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Let's Grow Kids

What We're Reading, July 2019

Whether you have been sharing your story, speaking in your community or with your legislators, or investing philanthropically in Let's Grow Kids, you are part of a national movement. Just like in Vermont, the national child care conversation is growing stronger and louder as others like you are joining…
Aly Richards is the CEO of Let’s Grow Kids and was most recently recognized as a Changemaker for Children by Save the Children.

Quality child care is hard to find. It shouldn’t be.

As I write this, my grandmother is bouncing Beau, and Wesley just peed on my mom. When I found out I would be having twins, I was ecstatic. My entire career has been driven by my deep belief that every child deserves the best possible start in life. Now I had the chance to live this passion on a personal…
Kara von Behren, director of Williston Enrichment Center and instructor for Union Institute and Community College of Vermont

On Second Thought: Shared Services

Kara von Behren is the director of the Williston Enrichment Center, a 5-star child care program. Kara teaches curriculum, leadership and program management courses through Union Institute and Community College of Vermont and serves on multiple committees within the state aimed at designing systems to…
Daniela Caserta, early childhood services director for Family Center of Washington County, Montpelier, VT

Strengthening Families: Social Connections

Daniela Caserta is a master’s level family therapist with a bachelor’s in early childhood and human development. With over 25 years of experience, Daniela specializes in working with families with young children. Currently, she is the Early Childhood Services Director for the Family Center of Washington…
Aricha Drury, early care consultant for Child Care Resource, Williston, VT

Strengthening Families: Parental Resilience

Aricha Drury is an early care consultant for Child Care Resource, supporting Chittenden County child care providers to help make child care work better for kids, providers and families. She also teaches classes for CCR. She has an MEd in educational psychology from the University of Virginia and previously…
Laurie Flaherty, founder and co-director of AB2: Active Body, Active Brain, Creative Movement-based Curriculum

Moving Body, Healthy Brain, Happy Child

Laurie Flaherty, a January 2016 LGK Early Childhood Superhero, is founder and co-director of AB2: Active Body, Active Brain, Creative Movement-Based Early Childhood Curriculum. She is also founder and former executive/artistic director of Green Mountain Performing Arts. She is an instructor for Vermont…
Chloe Learey, executive director of the Winston Prouty Center for Child Development, Brattleboro, VT

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 10: Leadership and Management

Chloe Learey has been the executive director of the Winston Prouty Center for Child Development since July 2007 and was a “Prouty Parent” for 5 years previously. She graduated from Boston University with a dual degree MBA/ MPH, focusing on Healthcare Management. Chloe previously worked at the Brattleboro…
Cookie Cummings, licensed pre-K teacher and owner of Mountain Road Preschool, Addison, VT

There's No Place Like Home: Pre-K in Addison

Cheryl “Cookie” Cummings has been an early childhood educator in Addison County for 30 years. She previously worked at the Otter Creek Children’s Center and the Mary Johnson Children’s Center, and has operated a family child care home for the last five years. She has a bachelor’s degree from Johnson…
Let's Grow Kids

What Vermonters are saying about pre-K

Universal pre-K is a smart investment  Investing in universal pre-K (Act 166) was not only the right thing to do for Vermont—it was a smart choice to make. When kids get a strong start with high-quality early care and learning, we give them the best chance to reach their full potential, and that benefits…
Ginger Farineau, Early Childhood Nutrition Specialist, Hunger Free VT

The Importance of Healthy Meals & Snacks in Child Care

As the Early Childhood Nutrition Specialist at Hunger Free Vermont, Ginger Farineau works to incorporate nutrition as a priority in advocacy efforts to strengthen and expand early childhood education in Vermont.  She understands how important proper nutrition is to the growth and development of the brain…
Elizabeth Reed, teaching and learning consultant, White River Junction, VT

