Let’s Grow Kids (LGK) works to ensure that high-quality child care programs thrive and that more families can access them. Our team of experienced early childhood education leaders provides a variety of services to child care programs, early educators and other community stakeholders, offering expert advice, customized technical assistance, Vermont-specific resources and grants.
LGK works with child care programs and community partners throughout Vermont to create new opportunities for child care leaders to share best practices in early education as well as program administration such as purchasing, bookkeeping, billing and waitlist management.
Shared Services can help you work smarter, not harder through:
- Technology solutions at SharedServicesVT.org.
- For example, Smartcare is a business management technology designed to allow early educators to spend less time with computers and more time with children. Smartcare enables directors to receive payments and manage attendance, billing, employees, medical records, child/family data, real-time ratios and more directly from the web or an app. For more information, please contact Lorraine Vernet.
- Regional networks with an administrative hub that enable programs to share services, staff, tools, information and resources.
- Family-centered communities that connect children in your care with a wide range of community services and supports.
Together, Vermont child care programs can become stronger, more financially sound, efficient, sustainable and better able to deliver high-quality child care services. To learn more, please contact LouAnn Beninati.
Our goal is to create at least 500 high-quality child care spaces in Vermont annually by helping start and grow sustainable, high-quality child care programs. To achieve this, our work is tailored to the local needs of communities, through two strategies:
- Program expansion and start-up assistance. To increase the availability of high-quality early care and learning programs we offer short-term financial and technical assistance that supports local expansion, quality improvement or program start-up.
Grant opportunities include our Make Way for Kids program, the Expanding Infant and Toddler Child Care Capacity Grant program in collaboration with Vermont’s Child Development Division, and our collaboration with the City of Burlington’s Early Learning Initiative.
- Workforce development. To ensure the early care and learning field can attract, train and retain skilled educators, we provide technical assistance to early educators working to increase their skills and qualifications, collaborate with partners to offer professional development opportunities and provide resources to support the development of strong professional networks.
Advice and technical assistance is available on the following topics:
- STARS is Vermont’s quality recognition and improvement system. LGK provides technical assistance and resources to help child care programs navigate the STARS system and improve quality. Click here to learn more about STARS.
- Vermont now has a statewide registry where developmental screening results can be safely shared between parents, early educators, pediatricians and other community providers. Click here to learn about Vermont’s Universal Developmental Screening.
- Act 166 provides for universal access to publicly funded pre-K education in Vermont. Click here to learn more about offering universal pre-K in your program.
EARLY CHILDHOOD JOBS VT
Early Childhood Jobs VT is Vermont’s free job board for early educators. Job seekers can search and apply for jobs on earlychildhoodjobsvt.org at no charge. Regulated employers can advertise jobs at no charge. Click here to view current early educator job openings. To learn more about posting a job, visit SharedServicesVT.org.
Early Educator of the Year Award
In an effort to recognize excellence in the teaching of Vermont’s young children and emphasize the importance of high-quality early care and learning, LGK established an annual Early Educator of the Year Award. Each year, the award is given to a Vermont early childhood educator who goes above and beyond to positively impact the lives of children, families and the community. An award selection committee comprised of leaders in early education and child development review award applications and choose the award winner who receives a $5,000 and all expenses paid to attend the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children (VTAEYC) conference as well as one national conference.
LGK is proud to sponsor local networks of early educator leaders across 12 regions in Vermont who utilize professional development opportunities and peer support to encourage, learn and grow together. Vermont Early Childhood Networks meet regularly to provide a comfortable and engaging way for early educators to connect with each other, identify opportunities and challenges, propose solutions and celebrate achievements.
Please contact Lorraine Vernet for more information. Click here for a complete list of Vermont Early Childhood Network District Leaders.
LGK EARLY EDUCATORS FACEBOOK GROUP
LGK’s Early Educator Facebook group is an online community for Vermont child care professionals to share and receive important early education resources and news.
In addition to our work to bolster the early educator workforce in Vermont, we are providing scaffolding for Vermont’s child care system, shoring up critically underfunded elements of the system to ensure that it is sustainable far beyond 2025.
By 2025, we will ensure that our nonprofit partners are strong and in position to carry on critical roles including policy advocate, early childhood systems coordinator and planner, early childhood educator professional organization, higher education and professional development steward, and child care business resource advisor. These key partners include:
- VSAC Scholarships flyer
- Assessment of Prior Learning handout
- Early Childhood Educator Career flyer
- Praxis Core Testing Supports for Early Educators