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September 20, 2017 – What’s Next for Vermont Birth to Five: Plans for 2018 and Beyond

Burlington, Vermont—Vermont Birth to Five is getting ready for the next phase in our effort to ensure that all children have access to high-quality, affordable early care and learning by 2025.

Over the last decade, VB5 helped jumpstart the quality of early care and learning programs in the state. Thanks in part to the work of our VB5 mentors, more than 75% of early care and learning programs in the state now participate in STARS, the state’s quality recognition system. We’ve trained thousands of early educators in developmental screenings, prekindergarten assessments, and the Strengthening Families framework. Thanks to the groundwork done by our Vermont Community Preschool Collaborative, Vermont has become the only state in the nation with publicly-funded prekindergarten for all three- and four-year olds. And with the good work of our our sister initiative, Let’s Grow Kids, community understanding and support of the importance of early care and learning has never been stronger.

With that foundation, we are ready to focus on ensuring that high-quality programs can thrive and that more families can access them. We will work with communities across the state to increase the availability of high-quality early care and learning programs—and our work in each area will be tailored to local needs.

Beginning in 2018, VB5 projects will focus on:

  • Program start-up and expansion: Too many Vermont families struggle to find a placement for their children in high-quality early care and learning programs. We will partner with communities to create new high-quality child care spots for kids by offering short-term financial support and technical assistance that supports local expansion, quality improvement, or program start-up.
  • Shared Services: Consistently achieving high-quality and viability is a challenge for early care and learning providers in our rural state. Across the country, we see models of child care programs becoming stronger—offering better service to kids and families and enhanced work experiences to educators—by working together to share business and programmatic resources through Shared Services hubs.
  • Professional networks: Early childhood educator networks, like Starting Points groups, are a valuable and sustainable way for providers to receive ongoing professional training and support. We will focus on leadership development and increased participation to maximize the value of these networks to the field.
  • Workforce development: To reach our goal and get kids what they need, the early care and learning field must attract, train, and retain skilled educators. VB5 will continue to provide support to providers working to increase their skills and qualifications through individual and group coaching and technical assistance from skilled, experienced early childhood professionals.

To prepare for this work, VB5 is revamping our workplan and our team this fall. We are eager to incorporate the results of October’s “Building Vermont’s Future from the Child Up” early childhood education systems design summit organized by Building Bright Futures. As always, we will ensure that our plans are informed by the on-the-ground experiences of child care providers as well as families with young children. We look forward to providing additional updates as our work plan for 2018 is finalized.

Founded in 2000, the Permanent Fund is a philanthropic organization that partners with other early childhood organizations to promote access to high quality, affordable early care and learning in Vermont. The Permanent Fund is the parent organization of two early childhood programs—Let’s Grow Kids and Vermont Birth to Five—which are supported in collaboration with two other major philanthropic organizations: The A. D. Henderson Foundation and The Turrell Fund.

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