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.
Darlene, Co-Director of a Child Care Center in Bennington, discusses their approach to early childhood education.
Staci Otis, Owner, Little All-Stars Childcare and Preschool
Donna, the Director of a Parent Child Center in Middlebury, talks about the need for prioritizing early childhood in State budgets and minds.
Ashlie, a parent from Norwich, shares her biggest hope for her children.
Janel, a parent from Johnson, talks about the challenges she faces with making it all work.
Win Smith, Senior Advisor and Retired President, Sugarbush Resport
Jack, a pediatrician from Middlebury, explains that prevention is less expensive than intervention.
Anne, a Center-based Child Care Provider from Manchester, talks about what keeps her in early childhood education.
Daniel, a parent from Rutland, discusses the capabilities and elasticity of a young mind.
Dawna, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from North Hartland, talks about the importance of love and support in the early years.
Sam, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Stowe, emphasizes the need for a diverse workforce in the child care field.
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…
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…
Jen, a Child Care Coordinator, describes specialized care for children with special needs.
Dr. Jody Brakeley, Retired Pediatrician, Middlebury
Affordable is such an interesting word. You have to make it affordable—you really don’t have a choice. For our family, we were lucky, we had two working parents, and we were able to afford child care.…
Brent, master sergeant in the Vermont Air National Guard from Essex Junction, talks about the importance of child care for military families and beyond.
Meghan Gunn, MD, Pediatrician, Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
Megan, a Development Assistant from Colchester, discusses the need for more funding in early childhood education.
Cristina, a Child Care Center Director from Manchester Center, describes the complicated nature of running a Center.
Christina, a parent from Hartford, shares her thoughts about the importance of child care for her daughter.
Deidre, a parent from Elmore, shares her experiences as a stay-at-home Mom.
Alix, District Director of DCF from St. Albans, discusses how Vermont is doing taking care of its children.
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, describes the need for more collaboration between schools and child care programs.
Jen, a Child Care Coordinator, talks about Specialized Care in the Child Care setting.
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…
Shayla, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Barre, discusses the rewards and challenges of working in the child care field.
Grace, a parent from Burlington, discusses the positive impact child care has had on her and her daughter's life.
I feel very fortunate to have found a spot for my daughter, Naomi, in a high-quality child care center. Throughout my entire pregnancy, my husband and I searched for a child care opening that could accept…
Shayla, a parent from Barre, shares her experience with finding a child care provider that felt right for her and her child.
Holly, a parent from Norwich, talks about putting her life back together with the help of child care.
Krystal, a parent from Brattleboro, talks about the difficulty of finding child care that fits into her schedule.
Sandy, a grandparent from Lyndonville, shares her story about her grandchildren who have benefitted from high quality child care.
Dan, Manager and Co-Owner of Dan and Whit's Country Store in Norwich, talks about his connections to education and business.
Caroline, President of the National Bank of Middlebury, talks about the out-of-sync nature of work and parenting.
Rebecca, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from St. Albans, talks about her financial challenges in paying for child care.
Leah Costello, MD, Pediatrician, Timber Lane Pediatrics
Stephanie, a parent from Shaftsbury, talks about her respect for her son's teachers.
Jennifer, former Manager at a Child Care Center from Derby, describes her ideal child care system.
Mary, an Early Interventionist from Marlboro, shares how transformative friendships start at a very young age.
Renee, a Pre-school Teacher from Arlington, talks about the large pay difference in the education field.
Christina, Program Security Manager for the VT Air National Guard from Williston, talks about being away from her kids during deployment.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, discusses making business decisions that take families into consideration.
Katie, a parent from St. Albans, shares her story about addiction and the role that child care has played on her road to recovery.
Carly, Family Support at a Family Center from Wilder, shares her wishes for Vermont's children
Kathy, a parent from Colchester, shares her hopes for her children.
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.
Jessica, a parent from South Burlington, talks about the cost of child care as a family in the National Guard.
Bibba Kahn, Montpelier Middle School Teacher and Vermont Teacher of the Year 2020
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…
Sasha, a parent from White River Junction, talks about the importance of a qualified child care provider for her child.
My life path was a common one for native Vermonters: I moved out of state for college and grad school, but then returned home and started my family here. My then-husband and I were proactive about finding…
Shayla, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Barre, talks about her guiding principles for being an early childhood educator.
Hope, a grandparent from Barnet, expects that she'll need to help pay for the high costs of her grandchild's child care.
Kathryn, a special educator from Hubbardton, talks about the importance of play and laying a foundation for higher level thinking later in life.
Judy, a Child Care Coordinator from Richmond, emphasizes that the health and well being of young children affects us all.
