eConnections is the bimonthly e-newsletter published by the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children.

Fall Conference Wrap-Up & Looking Ahead

"Love the conferences, love the guest speakers, love the time to chat with other educators and professionals. I will be attending VAEYC conferences for many years to come!" --conference attendee

     The 2012 VAEYC Fall Conference was a success from many angles!  We had record breaking numbers: overall: we had 522 total attendees over the 3 days.  We launched our first ever Day 3 of full programming on Saturday and had 111 attendees--we are quite pleased with that for a first year of offering a Saturday conference!
     Workshop evaluations and the overall conference survey indicate people were highly satisfied with their conference experience on many levels.  “I attended a lot of workshops on kids with challenging lives and I feel that my sensitivities are reawakened,” said one attendee about her knowledge gained at the conference.  Another attendee was highly satisfied with the quality of the presenters and varied workshop selection, "The level of presenters continues to impress and VAEYC board does a wonderful job of ensuring there is something for everyone in a very professional setting. Keep up the good work!!!"  A homeprovider that attended on Saturday was grateful for the added day, "I was very happy to be able to attend the conference on Saturday. Thank you so much for having a Saturday session this year for home childcare providers."
     Planning is already underway for next year's conference which will be on October 17th-19th at the Killington Grand Hotel and Conference Center, Killington, VT.  We are excited to announce keynote speakers will be Louis Hernandez (Thurs), Daniel Habib (Fri) and Jeff Johnson (Sat).  We hope to see you there!

Take a look below at our 2013
fall conference keynote presenters!

Luis A. Hernandez

Thursday October 17th

A T/TAS Early Childhood Education Specialist, Luis holds an M.A. in bilingual/multicultural education from the University of San Francisco. Luis brings solid expertise to his position based on his work  history in Head Start, child care, pre-k programs, colleges and universities, child care resource and referral administration, and professional development design. Luis’ work focuses in a wide range of early childhood education and professional development topics. His expertise includes early literacy, dual language learning, adult learning practices, changing demographics and diversity, and ECE management and partnership topics. As a regular presenter and keynote speaker at national, state, and local conferences, Luis is highly regarded for his motivational and energizing presentations. 

Listen to a NAEYC radio interview with Luis.


Jeff Johnson

Saturday October 19th 

Jeff is a shy guy who loves getting up in front of people and talking about things he is passionate about like early learning, provider self care, infants and toddlers, and almost everything else related to the profession of early care and education. He loves working with the kids in their program during the day and sharing what he learns form them in books and presentationsHe loves being a father and seeing Tyler and Zoë blossom into such wonderful teenagers.  In his spare time, he enjoys working on their 100+ year old house that has been home to four generations of their family.  He is a former board member of the Iowa AEYC and served on the board of the NAFCC.

Daniel Habib

Friday October 18th

Before his son Samuel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, photojournalist Dan Habib rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. Shot and produced over four years, Habib's award-winning documentary film, Including Samuel, honestly chronicles the Habib family's efforts to include Samuel in every facet of their lives.  Dan Habib is the director, producer and cinematographer of the documentary, Including Samuel. The Emmy-nominated film was broadcast nationally on public television and won the Positive Images in Media award from TASH. Including Samuel has been featured on "Good Morning America," NPR's "All Things Considered," and in the Washington Post and Education Week. Exceptional Parent Magazine said "Including Samuel is a must see film."


Upcoming Events

(click on the links for more information!)

March 13, 2013
Early Childhood Day at the Legislature
Montpelier, VT

April 14-20, 2013
Week of the Young Child

May 22, 2013
VAEYC Spring Speaker: Olga Jarrett
Champlain College, Burlington, VT

June 9-12, 2013
NAEYC Professional Development Institute
San Francisco, CA

October 17-19, 2013
VAEYC Fall Conference
Killington Grand, Killington, VT

November 20-23, 2013
NAEYC Conference
Washington, DC



T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) Early Childhood is coming to Vermont. This strategy for improving quality in early care and education is currently operating in 22 states and Washington DC. In exchange for a commitment to serve in early care and education positions, T.E.A.C.H. can provide comprehensive scholarships for coursework leading to credentials and degrees at local community colleges and universities. These scholarships come from sources that include local, state and federal governments, foundation and corporate grants, employers and participants co-payments.


