Let's Grow Kids has collected hundreds of stories from Vermonters about their experiences with the state's early childhood system. Here are just a few of those stories. Please support our efforts to build awareness about Vermont's child care challenges by sharing these stories with your friends, family and neighbors and be sure to share your story.
Jen Olson, an early childhood professional with over 10 years of experience, thinks of herself as a lifelong learner, and brings that experience into her teaching daily. She recently realized that she…
Judy, a Child Care Coordinator from Richmond, talks about the importance of a joyous childhood.
Mieko Ozeki of Burlington feels very fortunate to have found a spot for her daughter, Naomi, in a high-quality child care center. Throughout her entire pregnancy, she and her husband searched for a child…
For Faye Longo, a single mom in South Royalton, affording child care has been a constant struggle. Having grown up in poverty herself, Faye notes that it’s very important to her that she lives a life and…
Jen, a parent from Enosburg, shares her struggles as a single mom seeking consistent, affordable, quality child care for her son.
Kathryn, a special educator from Hubbardton, talks about the importance of play and laying a foundation for higher level thinking later in life.
Carly, Family Support at a Family Center from Wilder, shares her wishes for Vermont's children
Mary, an Early Interventionist from Marlboro, shares how transformative friendships start at a very young age.
Kelly, a parent from White River Junction, describes the dedication and support she received from child care providers.
Rebecca, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from St. Albans, talks about her financial challenges in paying for child care.
Danielle, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Burlington, talks about the joys of helping a young child become more independent.
Stephanie, a parent from Shaftsbury, talks about her respect for her son's teachers.
Rebecca, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from St. Albans, discusses what quality means to her in the child care setting.
Megan, a parent from Middlebury, shares what she would do with a magic wand.
Robert Putnam, a Harvard social scientist and author, discusses the need to invest in high quality early childhood education.
Trevor and Caitlin, parents from Brattleboro, talk about the high cost and importance of early childhood care.
Bryanne, a Director of a Child Care Center that is closing, talks about the impacts of a closing Child Care Center.
Deidre, a parent from Elmore, shares her experiences as a stay-at-home Mom.
Megan, a parent from East Thetford, describes how lucky her family is to get help paying for child care.
Renee, a Pre-school Teacher from Arlington, discusses the struggles of being an early childhood educator.
Becky, a Child Center Program Coordinator from Whiting, shares the benefits of quality child care on a child.
Janel, a parent from Johnson, talks about the challenges she faces with making it all work.
This following is a letter to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Financing High Quality, Affordable Child Care.
To the Blue Ribbon Commission:
My name is Jackie Kempton and I am the mother of two girls, living…
Donna, a Reading Recovery Teacher from Irasburg, shares her observations of young children entering Pre-K and Kindergarten.
Grace, a parent from Burlington, discusses the positive impact child care has had on her and her daughter's life.
Melanie, a Family Center Nurse from Weybridge, discusses her hopes for young children.
The Let's Grow Kids Small Talk team asked interviewees: if you had a magic wand, how would you change child care in Vermont?
Anne, a parent from Wolcott, talks about the difficult financial issues faced by families and child care providers.
Sandy, a grandparent from Lyndonville, details the need for early childhood education funding.
Katie, a parent from St. Albans, shares her story about addiction and the role that child care has played on her road to recovery.
My name is Kate Anger. I recently had a beautiful baby boy and couldn't be happier! However, the impending cost of child care has had my family struggling to figure out what to do. I work in the human…
Amethyst, a Resource Specialist at a Children's Center from Ferrisburgh, discusses the impacts of trauma on children, families and providers.
Ally Berthiaume's life path was a common one for native Vermonters: she moved out of state for college and grad school, but then returned home and started her family here.
She and her then-husband were…
Jessica, a parent from South Burlington, shares her experiences with finding child care for her daughter.
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, discusses the importance of young children's long lasting bonds with providers.
Cristina, a Child Care Center Director in Manchester Center, talks about the disconnect between the costs of running a center and the cost to families.
As an early childhood specialist, I see the urgent need to level the playing field for young children’s present and future success by making quality child care more affordable. Because the brain develops…
Anne, a parent from Wolcott, discusses the joyous but difficult time when adapting to having a new member of the family.
Matt, a parent from Bakersfield, talks about how much his family has paid for two children in child care.
Kathleen, an Early Childhood Teacher from Cornwall, discusses structure in the child care setting.
Dawna, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from North Hartland, talks about the importance of love and support in the early years.
My family lives in Craftsbury where finding childcare has become a struggle for many families. Those of us in small towns have no access to large childcare centers and our registered home daycares have…
Kysa, a parent from Williamstown, shares her struggles and successes in navigating her day-to-day routine.