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 9: Physical Environments

Elizabeth (Beth) Reed is an educational consultant. She also teaches early childhood courses for the School of Education at Granite State College, and master level courses in the neurodevelopmental approach to teaching at Plymouth State University, Southern New Hampshire College and University of New…
Michele Campbell, director of education, Saxon Hill School, Jericho, VT

Building a Village: Pre-K in Jericho

Michele Campbell began teaching at Saxon Hill School in Jericho, VT in 1979. She has taught in all of its programs for children ages three through six and, as a Saxon Hill parent, she served as the preschool’s treasurer and registrar. She retired from teaching in 2013 and has been the director of educational…
Patrick Walters, principal of Orwell Village School

Small Town, Big Dreams: Pre-K in Orwell

Patrick Walters has been in education for more than 25 years as a teacher and a principal, and is now serving in his fifth year as the principal at Orwell Village School in Orwell, VT. Orwell, located in the beautiful southern Champlain Valley, has 1,250 residents, and its centerpiece, the Orwell Village…
Kimberlie Buxton, Children’s Integrated Services Specialized Child Care Coordinator, Umbrella Inc., St. Johnsbury, VT

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 8: Community Relationships

Kimberlie Buxton is the Children’s Integrated Services Specialized Child Care Coordinator at Umbrella Inc. in St. Johnsbury and the Strengthening Families Coordinator for the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children. Kim received a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from…
Michelle Fox, Early Education Coordinator for the St. Johnsbury School District

A Bridge to Success: Pre-K in St. Johnsbury

Michelle Fox is the Early Education Coordinator for the St. Johnsbury School District. Prior to this position, she spent 16 years working in the mental health field in a variety of capacities. A lifetime resident of Vermont, she lives in St. Johnsbury with her two children, Patrick (14) and Ashley (13). There’s…
Mariah McGill, policy analyst and adjunct professor, School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Laurie Metcalfe, early care and education director, Sunrise Family Resource Center, Bennington, VT

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 7: Families

Mariah McGill is a policy analyst and adjunct professor at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston where she focuses on health and education policy. She has a BA in international affairs and a JD, and is motivated by a belief that all people are…
Dr. Caitlin McLean, Dr. Marcy Whitebook, Dr. Lea J.E. Austin, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, at the University of California, Berkeley, CA

Early Educators Need Supportive Work Environments to Help Vermont Kids Grow

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley conducts research and proposes policy solutions aimed at improving how our nation prepares, supports and rewards the early care and education workforce. Dr. Caitlin McLean is a Workforce Research Specialist…
Tracy Patnoe, director of Mud City Kids Child Care Center, Morrisville, VT; and Stephanie Tetreault, Morrisville, VT parent of children enrolled at Mud City Kids

The Price We Pay for High-Quality Child Care

In its report to the Administration and Legislature, Vermont’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care emphasized the fact that high-quality child care is expensive for both parents and providers. In Vermont, too many families are living paycheck-to-paycheck while the…
Tanya LaChapelle, executive director/teacher at Robin’s Nest Children’s Center, Burlington, VT

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 6: Teachers

Tanya LaChapelle has worked in the early childhood education field for 20 years, including experience in elementary school settings, with Head Start, teaching infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and engaging in community organizations such as her current role as a steering committee member of the Chittenden…
Rachel Hunter, registered family child care provider, Springfield, VT

We Can't Let This Report Sit on the Shelf

Rachel Hunter is a registered family child care provider in Springfield. She has worked in the early childhood field for 15 years, is a mentor in Vermont Birth to Five’s mentoring program, participates in the Springfield Building Bright Futures Regional Council and serves on the Blue Ribbon Commission…
Kim Toland, child care director at The Family Place, Norwich, VT

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 5: Health

Kim Toland is the child care director at The Family Place, a 5-star program serving 16 infants and toddlers in Norwich, VT. Kim has more than 20 years’ experience in early childhood education as a teacher and director, including many years operating her home-based program, “Kim’s Corner Care.” More than…
Nancy E. Baker, PhD, Speech Language Pathologist and Early Childhood Special Educator

These Signs Were Made for Talkin?

