Dear Friends of The Playing Field,
September has been a busy month. We celebrated our fourth birthday and began our fifth school year! It is hard to believe that the babies who started with us in 2015 are now starting their last school year with us!
I hope that you will enjoy reading about the last month and seeing photos of the happenings of our program. Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter! I value each of you who support our work and follow our program.
First Lady, Kathy Evers Visits The Playing Field
Our executive director, Abbi Kruse presented our unique model for the inclusion of children impacted by trauma, and how we implement Conscious Discipline to support all members of our School Family.
TPF parents Jarrod and Katie Bogucki then shared their personal story and how their two children have been served by our program.
Program Director, Michelle Henner took the group through our C.A.R.E. (Connection And Recovery Environment) Room. She was able to explain how this room is used to help children manage big feelings and learn to self regulate.
The visit ended with Mrs. Evers reading a story to our preschoolers. She read, The Rabbit Listened. We presented her with a signed copy of the book to thank her for taking time to listen to early educators in our state.
The first family night of the new school year was a huge success! We had in excess of 150 people in attendance. We began the evening with a Brain Smart Start and sang the song, This is My School Family.
Families were then free to enjoy various activities that included playing with their children, learning I Love You Rituals, and having their family photo taken by Shalicia Johnson of Arrow Star Photography. These photographs will be used on Friends and Family boards in each classroom. They will also be printed and given to families for Christmas gifts at our December Family Night
Dinner was a pasta bar. Our wonderful volunteers from Bethany United Methodist Church set up, served and cleaned up so that our staff could enjoy interacting with children and families.
We are sending a huge thank you to all who made this night possible!
We Are Four!
On September 8th, The Playing Field turned four years old! While we celebrated with some birthday cake, we also took time to reflect on our successes.
Over the years, The Playing Field has dedicated a huge amount of effort in building a staff that truly understands the impacts of trauma on children. Our program has been recognized for being trauma informed. The former First Lady of Wisconsin, Tonette Walker, visited our program and then asked us to host a delegation from Norway who sought more information on trauma informed care.
We have also enjoyed interest from the local media and we have appreciated the opportunity to highlight our mission and explain our model. Visit our Media Page
Since our beginning we have worked hard to develop a model program that includes children from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. We have built our program on the model of a School Family and taken inspiration from the work of Dr. Becky Bailey. She teaches that in a healthy School Family, every child can have their needs met- even if those needs are very different.
It has been a true gift to have the resources and support needed to develop this model. We have intentionally addressed some of the barriers children from low income families face in accessing high quality early care and education. Some of these barriers include cost, transportation, and high expulsion rates. We are grateful to our Early Head Start partners at Reach Dane and the partnership that allowed us to get started!
We will continue to grow and build. As we look ahead, we hope to expand to more locations and share our model with other programs.
Thank you to each of you who follow us and support our work!
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 cannot 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 cannot receive. We may not be 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. Contact Us about volunteering today!