We are accredited by The National Association of Young Children. We are also 5-STARS certified and licensed by the State of Vermont Agency of Human Services Child Care Services Division and are Prequalified by the Agency of Education to provide publicly-funded Act 166 reimbursements for all children who turn three years or older by September 1 of each school year.
Adult to Child Ratios
We are authorized to care for twenty-four children, but generally limit enrollment to 20 children per
day. Our adult-to-child ratio is generally 1:5. On a typical day we enroll 5 two-year-olds, 5 three-year-olds, 5
four-year-olds, 5 five year olds, and 4 teachers.
Ages of Children
Stepping Stones accepts children from twenty six (26) months to six years of age. Please note that enrollment
for new families typically begins at age 3. Space for children under the age of three is reserved for
siblings of current enrollees.
Due to the extensive cleaning associated with Vermont Department of Health COVID protocols, the Center is open from 8:30 am - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Center is closed about 10 days of the year for holidays and about 10 days of the year for in-service
days. Typical Holidays include: New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the Friday after, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas and President’s Day.
The Center closes at 1:00 p.m., 10 times a year for staff consultations. Families are notified of these days in
advance and are expected to pay tuition for these days and for all holidays. Please see the current Stepping Stones Calendar of Events for exact dates.
All Are Welcome at Stepping Stones
We do not discriminate against any race creed, religion, and/or gender. This applies to hiring our staff as
well as families that we serve. Siblings and families living in our neighborhood are given priority on our
The Stepping Stones Way- Our Philosophy
Our program focuses on the development of the whole child. We are in tune with and set out to nurture the cognitive, physical, emotional, social, and creative capacities of children. Our emergent approach to early childhood education is inspired by the schools of Reggio Emilia; a city in Italy recognized world wide for its innovative, child-centered, authentic play-based educational philosophy. Like the schools of Reggio, the Stepping Stones Curriculum is based on the following principles:
• Children must have some control over the direction of their learning
• Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing
• Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children
must be allowed to explore.
• Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves. The Reggio approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the center of its philosophy. We believe that children must have control over their learning in order to make sense of new ideas and relationships and that in order for an experience to be meaningful, it must be interesting to the child. Parents are a vital component to our philosophy and are viewed as partners, collaborators and advocates for their children.
We work to encourage children to exhibit self-control and to be self-directed. In order to do this children
need the opportunity to build self-esteem and develop a positive self-image. Children are encouraged
to make good choices and learn to develop pro-social behaviors. We accomplish this through close
supervision, and gentle guidance. Children are taught to identify and express their feelings. Teachers
use techniques like, re-involvement, logical-consequences, redirection, positive reinforcement,
meaningful praise, and taking a break. Time-out is avoided, as it is viewed as punishment. Any other
practices that shame, harm, or humiliate a child will not be used. Rules are few, simple and stated in
a positive manner: We keep ourselves safe. People are for gentle touches. Through these disciplinary
procedures it is hoped that we can help to encourage independence and self control while promoting
the development of a child’s positive self-image.
Children are welcome to bring food from home, but home cooked meals and snacks play a big part in
our day. We cook, serve and share two healthy snacks daily along with a hot meal at midday.
We are a nut- free environment and do our best to accommodate special dietary needs.
Morning 8:30 am - 11:30 a.m.
Full-day 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
We offer flexible schedules but require a minimum of three mornings per week.
A typical day may look like this:
8:30 – 9:30 Children arrive, morning snack is offered.
8:30- 11:30 a.m. Inside and outside play,bread making, acrobatics, sewing, carpentry, literacy activities, STEAM activities, local field trips.
11:30 Clean Up, morning session ends.
1:00 – 3:00 Quiet Rest (nap time for those who sleep)
2:00 – 4:30 Stories and tea, inside and outside play, Yoga, extensions of play from morning or previous days
If your child attends on a day he/she is not contracted to attend on, you are expected to pay the full day
rate if your child stays beyond 11:30 a.m. Payment is added to your monthly tuition.
Accepting New Families
Stepping Stones is typically fully enrolled and except for those unanticipated openings (for example
when a family moves) we generally have openings for new children twice a year, in June and September.
Families on our Waiting List will be notified of openings for their children in late April, once currently
enrolled families return their enrollment request forms. Priority is given to siblings and families from the
South End and particularly the Five Sisters neighborhood.
Payment is expected on the first day of the month in check form. Act 166 payments will be discharged directly to parents within 7 business days of receipt of the funds from the respective school districts. We accept Child Care Financial Assistance funding and parents are expected to pay the difference between our daily rate and what the State has set as the individual subsidy rate.