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Childcare providers celebrated in Middlebury

IN AN APPRECIATION ceremony at the Middlebury Inn last month, Judy Bourbeau from the Department of Labor congratulates Nichol Wolfe for successfully completing the childcare apprenticeship program.

MIDDLEBURY — Early childhood professionals came with their families to the Middlebury Inn last month to celebrate completing Vermont’s rigorous two-year registered childcare apprenticeship program. People came from throughout the state as well as Addison County on Oct. 5 for this annual event.
This was also an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the 20 years that the Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council Inc. (VCCICC) has been supporting and coordinating childcare apprenticeship in partnership with the Child Development Division and the Vermont Department of Labor.
Over the years, many Addison County childcare centers, including the Bristol Family Center, Addison County Parent Child Center, Otter Creek Children’s Center and Starksboro Co-operative Preschool, have sponsored apprentices and ensured that the one-to-one mentoring required of apprenticeship was in place. This year, completed apprentices Amanda Cousineau from the College Street Children’s Center and Samantha Stevers from Vermont Sun Fitness Centers Children’s Center attended the event with their families.
Mary Johnson Children’s Center was an early sponsor of apprenticeship and several of the early participants continue to work at MJCC. Barbara Saunders, former co-director of Mary Johnson Children’s Center, has said that the apprenticeship program “has had a greater impact on the quality of the teaching in our center than any other training experience we have been part of.”
Patricia Casey who was a mentor at Mary Johnson Children’s Center in the early years of apprenticeship is now working at the Allen Brook School in Williston. She introduced herself as a ”vintage” mentor and shared some of her experiences as a mentor and how pleased she was to have worked with her most recent completed apprentice, Liza Pouliot.
Several photos and artifacts from the earliest days of Vermont’s childcare apprenticeship program were featured on a “vintage” table. Included were several photos of Gov. Jim Douglas congratulating the first group of completed apprentices. This year, VCCICC was pleased to have Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman participate and address the attendees.
Vermont’s childcare apprenticeship program is approved by the Vermont Department of Labor and integrated into Vermont’s early childhood professional development system. Additional information about Vermont’s childcare apprenticeship program can be found by contacting VCCICC at 802-985-2700 and at the Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council website, vtchildcareindustry.org.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Jan Walker, who is a vintage partner in the start up of the apprenticeship program. 

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