Pine Tree Society’s Early Learning Center in Auburn fills a critical need for Maine children. Their expertise in early intervention earned them a Summer Program Grant from the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation.

The Barrett Foundation funds organizations that benefit children in need, which makes Pine Tree Society’s Early Learning Center’s summer programming a perfect fit.

Thanks to the support of the Barrett Foundation, the Early Learning Center will be able to provide a combination of in-person and virtual classroom sessions all summer long. 

“Our children have the highest level of need and without consistent access to our classroom and educators, they would not only lose momentum, they would regress,” said Karen McClure-Richard, director of the Early Learning Center.

“Summer is the most critical time for early intervention services as many of our students are preparing for the transition to kindergarten,” added Noel Sullivan, president and CEO of Pine Tree Society.  “A positive kindergarten experience is critical for setting children on a path of success and for positively changing the trajectory of their life.”

Late this winter, in response to Covid-19, Karen and her team quickly adapted to keep children connected through remote learning activities in small group and one-to-one telepractice sessions.

“These past few months, we’ve been maintaining connections with the children and coaching and supporting parents,” Karen continued. “We’ve been providing food access and mental health resources on a regular basis as well as social support and encouraging activities that drive emotional regulation and calming strategies.”

Thanks to the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation, summer programming will expand the Early Learning Center’s ability to provide even more individualized in-person support in a safe, physically distanced classroom as well as maintain remote learning for families who require that service.  The Early Learning Center’s educators will also work with each child’s future kindergarten teacher and team to ensure they have what they need in place for a successful first year of school.

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