There are several  potential benefits of T.E.A.C.H.  Among them are: the model is about helping providers help themselves; it is a shared cost model, not an entitlement; it supports working adults; and it helps to address parents’ beliefs that early childhood teachers should have formal education to work with their children. It can also help to address the challenges faced in the early care and education community of high turnover, low compensation, and insufficient teacher education.


The state Building Bright Futures Council has endorsed its Professional Preparation and Development Committee's recommendation to bring T.E.A.C.H. to Vermont. T.E.A.C.H. is also on the Vermont Early Childhood Alliances legislative agenda for 2013.  The next step is for an RFP process to seek organizational applicants to be Vermont's T.E.A.C.H. adminsitrative home.  VAEYC will be responding to this RFP!

For more information about T.E.A.C.H., you can get fact sheets and annual reports from


VAEYC has been gathering and analyzing information about the proposed new investment in Early Care and Education from Governor Shumlin. He is proposing a significant increase in investments to early care and education by adding $17 million to the child care subsidy program for low income Vermont families. That is a 40 percent increase in this program, which currently is used by about 5900 families and benefits about 8400 children.


In order to pay for this program, Governor Shumlin’s proposal uses two thirds of the current State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  While this proposed shift in funding does not affect the federal benefit, it reduces Vermont's state EITC benefit from 32% of the federal level down to 11%.   Because the EITC is both a federally and state funded program, even with this decrease in state funding the average filer will still receive 85% of this one time per year tax credit.  There are concerns that the proposed use of the state EITC money to fund this increase in the subsidy program may be taking money from one benefit the same families receive to pay for another.


Shumlin has stated that his proposal will help low-income parents, especially single mothers, to ensure quality care for their children while maintaining steady employment. Under the current system, families lose these benefits as they make their way up the career ladder and earn more money. It is a “benefits cliff” and they often decide it does not make sense to get a better job when they end up losing this support.  It is estimated this investment in funding will help over 900 more families in affording the cost of childcare so they can work. 


The change in use of these funds will not only help individual families, the investment  of $17 million in the child care subsidy system is an investment in the entire system of childcare.  By using the 2012 market rates (we are currently using 2008) as a basis for the amount paid to childcare providers, the payments more closely align with the market rates of child care.

VAEYC supports this policy proposal to shift $17 million from the VT EITC and invest it into Vermont's childcare system as a way to help low-income working families afford childcare and as a mechanism to support the entire childcare system. We acknowledge the funding stream is not ideal, but believe the best use of Vermont funds is investment in the early years.  We want to hear from you on this proposed policy change!  You can email Melissa Riegel-Garrett with your thoughts at


For more detailed information on this proposal, you can go to the following resources: (look for the link to Information about Governor Shumlin’s Proposal to Increase Investments in Early Care and Education) (opinion article on the proposal from the Montpelier Times Argus) (editorial from the Addison Independent)



VAEYC has partnered with the Henderson Foundation and Vermont Birth to Three to launch a Quality Project that will focus on providing mentoring for child care providers as well as supporting existing or building local and regional workgroups that focus on evaluation measures.


The main goals of the project are to improve the access to quality child care programs for parents and to improve supports for all caregivers. The evaluation methods are based in existing Vermont systems, such as moving up through STARS and onto National Accreditation as appropriate, creating Individual Professional Development Plans for the workforce, and moving up through the Early Childhood Career Ladder. However, the project is also looking to support programs who have self-chosen quality improvement efforts.


Licensed programs and registered home providers who are interested in participating in the project should be committed to the concept of continuous quality improvement for their program. Providers who are interested in being a mentor or would like to have a mentor can contact Melissa Riegel-Garrett at

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