Ashley, a parent from Middlebury, explains the tough child care decision her family made to balance personal and financial needs.
In 2016, after a full calendar year of searching for an infant spot in Burlington, I re-entered the workforce without care for my daughter. Out of desperation, I hired a full-time nanny even though I knew…
Anne, a parent from Wolcott, talks about her desire to keep a toe in the workforce while parenting.
Christina, a parent from Hartford, shares her thoughts about the importance of child care for her daughter.
Sarah, a State Representative from Tunbridge, discusses two crucial needs for Vermont families.
My boyfriend and I work hard. He is a foreman on a construction sight. I am a part time waitress, and I clean the daycare and help out with some of the errands to help pay the cost of my child care.
Rebecca, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from St. Albans, describes how child care helps children prepare for Kindergarten.
My name is Jennifer Galusha. I work in Manchester Center and I’m a single mother of an amazing, intelligent and imaginative soon-to-be 3 year old boy. I love watching his curiosity drive him to explore…
Mary, an Early Interventionist from Marlboro, discusses the complex issues that teachers/providers face and their need for training.
Donna, the Director of a Parent Child Center in Middlebury, discusses the financial challenges that families face, specifically with child care.
Jack, a Pediatrician from Middlebury, explains that prevention is less expensive than intervention.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, talks about the importance of dialogue around issues of child care and parenting.
I’ve always been a planner, so when my husband and I decided to start our family, we immediately began searching for child care. We were prepared for the financial hit that child care would pose. It was…
Deidre, an Early Childhood Services Manager from Montpelier, talks about the importance of a well trained workforce.
Kathy, a Financial Coordinator for a Family Center, discusses the sacrifices families make in order to have quality child care.
Robin, a community organizer from Brattleboro, stresses the importance of connection between provider and child.
Kim, a Director of Residential and Community Treatment for a Family Center, discusses the need for a holistic approach to caring for children and families.
Angela, a Home-based Provider/Owner from Highgate, describes the tensions that parents and providers face with affording child care.
Renee, a Pre-school Teacher from Arlington, talks about the large pay difference in the education field.
Heather, a Home-based Provider/Owner from Shelburne, explains the need to better support child care providers and teachers.
Melanie, a parent from Weybridge, discusses child care: the need for more infant care and the high costs of quality care.
Ellen, a parent from Burlington, discusses how expensive, necessary and important high quality child care is.
Heather, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Rutland, emphasizes the importance of social and intellectual development in the early years.
Marianna, a parent from Marshfield, talks about her family's struggles to make ends meet.
Matt, a parent from Bakersfield, talks about the financial difficulties child care centers face.
Kim, a Director of Residential and Community Treatment for a Family Center, discusses the importance of child care for parents in treatment.
Heather, a parent from Fairfax, shares the difficulties finding childcare during her transition back to work.
Pamela, a parent from Wallingford, discusses the difficulting of coordinating services for her foster children.
Hope, a grandparent from Barnet, expects that she'll need to help pay for the high costs of her grandchild's child care.
Jack, a Pediatrician from Middlebury, talks about the growing need for child services.
My son had a very exciting first day of kindergarten! He was actually ready to go the day before school started!
My goal has always been for him to enjoy everything about education and learning—from the…
Gabriel started kindergarten at Newport City Elementary yesterday, and this is what he said, "Mommy do you have to come with me? Can you just drop me off? It's ok....really, I've got this." He actually…
Heather Martin, director of Baby Steps Child Care in Proctor, VT, discusses the impact the LGK's Make Way For Kids grant has had. Learn more about Make Way for Kids here.
Hope, a Foundation Program Director from Barnet, describes the big gap in what child care costs and what families can afford to pay.
Sam, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Stowe, emphasizes the need for a diverse workforce in the child care field.
Krystal, a parent from Brattleboro, talks about the difficulty of finding child care that fits into her schedule.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, discusses the importance of work in her life as a parent.
Caroline, President of the National Bank of Middlebury, talks about the out-of-sync nature of work and parenting.
Jodi, a Pre-school Teacher from Dorset, discusses the importance of professional development for ealy childhood educators.
Kelley, a Head Start Assistant Director from Clarendon, emphasizes the need for high quality child care for all of Vermont's young children.
Christina, Program Security Manager for the VT Air National Guard from Williston, talks about being away from her kids during deployment.
Kathy, a parent from Colchester, shares her hopes for her children.
Judy, a Child Care Coordinator from Richmond, emphasizes that the health and well being of young children affects us all.
For Janessa Thompson, a single mom from St. Albans, finding reliable child care for her son has been a consistent obstacle to her professional development and financial stability. She knows her son is…
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, talks about the diverse ways of funding a child care program.