Nancy E. Baker has been helping children and families communicate and learn for over four decades. She has a doctorate in Speech Language Pathology (SLP), is a licensed Early Childhood Special Educator and holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech Language Hearing Association…
Rebecca Webb, project manager at the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program

Standards for High-Quality Care, Part 4: Assessment of Child Progress

Rebecca Webb is a project manager at the Vermont Child Health Improvement Program and an independent consultant who supports, mentors and trains early care and education providers. She is a former administrator for the Vermont Birth to Five Teaching Strategies GOLD Project. Rebecca received a Bachelor…
Elizabeth Casey, early childhood educator at Trinity Children’s Center, Burlington, VT

Standards for High-Quality Child Care, Part 3: Teaching

Elizabeth Casey is an early childhood educator at Trinity Children’s Center, a 5-star, nationally-accredited child care center in Burlington. Elizabeth received a Bachelor’s of Science in Family Science from The University of Maryland and a Masters of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from…
Kara von Behren, director of the Williston Enrichment Center and a master instructor through the Vermont Northern Lights Career Development Center

Standards for High-Quality Child Care, Part 2: Curriculum

Kara von Behren is director of the Williston Enrichment Center, a 5-star child care program in Williston with a staff of over 25 teachers and a capacity of 75 children. Kara is a master instructor through the Vermont Northern Lights Career Development Center and teaches curriculum, leadership and program…
Kim Anderson (Associate Director of Community Relations and Development) and Janine Fleri, Community Relations and Development Assistant), Community Health Centers of Burlington

LAUNCHing Kids to Success

Kim Anderson (right) is the Associate Director of Community Relations and Development with the Community Health Centers of Burlington. Janine Fleri (left) is the newest addition to the CR&D team, joining them in the role of Community Relations and Development Assistant this past April. Kim and Janine…
Ellen Drolette, owner of Sunshine Daydream Child Care, mentor for Vermont Birth to Five and a project coordinator for Child Care Resource

Standards for High-Quality Child Care, Part 1: Relationships

Ellen Drolette is the owner of Sunshine Daydream Child Care, a 5-star, nationally-accredited family child care program in Burlington. Ellen is a mentor for Vermont Birth to Five and a project coordinator for Child Care Resource, working with new Americans who are starting child care programs. Ellen also…
Raffi Cavoukian, singer-songwriter and author

The Screen Dilemma

Raffi Cavoukian, a renowned Canadian musician and author the Washington Post once called “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world,” was a pioneer who brought quality music to children with respect for their age and growing minds. Parents and educators embraced his music and “Beluga…
Let's Grow Kids Announcement

Let's Grow Kids & ECHO Partner on New Exhibit

Treehouses and Boats and Learning! Oh My! Let’s Grow Kids is thrilled to announce its partnership with ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in offering Vermont’s youngest children fun, high-quality learning experiences through ECHO’s new permanent early education exhibit, “Champ Lane,” opening Saturday,…
Dr. Matt Rushford, Certified Pediatric Chiropractor, Co-Owner Rushford Family Chiropractic Center

Stress and the Developing Body

Dr. Matt Rushford founded Rushford Family Chiropractic in 1994 with his wife and partner, Dr. Julieta Rushford Santiago. He is a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and specializes in pediatric and perinatal care. Dr. Matt has one of the few chiropractic practices in New England…
Carol Westinghouse, President and Programs Manager at Informed Green Solutions

Safer Cleaning Practices for Healthy Kids

Carol Westinghouse has experience in environmentally preferable purchasing (EPP) based on her knowledge and background in the health effects of toxic chemicals in the workplace. In 2009 she established Informed Green Solutions. As the manager of the Cleaning for Health program for both INFORM and Informed…
Jeanne Goldhaber, Associate Professor Emerita in Early Childhood Education, University of Vermont

