BRATTLEBORO >> Early Education Services, an arm of the Brattleboro Town School District and provider of Head Start, Early Head Start and Parent-Child Center services throughout Windham County, will open its 2016-17 program year with two new Early Head Start classrooms for a total of 16 infants and toddlers on Aug. 29.
The classrooms will be offered at the Canal Street School in Brattleboro and at the Westminster Early Head Start site on Buck Drive, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., year round.
EES families and staff are excited about these changes. We know that there is a great need for infant/toddler childcare in our community, and these new classrooms will address that need. We have steadily increased the number of slots in Windham County for infants and toddlers of low-income families to receive high quality care in our Early Head Start program over the past two years.
Last year we opened our first Early Head Start classroom in Westminster, and this year we are able to expand that site as well as increase the number of infant/toddler classrooms in Brattleboro.
EES administrative staff worked with program parents, Windham Southeast Supervisory Union Superintendent Ron Stahley, Brattleboro Town School Board and the Regional Head Start Office to restructure EES' Head Start/Early Head Start program in order to create these two new classrooms. A significant change in the restructure converted some of EES' Early Head Start Home Based (home visiting) slots into classroom slots.
There is an increased need for center-based slots for working families, while the numbers of at-home families available for a home visiting program has decreased over the past few years. EES began in 1987 as a Brattleboro town funded program serving 45 families in a home visiting "Parents As Teachers" model.
EES quickly gained national recognition and grew to become one of the first Early Head Start programs in the country. It was designated as a Vermont Parent-Child Center in 1994 and became a Head Start grantee in 1997. In the year 2000, EES served 310 families throughout Windham County in home-based and classroom services for pregnant mothers, infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Currently, EES provides 40 Home Visiting slots for Early Head Start pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers, 72 Early Head Start slots in full-time classrooms and 60 classroom based Head Start preschool slots.
EES also provides a menu of parenting workshops, support groups, committees and playgroups along with our Welcome Babies program, which offers a home visit to new families in the county to share information and referrals for community resources available, and welcome families into their new school districts, serving over 100 additional Windham County families each year.
Debra J. Gass is the Executive Director of EES. She can be contacted at 802-254-3742, ext. 110.