Anne, a parent from Wolcott, talks about her desire to keep a toe in the workforce while parenting.
Jessica, a parent from South Burlington, shares her experiences with finding child care for her daughter.
Kelley, a Head Start Assistant Director from Clarendon, emphasizes the need for high quality child care for all of Vermont's young children.
Christopher, a Family Educator at a Child Care Center in Norwich, talks about the benefits of parent education.
Kathy, a Financial Coordinator for a Family Center, discusses the financial struggles of child care providers .
Peter, Superintendent of the Addison Central Supervisory Union, talks about Universal Pre-K in Vermont.
Pamela, a parent from Wallingford, discusses the difficulting of coordinating services for her foster children.
Julie, a resident of Newport, talks about the child care climate of Orleans County.
Mary, an Early Interventionist from Marlboro, discusses the complex role of an early childhood educator in Vermont.
I really credit high-quality early childhood educators with helping my family find resources to diagnose and treat my son’s developmental delays.
When my oldest daughter was in child care, I found the…
As a professional in the field of women’s health, I felt fairly well-prepared for pregnancy and parenthood. I was enrolled in nursing school while working full-time, but my husband and I made the decision…
Darlene, Co-Director of a Child Care Center in Bennington, discusses the important skills needed to be an early childhood educator.
Matt, a parent from Bakersfield, talks about how much his family has paid for two children in child care.
Kathy, a Teacher from Burlington, discusses the need for coordinated programs that support kids and their parents.
Kysa, a parent from Williamstown, shares her struggles and successes in navigating her day-to-day routine.
Heather, a parent from Fairfax, shares the difficulties finding childcare during her transition back to work.
Nathaniel, a parent from Guilford, highlights the importance of making child care financially accessible to a range of income levels.
Carly, Family Support at a Family Center from Wilder, relfects on the struggles of families living poverty.
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.…
Renee, a Pre-school Teacher from Arlington, discusses the hardships of finding care in a rural community.
Janean, a parent from North Bennington, talks about the struggles with finding a child care situation that met the needs of her family.
Robert Haynes Jr, Executive Director, Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation
Jodi, a Pre-School Teacher from Dorset, shares why she loves her work in Early Childhood Education.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, talks about balancing work and family.
Marianna, a parent from Marshfield, talks about her family's struggles to make ends meet.
Duane Peterson, Co-President, SunCommon
Jodi, a Pre-school Teacher from Dorset, discusses the importance of professional development for ealy childhood educators.
Keegan Albaugh, Fatherhood Program Coordinator, The Family Room; and Founder & President, Dad Guild
Catherine Marrin, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Bryanne, a Director of a Child Care Center that is closing, discusses the close relationships providers and parents share.
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, and for…
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…
Heather, a Home-based Provider/Owner from Shelburne, discusses the difficult choices parents make due to the lack of affordable, quality child care.
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…
Amy, a parent from Richmond, talks about the high costs of child care.
Donna, the Director of a Parent Child Center in Middlebury, discusses the importance of engaging families to accommodate their needs.
I started looking for child care ONE YEAR before I would need it and I’m still looking.
In January of 2019, very shortly after discovering I was pregnant, I started calling around to all of the child…
Sarah, a parent from Brattleboro, shares her experiences paying for child care and the need for providers to make a livable wage.
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…
Danielle, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Burlington, describes the dilemma of leaving a job she loves to make ends meet.
Sally, a grandparent from Fairlee, reflects on the new child care challenges that today's parents face.
William, a parent from Rutland, talks about how the inflexibility of schedule and high cost of child care have a stressful impact on families.
Caroline, President of the National Bank of Middlebury, talks about the child care challenges of a rural state.
Matt, a parent from Bakersfield, talks about the financial difficulties child care centers face.
Michael Seaver, Vermont President, People's United Bank
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.…
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, discusses the importance of qualified, professional child care providers.
Megan, a parent from East Thetford, describes how lucky her family is to get help paying for child care.
I had never thought about child care before I had kids. I didn't even used to want kids. When the time came for me to find child care, I was really impressed with the classrooms at ABC & LOL in St. Johnsbury.…
Barbara, a State Representative from Burlington, talks about her three interconnected roles as a mother, representative, and executive director.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, talks about balancing work and family.
Sarah, a State Representative from Tunbridge, discusses Vermont's commitment to young children and our future.
Dr. Rebecca Bell, President, American Academy of Pediatrics, Vermont Chapter
Julie of Newport discusses the impact of not having high quality child care on a community.
Dan, Manager and Co-Owner of Dan and Whit's Country Store in Norwich, talks about the benefits of being a family friendly business.
Robin, a community organizer from Brattleboro, stresses the importance of connection between provider and child.