The Reggio Emilia Approach to Child Care

Jeanne Goldhaber is an Associate Professor Emerita in Early Childhood Education in the University of Vermont College of Education and Social Services. She continues to work closely with the UVM Campus Children's School which educates and cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years old and serves as the…
Dr. David Rettew, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, UVM College of Medicine

Temperament in Children: The Key in Which Their Song is Written

David Rettew is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He is the Training Director of the UVM Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship and the Director of the Pediatric Psychiatry Clinic at the UVM Medical Center. Dr. Rettew has over 100…
Heather Burte, post-doctoral researcher, Psychology Department, Tufts University

With Spatial Thinking, the Sky is Not the Limit!

Heather Burte, PhD, is a post-doctoral researcher in the Psychology Department at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and she works on assessing how the Think3d! program impacts math and science learning. The Think3d! program uses origami and paper engineering to teach elementary students how…
Jed Norris, Early Education Program Coordinator at Shelburne Farms.

What Quality Child Care Looks Like to Me

Jed Norris is the Early Education Program Coordinator at Shelburne Farms. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Colby-Sawyer College and his Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Vermont. He has been in the field of early education for close…
Let's Grow Kids

Recap of December Blue Ribbon Commission Meeting

UPDATE: Summary of December 17, 2015 Meeting of the Blue Ribbon Commission In its third meeting on December 17, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care moved toward a definition of “quality” in child care and agreed to a work plan for 2016. The discussion of quality…
Jessica McCloud, Licensed & Nationally Certified Mental Health Counselor

Talking to Children about Traumatic Events

Jessica McCloud is a Licensed and Nationally Certified Mental Health Counselor. She attended the University of Vermont for her Bachelor's and Master's degrees. She currently works in Burlington at a middle school as a Student Assistance Counselor. She also has a small private practice in which she specializes…
Deidra K. Razzaque, Training Coordinator, UVM/DCF Child Welfare Training Partnership

Kinship Caregivers

Deidra K. Razzaque is a Training Coordinator with the UVM/DCF Child Welfare Training Partnership, as well as the mother of young children, a transformative travel coach, writer and artist. She was raised in kinship care. Deidra has worked with youth as the Assistant Director of the Monteverde Friends…
Michelle Fay, MPA, Associate Director, Voices for Vermont’s Children

Oral Health in the First Years

Michelle Fay, MPA is Associate Director of Voices for Vermont’s Children, the state's independent advocacy voice for children and youth. She is a lifelong advocate for women and families, and a former State Representative. She lives in St. Johnsbury with her family. Oral Health and Early Development Oral…
Wendy Martin, Associate Director and Director of Program Development of the Vermont Center for the Book

Early Learning at the Public Library

Wendy Martin is the Associate Director and Director of Program Development of the Vermont Center for the Book (VCB), an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. VCB offers Mother Goose Programs™ professional development trainings for child care providers, librarians and educators…
Peggy Rainville, full time Director of Children’s Programming at VSA Vermont

Children's art: process over product

Peggy Rainville has a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art. She works as the full time Director of Children’s Programming at VSA Vermont and has been with VSAVT since 2000, when she became a teaching artist in their Start with the Arts Program, an inclusive arts based literacy program for child care…
Nancy Baker, PhD, Speech Language Pathologist and Early Childhood Special Educator

Learning to communicate starts day one

The development of strong communication skills is extremely important to a child’s success in school, relationships, and the workforce—and that development begins day one, before the child has begun using words. With the support of at least one responsive, nurturing caregiver, infant cries and smiles…
Bela Schug, Family Liaison for Ludlow and Mount Holly schools

The Origins of Self-Regulation

Bela Schug has been helping children grow for over a decade. She has a Master’s in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed Special Educator. She is currently the Family Liaison for the schools in Ludlow and Mount Holly, offering supports to parents of students in all grades. She is also serving as a research…
Ruth Houtte, Policy and Operations Manager, Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division, St. Johnsbury

