SWTA Now Accepting Applications

VSA Vermont is now accepting applications for the Spring 2019 session of Start With The Arts for home based registered childcare providers. We have recently updated this program so any home based childcare provider who cares for children ages 0-5 is eligible to participate even if you have completed Start with the Arts in the past.

We are also accepting applications for our newest program Start with the Arts Family & Community Engagement, for childcare providers who have already completed Start with the Arts.

Applications are due February 27.

Family & Community Engagement Application

Start With The Arts Application

Center Application

Start with the Arts

VSA Vermont’s award-winning Start With The Arts program is an experiential, on-site literacy program for home- and center-based childcare providers and the children they care for ages 0-5.

Children deepen their engagement with quality children’s literature through experiences in every artistic genre, all designed to support engaged, creative learning. Our instructors support and guide providers, while providers practice creating and documenting their own Start With The Arts lessons. By the end of the program, providers have the inspiration and confidence to continue the use of the model on their own.

“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.”

A young girl in VSA VT's Start With The Arts program.

A young girl in a flowered dress stands at a table intently choosing which glue to use during art making in VSA VT’s Start With The Arts program.

VSA Vermont’s Start With The Arts is a program with ideas for you! If you know 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 childcare sites and 6 center-based sites each year, representing every county of Vermont.

We come to you. Start With The Arts takes place at your childcare site and is scheduled individually to meet your needs.

Start With The Arts instructors present great children’s books and exciting arts based activities to help children of all abilities relate to stories with projects in drama, music, dance and visual arts. While childcare providers learn skills and confidence to invent their own arts and literacy activities, 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.

In the past 7 years 1,500 children in Vermont have participated in Start With The Arts.

Every home-based 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.

Childcare providers get new ideas for inclusive arts and literacy activities that make sense for their particular site. Plus they get 20 training hours that are authorized by Northern Lights Career Development Center for required Core Competencies in Teaching and Learning. Training hours also can be used in applications for STARS points and for Advanced Training hours used for Specialized Care status. Start With The Arts training hours also may be used to advance in the The Vermont Career Ladder for early childhood professionals.


Family & Community Engagement

VSA Vermont’s Start with the Arts Family & Community Engagement Program designed for home based childcare providers who have completed our Start with the Arts Program.

We’re so proud of Start With The Arts childcare providers, Erica Brooks, Erin McKechnie, Nancy Munn, and Linda Sweeney, and Start With The Arts teaching-artists, Cheryl Wells and Lisa Condino, who used skills learned in Facilitative Leadership training and from their participation in Start With The Arts to help us design a new professional development opportunity for childcare providers. Along with VSA Vermont’s Director of Children’s Programming, Peggy Rainville, and VSA Vermont’s Executive Director, Judy Chalmer, the team has created a professional development model intended for childcare providers who have graduated from Start With The Arts in engaging families in arts-based literacy activities and connecting with their local libraries. After a trial run with childcare providers

This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This program is provided under a contract with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Lynn Roberts, Alicia Watts and Melissa Benjamin, VSA Vermont is ready to bring this program to more providers throughout the state. As a participating childcare provider said,

“I’m closer to my families. The trust is on a different level. I moved out of my comfort zone and I’m problem solving with parents… I think I can tackle almost anything. Hand me something. With a little support I can do it.”

Many thanks to the A.D. Henderson Foundation for supporting the development of this new project to increase family-child engagement in arts-based literacy.

For more information about Start With The Arts and the Family & Community Engagement Program, contact Peggy Rainville, Director of Children’s Programming, at (802) 871-5418 or  peggy@vsavt.org

Results-Based Accountability

Learn more about Results-based Accountability (RBA) in our Start With The Arts program here: VSA VT SWTA Powerpoint.


Start With The Arts is supported by: