A small group of Brattleboro community members were concerned about children who were not prepared for kindergarten. Their kitchen table discussions led to the creation of the beginning of Early Education Services (EES), an arm of the Brattleboro Town School District, which offered a home visiting program using the “Parents As Teachers” curriculum model for 45 children ages 0–5, under the leadership of Superintendent Ray McNulty and Executive Director Judy Jerald. Brattleboro Town funds to support the agency demonstrated the community’s commitment to families and children. EES is well received in the community and quickly becomes successful.
EES applies for and receives significant federal Child Care Development Program Even Start funds, and state funds to open its first infant toddler classroom (“ITC”) for eight children at Brattleboro Union High School, primarily serving teen parent families, and expand home visiting, bringing the total number of EES families to 120.
EES becomes designated as one of 17 Vermont Parent-Child Centers. Federal Welfare Reform Act mandates that parents seek employment or work toward attaining employment in order to receive VT “Reach-Up” Transitional Assistance benefits. Our designation as a Vermont PCC provides the opportunity to receive state Reach-Up funds to case manage teen parent families and provide a literacy program, Healthy Babies funds to promote children’s physical and emotional well-being and state funds for our Family Education Program and Families In Recovery for young mothers in recovery from substance abuse. EES becomes a federally funded Early Head Start Demonstration/Research site, in partnership with Harvard University. This expansion gives us the ability to serve 130 children and their families in centers and home visiting slots.
EES becomes an Interim Head Start Grantee and broadens services for preschoolers with Head Start centers at Esteyville School in Brattleboro and on Buck Drive in Westminster. EES receives Early Head Start expansion funds and opens a second full-day, full-year infant-toddler site with classrooms at 130 Birge St. in Brattleboro. There is increased county-wide town support for the expansion of our Parent-Child Center playgroups, Welcome Baby Program, Teddy Bear Teas and home visiting services.
Additional Early Head Start and funding from surrounding towns develops the opportunity to increase services to more Early Head Start children and all families in Windham County, serving a total of 270 families. EES participates in the development of childcare networks and partnerships in our communities.
EES becomes a permanent Head Start Grantee and accesses state childcare funds to renovate our Birge St. site and offer two full-day, full-year classrooms for children ages 3–5 and a third Early Head Start classroom. We partner with family childcare providers and community childcare centers to expand our early care and education capacity through our “Linking Families” program.
Head Start Brattleboro classrooms move from Esteyville (Elementary) School to Canal St. (Elementary); Canal Street School becomes an exclusive early education site.
Head Start opens a new classroom for 15 preschoolers at Putney Central Elementary School.
EES launches several new initiatives:
The Infant-Child Guidance Clinic, funded by state mental health grants (Children’s Upstream Services) joins EES to provide onsite mental health services for young children and their families, and within two years this we are recognized for excellence in Vermont for this program.
EES hosts a community wide Mental Health Consortium to explore the mental health needs and resources for young children and their families with the goal of increased collaboration and communication amongst agencies
Head Start and Early Head Start classrooms become National Association for the Education of Young Children Accredited and Vermont 5 STAR rated.
EES opens Estey Dental Clinic in partnership with Dr. Yossri Karlis, in order to address the need for Medicaid patients who need dental care.
EES consults with Community Action of Brattleboro Area Inc. for the creation of an evening childcare program which opens in 2005.
EES now serves over 400 families.
EES experiences significant restructuring due to federal and state funding shifts and downsizing. Now serving approximately 300 families, we continue to focus on quality services for families in response to our ever challenging demographics and the needs of our families: