Start With The Arts
“But I'm not creative!” ... “What about the mess?” ... “I've been doing arts activities for years and I can't think of anything new.”
Start With The Arts is a program with ideas for you! If you know home child care, you know it's a demanding job with long hours and lots of challenges. Sometimes it can feel pretty isolating. VSA Vermont brings a warm, creative Start With The Arts instructor to 36 home child care sites each year, representing every county of Vermont.
Our instructors present great childrens books and exciting arts based activities to help children of all abilities relate to stories with projects in drama, music, dance and visual arts. Children learn to love books because they can bring the stories to life. They gain confidence in skills they'll need in preschool and kindergarten and a love of creative expression that will stay with them for life. Child care providers get new ideas for inclusive arts and literacy activities that make sense for home child care settings. Plus they get credits toward their required Core Competencies in Teaching and Learning. Every site gets free books and art materials and curriculum resources to keep. There's no cost for this program to child care providers or parents.
Start With The Arts consists first of 16 weekly 1-hour sessions at each site with literacy and arts activities in visual arts, drama, dance and music, exploring each artistic genre. Each of the lessons presented for children includes the presentation of a book plus developmentally appropriate arts activities to extend the learning. Childcare providers also receive 3 monthly 2-hour trainings outside of childcare hours in neighboring support pairs at local libraries. Each childcare provider receives weekly follow up visits for a month, 1 after-hours training and then monthly follow up visits for an additional 3 months.
The combination of on-site experiential modeling with children and after-hours focused trainings allows us to present concepts related to literacy and art with reference to real situations childcare providers have observed with the children in their care.
VSA Vermont has been approved by the Vermont Agency of Human Services Child Development Division Northern Lights Career Development Center to grant 20 Professional Development credits applicable to Vermont's required Core Competencies for Early Educators, 6 credits of which can be used as advanced training needed to support applications for Specialized Home Care status.
Providers can apply these credits towards the STARS program as well. We encourage providers to contact the Vermont Childcare Providers Association Accreditation Project (VCCPA) for help with the paperwork requirements
Get a complete list of Start With The Arts Participating Providers.
For more information about Start With The Arts, contact Peggy Rainville, Program Director, at (802) 655-7735 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2009 VSA Vermont received a national Award for Excellence in Professional Development for Start With The Arts from the national VSA network.
At recent Start With The Arts sites, child care providers described their experiences this way:
"The thing I learned is, you can just sit and read a book, but when you add in activities it really makes it interesting. The whole experience makes me feel like now I can do something like that."
Lois Raiche, child care provider, Alburg
Peggy Rainville, VSA Instructor
"I have two 1-year olds and we actually let them use the paints too. And then to have an art show at the Winooski Library was a terrific ending. It was wonderful to have all the parents' kids there and they were all so proud. The whole experience was so active and friendly."
Laura Butler, child care provider, Milton
Peter Burns, VSA Instructor
"It's a wonderful program. I absolutely love it. The kids can sit now and listen to a story and stay with an activity afterward. I had never thought to do that with kids this young. But now I see it's easy."
Anneka Bickford, child care provider, Lyndonville
Jen McKenzie, VSA Instructor
"The kids get so much more from the books now than just words. They get to use their own imaginations. When the parents come in and see that, it's wonderful."
Bonnie Abare, child care provider, Barre
Elizabeth Wilcox, VSA Instructor