts for us. Board members visited with treats and heartfelt thanks. Parents wrote notes of appreciation on classroom doors.
It is a joy to celebrate our wonderful teachers and assistant teachers and to recognize the important work they do in the lives of children and families.
In the last part of April, our Executive Director, Abbi Kruse had the chance to travel to Oklahoma and Texas.
In Oklahoma City, she met with the leadership of The Uncommon Collective as they studied The Playing Field model for child care. This nonprofit helps women start businesses to better their own lives and to allow them to hire other women. They have found that of lack child care is barrier many women face in maintaining employment.
Abbi provided training on our early education model, our Conscious Discipline practices, and our funding. Our organization was glad to support another nonprofit with this training.
From there, she went to Tulsa where she met author Dr. Barbara Sorrels. We have referred many people to read her book, “Reaching and Teaching Children Exposed to Trauma.” We hope to continue this relationship with Dr. Sorrels!
After leaving Oklahoma, Abbi traveled to San Antonio, Texas to speak at the National Head Start Conference. She was the opening keynote speaker for the New Director’s Boot Camp. She also offered a session called, “Heart to Heart: Connecting With the Relationship Resistant Child.”
This was a great opportunity to highlight our Early Head Start partnership. We are grateful to our EHS partners at Reach Dane for allowing us to dream as we started The Playing Field!
Win Ice Cream for a Year from Chocolate Shoppe!
The Playing Field is the beneficiary of a yearlong fundraiser being sponsored by Madison’s Attic Angel Association, which is celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2019. The organization seeks to raise $50,000 from throughout the community to help build a sensory playground that will support children with specific needs related to early trauma.
A gift of any size will automatically be entered to win one of two Ice Cream for a Year awards from Chocolate Shoppe. Make your gift online at www.AtticAngel.org/130 or in person at the Life is a Playground! birthday event on the Attic Angel campus (corner of Old Sauk and Junction) on Sunday, July 28, from 1 to 4 pm (online RSVP requested).
As an added bonus, your gift will be doubled, thanks to a generous donor who will match every gift up to a total of $25,000! To RSVP and/or make a gift, 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.