Anne, a Center-based Child Care Provider from Manchester, talks about what keeps her in early childhood education.
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, discusses the issue of high turnover in child care settings.
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, discusses the difficulties of managing a child care center amidst changing resources.
Brent, Master Sergeant in the Vermont Air National Guard from Essex Junction, talks about the importance of child care for military families and beyond.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, talks about balancing work and family.
Jen, a Child Care Coordinator, describes specialized care for children with special needs.
Keisha, a parent from West Addison, talks about her daily routine of school and parenting.
Nathaniel, a parent from Guilford, highlights the importance of making child care financially accessible to a range of income levels.
Dan, Manager and Co-Owner of Dan and Whit's Country Store in Norwich, discusses the importance of investing in the early years.
Christina, Program Security Manager for the VT Air National Guard from Williston, discusses the requirements of being in the Guard.
Jessi Fryman of Hyde Park is a hard-working mom to two toddlers. When she and her husband looked for child care for their children, they realized that the expense would be a substantial portion of their…
Brooke, a parent from Danville, describes her vision for child care for her family.
Jennifer, former Manager at a Child Care Center from Derby, describes her ideal child care system.
Bryanne, a Director of a Child Care Center that is closing, discusses the close relationships providers and parents share.
Alix, District Director of DCF from St. Albans, discusses how Vermont is doing taking care of its children.
As a preschool teacher, child advocate and avowed feminist, Naomi Alfini of Duxbury found that navigating early childhood with her own son was more challenging than she expected. She and her husband made…
Renee, a Pre-school Teacher from Arlington, discusses the hardships of finding care in a rural community.
Shayla, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Barre, discusses the rewards and challenges of working in the child care field.
My daughter has been in outside care since she was seven months old. When searching for the right place, we considered location, caregivers, and quality of experience. Play and outside time are priorities…
I have children four years apart: a boy and then twin girls. They were all ready for kindergarten after being in an alternative school with teacher continuity. When the girls went to full time kindergarten…
Donna, the Director of a Parent Child Center in Middlebury, discusses the importance of engaging families to accommodate their needs.
Holly, a parent from Norwich, talks about putting her life back together with the help of child care.
Sally, a grandparent from Fairlee, reflects on the new child care challenges that today's parents face.
Sasha, a parent from White River Junction, talks about the importance of a qualified child care provider for her child.
Janean, a parent from North Bennington, talks about the struggles with finding a child care situation that met the needs of her family.
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, discusses the importance of qualified, professional child care providers.
Lauren Shade and her husband found out they were going to have a baby on the day they moved from Pennsylvania to Underhill, VT. It was unexpected news, but they were excited about their new lives in Vermont,…
Sarah, a State Representative from Tunbridge, discusses Vermont's commitment to young children and our future.
This isn't the regular story of simply not being able to afford care—this is the story of not being able to even FIND quality care to be able to afford.
My husband and I struggled with infertility, and…
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, highlights low pay and the lack of health insurance as key issues for providers.
William, a parent from Rutland, talks about how the inflexibility of schedule and high cost of child care have a stressful impact on families.
Dan, Manager and Co-Owner of Dan and Whit's Country Store in Norwich, talks about the benefits of being a family friendly business.
Julie, a resident of Newport, talks about the child care climate of Orleans County.
I chose to seek child care outside of the home, and chose an Enrichment Center. We appreciated the light enrichment and education aspects which accompanied fun and play. Contact and interaction with other…
We live in Bridport, Vermont and the school has no after school child care. Because of this, we have had to put our child in private school, paying a tuition we really cannot afford. We have no other option.…
Darlene, Co-Director of a Child Care Center in Bennington, discusses the important skills needed to be an early childhood educator.
Shayla, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Barre, talks about her guiding principles for being an early childhood educator.
Sarah, a parent from Brattleboro, shares her experiences paying for child care and the need for providers to make a livable wage.
Heather, a Home-based Provider/Owner from Shelburne, discusses the difficult choices parents make due to the lack of affordable, quality child care.
Donna, the Director of a Parent Child Center in Middlebury, talks about the need for prioritizing early childhood in State budgets and minds.
Robert Putnam, a Harvard social scientist and author, discusses the advent of the high school in America and how it changed society.
Renee, a Child Care Center Director from St. Albans, discusses the impact of working in a low paying field.
Jessica, a parent from South Burlington, talks about the cost of child care as a family in the National Guard.
Jodi, a Pre-School Teacher from Dorset, shares why she loves her work in Early Childhood Education.
Dan, Manager and Co-Owner of Dan and Whit's Country Store in Norwich, talks about his connections to education and business.