Protecting Children in State Custody

Ruth E. Houtte is the Policy and Operations Manager for the Department for Children and Families, Family Services Division, in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. She formerly served as the project director for the Grafton County New Hampshire Greenbook Project. Ms. Houtte has 17 years experience with the Massachusetts…
Jill S. Rinehart, MD FAAP

The Science of Resilience: Helping us Raise a Healthier Generation

Dr. Jill Rinehart, MD FAAP, is a community pediatrician with Hagan, Rinehart & Connolly Pediatricians in Burlington, Vermont. She is a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and is the current American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Vermont Chapter President-elect. We…
Dennis Wygmans, Deputy State's Attorney for Addison County

Nurturing Relationships Help Prevent Toxic Stress

Dennis Wygmans is the Deputy State’s Attorney responsible for prosecuting all of the cases of domestic and sexual abuse in Addison County. He has been at that position for nearly two years. Prior to that, he provided legal assistance to businesses, entertainers, and criminal defendants in Vermont, New…
Dr. Allan Schore interviewed by Dr. Miriam Voran

Dr. Allan Schore on Early Relationships & Lifelong Health

Dr. Allan Schore is on the clinical faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, and at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development. He is author of four important volumes: Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, Affect Dysregulation…
Brigitte Harton, RD, CD, Hannaford supermarket

Brain Food: Nutrition & Brain Development

Brigitte Harton, RD, CD is a registered and certified dietitian with Hannaford supermarket. Brigitte attended the University of Montreal and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in dietetics from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has worked with Hannaford for the last 10 years teaching…
Ben Wilson, President, Better Middlebury Partnership

Child Care & Vermont's Economy

Ben Wilson is Associate Director of Prospect Research at Middlebury College and President of the Better Middlebury Partnership ("BMP"), a business group dedicated to making Middlebury a better place to live, work and play. The BMP is active in Middlebury’s economic development efforts, such as founding…
Sonja Raymond, Sole Owner and Director, Apple Tree Learning Centers

Why Consistency Matters to Social-Emotional Development

Sonja Raymond is currently the owner and director at Apple Tree Learning Centers, which is based in Stowe, Vermont and offers high-quality programming for local and vacationing children age 7 weeks - 12 years. Sonja started at Apple Tree in July of 2000. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Education with…
Officer Mark Schwartz, Shelburne Police Department

Public Safety and Healthy Development

Mark Schwartz has been a Chittenden County Police Officer for the past 5 years. He is married and resides on a farm with his wife where they have 4 dogs and enjoy riding horses.  As a public safety officer, I have observed that it takes a community to keep children in safe and stable environments that…
Erin McKenny

My Child Care Challenge

Erin McKenny works full time as a designer at a four-year liberal arts college in Vermont. She is a mother of three, and a visual artist. She enjoys gardening, cooking and making art with her family.  My Child Care Challenge I am the mother of three children—two sons who are eight and five, and a two-year-old…
Kristy Haapala, Executive Director, Waitsfield Children's Center

The High Costs of Offering Quality Child Care

Kristy Haapala is in her third year as Executive Director of the Waitsfield Children’s Center (WCC) in Waitsfield, Vermont, a non-profit, NAEYC-accredited, five-star, Washington West Supervisory Union pre-K partnership school that currently serves children ages 8 weeks to 6 years. Kristy’s background…
Connie Helms, M.Ed.

The Importance of Floor & Tummy Time

Connie Helms, M.Ed. works in private practice as a therapeutic educator, an education consultant, a parent educator, and a developmental specialist through Balance in Childhood and Adolescence, her business in Williston and Montpelier. Her thirty plus years in education include working as a special education…
Deb Lyons, Executive Director, Puppets in Education

Puppets in Education

Deb Ward Lyons is the Executive Director for Puppets in Education (PiE). She began as a volunteer puppeteer with Kids on the Block-Vermont 28 years ago, moving into Co-Director and Development Director positions along the way. Deb continues to actively puppeteer in PiE presentations, helping the troupe…
Robin Ploof, Ph.D

Discover the Power of Play!

