On December 13, 2023

Rutland County Head Start to open Early Head Start infant, toddler program this winter


Rutland County Head Start, which operates within the Rutland Community Programs division of Community Care Network (CCN), announced Dec. 5, the implementation of its new Early Head Start program designed to provide high-quality care for infants and toddlers.

“Rutland County Head Start has long recognized the increasing need for quality infant and toddler services in Rutland County, and we are so excited to be able to now offer this essential program to families in our region,” said Donna Barrow, director of Rutland County Head Start. “Quality early childhood care and education is vital to the successful development of a child’s social and emotional skills, and is paramount to laying the groundwork for continued future success throughout a child’s educational path.”

The new Early Head Start program, which will be hosted at Rutland County Head Start’s Meadow Street and Discovery Center facilities in Rutland beginning in late-December, will offer 27 openings for children ages birth to 3, in addition to the 45 existing openings currently offered to children ages 3 to 5 through the traditional Head Start program.

Leveraging improved classroom environments made possible through grant funding provided by The Bowse Trust and Let’s Grow Kids — including cribs and rest areas, indoor and outdoor play areas and spaces for parents to engage with teachers and family advocates, the Early Head Start program will function around the Creative Curriculum model, the leading and top-rated whole-child curriculum to support infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their caregivers.

Additionally, in collaboration with trained professionals from CCN’s Rutland Mental Health Services, Early Head Start will be offering attending families a range of supplemental self-care and parenting support services including the Circle of Security program, the Parents and Babies Stress Management program and other specialized parent and child treatment options.

CCN is comprised of Rutland Mental Health Services and Rutland Community Programs. The programs of Community Care Network serve more than 3,000 people each year throughout Rutland County across the areas of behavioral health, developmental disabilities, substance use recovery, senior and volunteer, and early childhood education services.

“A hallmark of Head Start and Early Head Start is a holistic approach spanning health and safety, education, nutrition and family wrap-around services, all delivered by loving, committed caregivers and teachers,” said Barrow.

Dick Courcelle, chief executive officer of Community Care Network, emphasized both the vision and need for the Early Head Start program in the Rutland area, as well as the importance of community support during its development.

“Rutland County Head Start is known for high-quality programming, and the Early Head Start program too will be based on best practices and the highest quality standards of care, which are crucial to healthy development and learning,” said Courcelle. “We are incredibly thankful for the seed funding provided to help kickstart this new program, as well as the strong backing we received from Vermont’s congressional delegation, namely Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Peter Welch and Representative Becca Balint, which underscored the important role Head Start plays in supporting family stabilization and school readiness for children and families here in Rutland County.”

For more information, visit: rutlandcountyheadstart.org or rmhsccn.org.

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