Brooke, a parent from Danville, describes the process of finding child care for her four children.
Mary, an Early Interventionist from Marlboro, discusses the complex issues that teachers/providers face and their need for training.
I had a gut feeling that my son was slightly different from other kids his age and, despite my reservations, I pursued a clinical evaluation of his developmental progress when he was 19 months old.
When I opened…
Robert Putnam, a Harvard social scientist and author, discusses the advent of the high school in America and how it changed society.
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, discusses her salary.
Dana, a parent from Middlesex, talks about her positive experiences with child care for her twins.
Kim, a Director of Residential and Community Treatment for a Family Center, discusses the importance of child care for parents in treatment.
Dr. Lou DiNicola, Pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics, Vermont Chapter Member, Randolph
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…
Kathy, a Financial Coordinator for a Family Center, discusses the sacrifices families make in order to have quality child care.
Crystal, a parent from Berlin, discusses the benefits of quality care for her daughter and her struggle to find infant care.
Catherine Hamilton, Vice President of Consumer Services & Planning, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont
Hope, a Foundation Program Director from Barnet, describes the big gap in what child care costs and what families can afford to pay.
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, discusses the importance of young children's long lasting bonds with providers.
Danielle, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Burlington, talks about the joys of helping a young child become more independent.
I am an early childhood professional with over 10 years of experience. I consider myself a lifelong learner and I bring that experience into my teaching daily. I recently realized that I needed to practice…
Elisha Underwood, Wellness Program Manager, Windham 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…
Kylie, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Richmond, explains why she works with young children.
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.
Dana, a Health Coordinator from Middlesex, discusses the importance of social contact in the early years.
Rachel Whalen, Kindergarten Educator, Union Elementary, Montpelier
My husband and I found out we were going to have a baby on the day we moved from Pennsylvania to Underhill, VT. It was unexpected news, but we were excited about our new lives in Vermont, the new jobs…
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, discusses the issue of high turnover in child care settings.
As a preschool teacher, navigating early childhood with my own son was more challenging than I expected. My husband and I made the choice that I would leave work and stay home with our son for the first…
Sarah Buxton, a former state representative from Tunbridge, discusses Vermont's commitment to young children and our future.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, talks about the importance of dialogue around issues of child care and parenting.
Rebecca, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from St. Albans, discusses what quality means to her in the child care setting.
Jack, a Pediatrician from Middlebury, explains that prevention is less expensive than intervention.
Katie, a parent from Orleans, talks about struggles of balancing child care with other bills.
Chelsea, a center-based Provider/Teacher in Bennington, describes what she would need to stay and thrive in the field of early childhood.
Lydia, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Shelburne, highlights low pay and the lack of health insurance as key issues for providers.
Matthew LeFluer, Let's Grow Kids volunteer and 2017 Early Childhood Superhero
I absolutely loved my job working as an early childhood educator, but when I became pregnant, my family faced a heartbreaking reality: even with a substantial discount and guaranteed spot for our son through…
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…
Jessica, a parent from South Burlington, discusses her daughter's positive experiences with child care.
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, talks about the diverse ways of funding a child care program.
Ellen, a parent from Burlington, explains the challenge of finding child care and her relief at finding a high quality center.
Megan, a parent from Middlebury, shares what she would do with a magic wand.
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.
Trisha Scharf, Owner, Williston Early Childhood Education Program
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…
Kathleen, an Early Childhood Teacher from Cornwall, discusses what it looks like when kids engage in active learning.
Selver, a parent from Shelburne, discusses the difficulties of being a single parent of two in child care.
Robert Putnam, a Harvard social scientist and author, discusses the need to invest in high quality early childhood education.
Shayla, a parent from Barre, talks about her road to becoming an Early Childhood Provider at a center in Montpelier.
Renee, a Pre-school Teacher from Arlington, discusses the struggles of being an early childhood educator.
Deidre, an Early Childhood Services Manager from Montpelier, talks about the importance of a well trained workforce.
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…
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…
Caroline, president of the National Bank of Middlebury, discusses the intersection of work and having a family.
Julia Rogers, Founding Director, EnRoute Consulting
Sandy, a grandparent from Lyndonville, details the need for early childhood education funding.
Peter, Superintendent of the Addison Central Supervisory Union, discusses the positive direction Vermont is heading with Pre-K options for families.
I always knew that I wanted to work with young children. Since I can remember I’ve just known I wanted to be an early childhood educator. I was always that one kid in high school that knew where their…
Brooke, a parent from Danville, describes her vision for child care for her family.
Heather, a Home-based Provider/Owner from Shelburne, explains the need to better support child care providers and teachers.