Robin Ploof, Ph.D., is the Program Director for the Masters of Education in Early Childhood at Champlain College. Her long career of working with students includes teaching and mentoring across a spectrum that includes the very youngest learners as well as adults. She can still be found occasionally…
Reverend Debbie Ingram, Vermont Interfaith Action

The Moral Imperative to Support Our Children

Reverend Debbie Ingram is the Executive Director of Vermont Interfaith Action (VIA), a faith-based, grassroots coalition of congregations that works to make compassion and social justice a reality for all Vermonters. Debbie is an ordained minister who pastored two successive congregations in California…
LouAnn Beninati, Program Specialist, Vermont Birth to Three

From Holidazed to Happy Days

LouAnn has over 35 years of experience in the field of Early Care and Education in Vermont, most recently as Coordinator of Vermont’s STep Ahead Recognition System (STARS). She was the Founding Director of the Robin’s Nest Children’s Center in the Old North End of Burlington, where she worked for 25…
Jenna Whitson, Nutrition Advocate, Hunger Free VT

Let's Talk Turkey About Family-Style Meals

For many of us, one of the most satisfying elements of the Thanksgiving holiday is sitting down to a large family-style meal. That shared experience with food offers a sense of connection and belonging to family and friends who are important to us. We thought you’d appreciate the following article by…
Dan Fraser, Manager/Owner, Dan & Whit's

Never Too Late to Help Kids Grow

Dan Fraser is Manager/Owner of Dan & Whit's, a family-owned Vermont general store that has been serving the Norwich community for more than 110 years. Prior to taking on an active management role at the store, Dan worked in Special Education in the Hartford School District and Dresden School District…
Mark Curran, Co-Founder, Black River Produce

Why Businesses Should Support Quality Child Care

Mark Curran is co-founder of Black River Produce in North Springfield, Vermont. A self-professed former "ski bum," Mark and co-founder Steve Birge met on a ski slope in the late 1970s and forged the idea for a new business that would supply the area with quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Today, Black…
Emmet Helrich

The Cost of Not Investing Early

Emmet Helrich is a former lieutenant of the Burlington Police Department. He retired in 2012 after more than 31 years on the force. He now serves as coordinator of the Rapid Intervention Community Court, a program that removes people who have underlying substance abuse or mental health issues from the…
Andrea L. Herrington, MS, CCLS

Developmental Screenings

Andrea L. Herrington, MS, CCLS is a mom to 2 children, ages 5y and 10y. She has been providing home based services to children for 15 years in the Orange-Windsor region of Vermont. These services have included Early Head Start, Early Intervention, Early Childhood Mental Health, and Family Support, as…
Dr. Miriam Voran, Ph.D.

Social-emotional development: three things babies need

Miriam Voran, Ph.D., has a psychoanalytic psychotherapy practice in West Lebanon, NH and Montpelier, VT. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia in 1995, focusing on attachment; and completed her internship and post-doctoral fellowships at Dartmouth Medical School. Her…
Jan Blomstrann, Chairwoman & CEO, Renewable NRG Systems

How Businesses Can Support Early Childhood

Jan (Blittersdorf) Blomstrann is the chairwoman and CEO of Renewable NRG Systems, a manufacturer of decision support tools for the utility-scale renewable energy industry. She joined the company in 1987 and helped build a global organization that now serves more than 150 countries around the world. Prior…
Dr. Nina Sand-Loud, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

The Interplay of Genes and Experience

Dr. Nina Sand-Loud is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She received her medical degree from McGill University Faculty of Medicine and has been in practice for 18 years. Her special interests are child development, sleep disorders, learning disorders and prematurity.…
Suzanne Loring, Stern Center for Language & Learning

Read for Success!

