Let’s Grow Kids announced Shelburne resident Abby Knapp is one of four Vermonters to be recognized as Early Childhood Superheroes for going above and beyond to help young children reach their full potential.
Knapp is a teacher and co-founder of Burlington Forest Preschool, an outdoor-focused school that, in collaboration with the Ethan Allen Homestead, supports a love of the natural world, fosters an environmental ethic and cultivates land stewardship. She studied elementary education at the University of Vermont and has been an environmental educator for 11 years at programs such as Outward Bound and Healthy City Youth Farm.
In addition to providing quality early care and learning opportunities for Vermont kids, Knapp and Burlington Forest Preschool give children access to a 250-acre outdoor classroom filled with wetlands, woods and gardens. Knapp sees the natural world as the perfect learning space where children can explore, express themselves and be inspired to care for the environment.
The selection of Early Childhood Superheroes followed a statewide call for nominations of unsung heroes among educators, child care professionals, parents, grandparents, volunteers, business peoples, policymakers, civic leaders and clergy.
From the nominations, a panel of early childhood experts representing Building Bright Futures, Vermont Birth to Five, the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance and Let’s Grow Kids selected four Vermonters from different regions of the state who have demonstrated a commitment to the success of Vermont’s youngest children through “above and beyond” contributions to children’s lives. An inaugural group of five Superheroes was announced last fall.
“Giving Vermont’s children the experiences that build a foundation for success in life requires dedicated, caring adults like the people we celebrate as Superheroes,” said Let’s Grow Kids Campaign Director Robyn Freedner-Maguire. “Because every child deserves a strong start in life, we appreciate the professionals and volunteers who help families navigate the tough choices involved in finding affordable, quality options in child care and early learning in Vermont.”
The other Vermonters chosen for this round of Early Childhood Superheroes include:
- Laurie Flaherty of Waterbury, the founding co-director of the creative movement-based curriculum AB2: Active Body, Active Brain whose classes and workshops help to build early literacy, social studies, math and science skills, as well as important social skills.
- Cheryl Matthews of Vernon, the director of Children’s House at Hilltop Montessori School who has devoted her life to understanding and supporting the learning of all her students.
- Christina Nelson of North Troy, the founder and director of Mountain View Child Care who devotes her time to helping children and families and providing professional development support for other child care providers.
Let’s Grow Kids continues to seek nominations to join the ranks of Early Childhood Superheroes through an online nomination form: http://www.letsgrowkids.org/nominate-superhero.
Let’s Grow Kids is a public awareness and engagement campaign about the important role that high-quality, affordable child care can play in supporting the healthy development of Vermont’s children during their first five years—the most important years for laying a foundation for success in relationships, in school and in life. Because Vermont’s shortage of high-quality, affordable child care is a serious challenge for our communities and our economy, their goal is to gain public support leading to increased, sustainable investment that gives all children the chance to reach their full potential. Let’s Grow Kids is an initiative of the Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children with support from the A.D. Henderson Foundation and the Turrell Fund.