Larissa, a parent from Fairfax, describes the important social network for children in child care.
Cindy, a parent from Johnson, describes her struggle to find a job that is family friendly and flexible.
Kathleen, an Early Childhood Teacher from Cornwall, discusses structure in the child care setting.
Brent, Master Sergeant in the Vermont Air National Guard from Essex Junction, talks about the importance of child care for military families and beyond.
Courtney, a parent from Middlebury, talks about the cost and the importance of child care.
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…
Kelly, a parent from White River Junction, describes the dedication and support she received from child care providers.
Renee, a Child Care Center Director from St. Albans, discusses the impact of working in a low paying field.
Keisha, a parent from West Addison, talks about her daily routine of school and parenting.
Brent, Master Sergeant in the Vermont Air National Guard from Essex Junction, discusses the Home Child Care Program on Drill weekends.
Amethyst, a Resource Specialist at a Children's Center from Ferrisburgh, discusses the impacts of trauma on children, families and providers.
Donna, the Director of a Parent Child Center in Middlebury, discusses the financial challenges that families face, specifically with child care.
Anne, a parent from Wolcott, discusses the joyous but difficult time when adapting to having a new member of the family.
Chris Nelson, Owner, Mountain View Child Care
Heather, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from Rutland, emphasizes the importance of social and intellectual development in the early years.
Ashley, a parent from Middlebury, explains the tough child care decision her family made to balance personal and financial needs.
Judy, a Child Care Coordinator from Richmond, talks about the importance of a joyous childhood.
Christina, Program Security Manager for the VT Air National Guard from Williston, discusses the requirements of being in the Guard.
Ricky Klein, Co-Founder & Head Brewer, Groennfell Meadery
Melanie, a parent from Weybridge, discusses child care: the need for more infant care and the high costs of quality care.
As a single mom, affording child care has been a constant struggle. Having grown up in poverty, it’s very important to me to work and give back to my community. I receive assistance paying for child care…
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…
Adeline Druart, President, Vermont Creamery
Anne, a parent from Wolcott, talks about the difficult financial issues faced by families and child care providers.
Emily, a business owner and parent from Middlebury, discusses the importance of work in her life as a parent.
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…
Judy, a Child Care Coordinator from Richmond, stresses the importance of community and supports for families.
Rebecca, a Center-based Provider/Teacher from St. Albans, describes how child care helps children prepare for Kindergarten.
Donna, a Reading Recovery Teacher from Irasburg, shares her observations of young children entering Pre-K and Kindergarten.
Jack, a Pediatrician from Middlebury, talks about the growing need for child services.
Bryanne, a Director of a Child Care Center that is closing, talks about the impacts of a closing Child Care Center.
Becky, a Child Center Program Coordinator from Whiting, shares the benefits of quality child care on a child.
Ashlie, a parent from Norwich, shares her story about getting her GED with the help of child care.
As a single mom, finding reliable child care for my son Julian has been a consistent obstacle to my professional development and financial stability. My son is different and more anxious than other children…
Angela, a Home-based Provider/Owner from Highgate, describes the tensions that parents and providers face with affording child care.
Jo Conant, MD, Pathologist, University of Vermont Medical Center
Shevie, a parent from White River Junction, talks about her experiences navigating the child care system.
Jared, a parent from Shaftsbury, shares his challenges of finding affordable, quality child care in Bennington County.
Melanie, a Family Center Nurse from Weybridge, discusses her hopes for young children.
Jen, a parent from Enosburg, shares her struggles as a single mom seeking consistent, affordable, quality child care for her son.
I’m a hard-working mom to two toddlers. When my husband and I looked for child care for our children, we realized that the expense would be a substantial portion of our monthly income. To make ends meet,…
Dan, Manager and Co-Owner of Dan and Whit's Country Store in Norwich, discusses the importance of investing in the early years.
Cara Chigazola-Tobin, Chef/Owner, Honey Road RestaurantI
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…
Sarah, a State Representative from Tunbridge, discusses two crucial needs for Vermont families.
Trevor and Caitlin, parents from Brattleboro, talk about the high cost and importance of early childhood care.
The Let's Grow Kids Small Talk team asked interviewees: if you had a magic wand, how would you change child care in Vermont?
Jarred Cobb, Director of Operations, SunCommon
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.
Darlene, Co-Director of a Child Care Center in Bennington, shares her views on high quality child care.
Cookie Danyow, Owner, Mountain Road Preschool, Addison
Ellen, a parent from Burlington, discusses how expensive, necessary and important high quality child care is.
Carol, Director of a Child Care Center from Shaftsbury, discusses the difficulties of managing a child care center amidst changing resources.