Suzanne Loring is a Staff Writer for the Stern Center for Language and Learning. She has spent the last 10 years working in the world of children’s literacy as a program director for a literacy nonprofit as well as many years as a children’s librarian. She has a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Boston…
Dr. Jody Brakeley, MD, Child Development Clinic

Stress and the Developing Brain

Dr. Johana “Jody” Kashiwa Brakeley is board certified in the pediatric subspecialty known as Developmental–Behavioral Pediatrics (DBPeds). Prior to specializing, she spent 25 years as a primary care pediatrician in Middlebury, Vermont. Dr. Brakeley currently has a private solo practice and is also a…
Dr. Adrienne Pahl, MD, Appleseed Pediatrics

How Screen Time Affects Development

Dr. Adrienne Pahl is a pediatrician at Appleseed Pediatrics in Stowe and Morrisville, VT. She trained at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed her residency in pediatrics at the Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen. Following completion of her training she joined Community…
Ellie Tetrick, Music Educator

Sing for Success!

Ellie Tetrick is an early childhood music educator, and has been teaching music to parents, babies, toddlers and preschoolers for more than twenty years. Currently, she teaches music at Heartworks, Small Wonders and St. Michael’s Early Learning Center. She also teaches her own program “Little Music Makers”…
Dr. Kristen Connolly, MD, Franklin County Pediatrics

The Executive Function Skill Set

Dr. Connolly moved to Shelburne, Vermont during her childhood and graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School. She subsequently attended Williams College, where she graduated with a B.A. in American Studies. Dr. Connolly earned her M.D. at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and completed…
Linda Wellings, Early Childhood Educator, Shelburne Farms

Let Them Play!

Linda Wellings has spent the past 22 years as an early childhood educator at Shelburne Farms, and currently serves as the Director of School Programs. Her unofficial title is Facilitator of Wonder. Prior to this, she taught preschool, Head Start and kindergarten in Ohio. Let Them Play! Asking an early…
Karen Flynn, Vermont Department of Health

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Karen Flynn is the WIC Program Administrator in the Maternal and Child Health Division of the Vermont Department of Health. Since her involvement with the work of the Legislative Study Committee on Breastfeeding in 2000, she has advocated successfully for inclusion of breastfeeding policy in strategic…
Melissa Riegel-Garrett, Executive Director, VAEYC

Defining Quality in Child Care

Melissa Riegel-Garrett is a native of Waterbury, and a 1992 graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Education and Early Childhood Development. She has also received a M.S. in Education and Early Childhood Leadership from Bank Street College of Education in New York, NY. Melissa has been…
Dr. Lewis First, MD, Fletcher Allen Health Care

"Serve & Return" for Strong Brain Connections

Our guest author this week is Lewis R. First, M.D., Professor and Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Chief of Pediatrics at the Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Dr. First is also editor-in-chief of Pediatrics, the journal of the American…
Marcia Bristow, Dietitian Nutritionist

Nutrition and Development

Marcia Bristow is a registered dietitian nutritionist who holds a Masters of Science in Dietetics from the University of Vermont and owns a nutrition counseling practice, Fueling Fitness, PLLC in Shelburne, Vt..  In addition to her nutrition counseling practice, she teaches Sports Nutrition at the University…
Jessica Perrotte, Kindergarten Teacher, JFK Elementary

What is "Kindergarten Readiness"?

Jessica Perrotte was born and raised in Winooski, Vermont. She graduated from UVM with a B.S. in Elementary Education and a Masters in Reading and Language Arts with a reading specialist endorsement. She first began teaching at JFK Elementary 18 years ago and enjoys contributing to her hometown community.…
Steven H. Chapman, M.D., Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

What’s so important about the early years?

Our guest author this week is Steven H. Chapman, M.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in General Academic Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College; Director of the Boyle Community Pediatrics Program; and Associate Director of Child Health at the Center for Primary Care and…