Dana, a parent from Middlesex, talks about her positive experiences with child care for her twins.
Daniel, a parent from Rutland, discusses the capabilities and elasticity of a young mind.
Darlene, Co-Director of a Child Care Center in Bennington, shares her views on high quality child care.
Ashlie, a parent from Norwich, shares her story about getting her GED with the help of child care.
Brent, Master Sergeant in the Vermont Air National Guard from Essex Junction, discusses the Home Child Care Program on Drill weekends.
Christopher, a Family Educator at a Child Care Center in Norwich, talks about the benefits of parent education.
My name is Abby Skidmore. I live in Bennington and I am the proud single mother of a beautiful little girl. I love being her mom! Every day is filled with learning experiences—for my daughter and for me—and…
My family has experienced wonderful care provided by Orleans Family Medical Practice in Orleans, Vermont. Not only do they greet my family by name, but they genuinely care about our well-being. During…
Darlene, Co-Director of a Child Care Center in Bennington, discusses their approach to early childhood education.
Jessica, a parent from South Burlington, discusses her daughter's positive experiences with child care.
Courtney Ladd absolutely loved her job working as an early childhood educator, but when she became pregnant, her family faced a heartbreaking reality: even with a substantial discount and guaranteed spot…
My child's transition to kindergarten was wonderful. He is seven years old and continues to have a remarkable experience at school. I believe this was because I read and sang to him right from the start.…
Cindy, a parent from Johnson, describes her struggle to find a job that is family friendly and flexible.
Larissa, a parent from Fairfax, describes the important social network for children in child care.
Barbara, a State Representative from Burlington, talks about her three interconnected roles as a mother, representative, and executive director.
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, describes the need for more collaboration between schools and child care programs.
Julie of Newport discusses the impact of not having high quality child care on a community.
Megan, a Development Assistant from Colchester, discusses the need for more funding in early childhood education.
Katie, a parent from Orleans, talks about struggles of balancing child care with other bills.
My son attended Round Hill Kids Childcare Center in North Hyde Park, VT from the age of 10 months until he entered kindergarten in 2013. His experience there gave him a lot of the tools he needed to be…
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, discusses making business decisions that take families into consideration.
Peter, Superintendent of the Addison Central Supervisory Union, discusses the positive direction Vermont is heading with Pre-K options for families.
I am a single, divorced mother of 3.5 year old twins and work full-time in a high-responsibility job in mental health program administration. I make more money than I ever have in my life, but finding…
Ellen, a parent from Burlington, explains the challenge of finding child care and her relief at finding a high quality center.
Jared, a parent from Shaftsbury, shares his challenges of finding affordable, quality child care in Bennington County.
Carly, Family Support at a Family Center from Wilder, relfects on the struggles of families living poverty.
Mary, an Early Interventionist from Marlboro, discusses the complex role of an early childhood educator in Vermont.
When asked if child care in Vermont is affordable, Kathleen Bookchin takes a very long pause before responding: “Affordable is such an interesting word. You have to make it affordable – you really don’t have…
Shayla, a parent from Barre, shares her experience with finding a child care provider that felt right for her and her child.
Brooke, a parent from Danville, describes the process of finding child care for her four children.
Ashlie, a parent from Norwich, shares her biggest hope for her children.
Kylie, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Richmond, explains why she works with young children.
Sandy, a grandparent from Lyndonville, shares her story about her grandchildren who have benefitted from high quality child care.
Courtney, a parent from Middlebury, talks about the cost and the importance of child care.
Crystal, a parent from Berlin, discusses the benefits of quality care for her daughter and her struggle to find infant care.
Peter, Superintendent of the Addison Central Supervisory Union, talks about Universal Pre-K in Vermont.
Judy, a Child Care Coordinator from Richmond, stresses the importance of community and supports for families.
First, I looked at providers in my area. Then I looked at the Building Bright Futures website which gives a list of violations from the state. This narrowed my list for people to call. My son has special…
Caroline, President of the National Bank of Middlebury, talks about the child care challenges of a rural state.
Kathleen, an Early Childhood Teacher from Cornwall, discusses what it looks like when kids engage in active learning.
Dana, a Health Coordinator from Middlesex, discusses the importance of social contact in the early years.
Selver, a parent from Shelburne, discusses the difficulties of being a single parent of two in child care.
Kathy, a Teacher from Burlington, discusses the need for coordinated programs that support kids and their parents.
Shevie, a parent from White River Junction, talks about her experiences navigating the child care system.
Amy, a parent from Richmond, talks about the high costs of child care.
Danielle, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Burlington, describes the dilemma of leaving a job she loves to make ends meet.
Kathy, a Financial Coordinator for a Family Center, discusses the financial struggles of child care providers .