JUNE 2021
#OurNeckoftheWoods Monthly Newsletter
Social and Emotional Development of Our Children After COVID-19
by Lauren Morris
NOW Junior Counselor Manager
After living through a global pandemic for more than a year, we are beginning to see how COVID-19 has affected our children’s social and emotional development. Developmental psychologist, Erik Erikson, created the stages of psychosocial development that humans face throughout their lives. Children ages 6-11 come across a crisis which is known as the Industry vs. Inferiority stage. Within this stage, the child’s teachers and peers become just as important as their caregiver. These social interactions and relationships allow children to develop their own self-concept and become their main source of self-esteem. Children need to be a part of a community in order to feel valued and take pride in their competencies. We are witnessing that if children can’t find this community, they are more likely to feel stress and anxiety.

Since children have come back to school and social gatherings, we have witnessed them struggle with their relationships and social interactions. Imagine how confusing it must feel for a child at this age to spend months away from people and then suddenly be thrown back into society where there are new social norms and expectations that they are expected to follow. At Neck of the Woods, we have noticed how this pandemic is affecting our children and have been taking time to work on our children’s social skills so that they can build and sustain healthy relationships. Throughout the end of the year, NOW After School students have been focusing on different means of communication and the things that we can do to cultivate healthy relationships. We have honed in on physical communication and consent, verbal communication and active listening, and settling confrontation through empathy. We can not expect children to know how to communicate and build these relationships when there has been an interruption to their development. It is our job to give children the tools to build positive relationships so that they can get back on track with their social and emotional development.
Summer Camp Fun
by Katie Alexander
NOW School-Age Director
We can count on one hand the number of days left in the school year! With summer camp quickly approaching, almost all of the camp groups at Neck of the Woods are filled, and many families are hoping for a spot on the waiting list. NOW’s six summer camp groups are organized by age. Each group is named after a Valley ski trail. Starting with NOW’s two youngest groups, the 3-4 year olds, and the 4-5 year olds, are respectively the Tumblers and Brambles. These two groups will be located in the NOW building, located at 1673 Main Street, Waitsfield. Each of the seven weeks of camp focuses on a different theme, ranging from Blast Off to Summer, to Dance Week, to World Celebrations. 

The next three groups are split by age and incoming grade: the soon-to-be Kindergarteners, the Catamounts, 1st and 2nd graders, the Sugarwoods, and 2nd and 3rd graders, the Inverness. For these three groups, summer camp will take place at the Moretown School. In addition to their fantastic camp counselors, these groups will be joined each week by a talented theme teacher. Theme teachers will introduce the theme and complete projects with the groups Monday through Wednesday. The seven themes include pottery, sewing, storytelling, building, and more! The goal of celebrating different themes is that at the end of each week, the children will have a project to take home which will display what they learned. On Thursdays, the Moretown groups will take advantage of the beautiful outdoor features by exploring the nature trails and learning outdoor skills. To end each week of camp, these groups will go on a field trip to a variety of places which include different museums such as Montshire and Echo, to Get Air, VINS Nature Center, Liberty Hill Farms, and more!

NOW’s oldest group of campers, Casterock, will be entering 4th and 5th grade in the fall. The Castlerock group will spend most of their summer camp time on off-site adventures. Each day of the week, the Castlerock Crew will be participating in a different activity. Mondays are community engagement days. Campers will head out to support a local organization through volunteer work. Tuesdays are hiking days, and they will experience seven different hikes around Vermont. On Wednesdays, the 4th and 5th graders will participate in classic fun summer activities, including kayaking, tubing, tie dyeing, and more. Campers will hit the bike trails on Thursday when they rotate between Stowe, Montpelier, and Trapp Family Lodge bike trails. Finally, Fridays will be a field trip to locations such as Petra Cliffs, Get Air, and Liberty Hill Farms.

The 19th Child
by Moie Moulton
NOW Executive Director
Neck of the Woods has a project mission that crosses the line drawn by the Federal Government for childcare programs and businesses that are not on municipal water systems. We refer to this line as “the 19th child”. 

A Federal regulation requires that any childcare program or business that is not on a municipal water system and intends to exceed a capacity of 24 people in the building needs to do the work to put in a public water system. Childcare programs that are not on a public water system cannot surpass more than 18 children and 6 staff so that they do not exceed the 24 person maximum allowed by the Federal Government. 

$100,000 is the cost of crossing the line to reach the 19th child. This is the cost of putting in a public water system alone. Public water systems are both expensive to install and to maintain, and this does not include the cost of all other systems needed to run a safe, reliable, licensed and permitted school for small children and programs for youth. 

Most childcare programs are non-profit programs whose staff are given meager pay with little to no benefits. The cost to reach that 19th child is too high an amount to expect any childcare program to be able to afford. When most childcare programs see that price tag they don’t even attempt to give it a second thought as it is frankly an impossibility.

Neck of the Woods decided to attempt the impossible. We decided that this line needed to be crossed to reach that 19th child. With meager pay and little to no benefits, but with a 10,000 square foot building, 11 acres of land hugging the entrance to the beautiful Mad River Path, and a childcare crisis that must be addressed, the investment was worth the effort. That uncrossed line, marked at $100,000, was not a barrier, but rather a starting line.  

If this line is not crossed there is no room for growth, pay will remain dismal for childcare workers, costs for childcare remain inflated and childcare remains a crisis. But, when we cross that line and join forces with our community, there is growth. More resources will flow into programming as more children are enrolled, more parents and guardians are able to work, more scholarships are made available, the cost for care is lowered and staff are given livable wages and benefits. Crossing this line, with the help of donors and our community, will assist in elevating the quality of care for children, families and staff in our community.
1 Year After George's Floyd's Death
by Lauren Morris and Erica Gongloff
Members of Equity, Culture, & Belonging Committee
A year has gone by since George Floyd's murder. Here at Neck of the Woods, we believe that Black Lives Matter and that justice begins with the conviction of Derek Chauvin for his murder. We recognize the systemic racism within this country and will continue to educate our students about these injustices. We, as an organization, are making a commitment to continue to examine our own personal biases and to promote inclusion here at Neck of the Woods.
Quote of the Month
"Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded."
-Jess Lair