Not all early-learning or childcare facilities offer the same quality for families, and those without the income to pay for high quality care see the worst. 

Abbi Kruse Of the Playing Field in Madison had witnessed this when she started the Playing Field, whose tagline is “the start every child deserves.” 

She was the director of the UW Preschool Lab during a time of budget cuts, and facing a layoff, she was approached to lead an Early Head Start program for children facing homelessness. 

The university passed on the idea, so she took up the reins. Abbi cried all the way as she began this unique child care center, she said, while she took on every role, from fundraising to teaching to cleaning the facility. 

But knowing how poorly some kids are treated in preschool, how they may be yelled at just for expressing themselves, and the rates of expulsion for some children, she forged ahead. 

The Playing Field welcomes students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Some pay the full cost for childcare, others receive scholarships and others receive public funding. 

The model hasn’t deterred families who can afford the full price; she has a two-year waiting list for those families. 

Abbi’s idea for the Playing Field came from a book by Dr. Becky Bailey titled, “Creating a School Family.” The Playing Field offers transportation to families who need it, as well a laundry and bath for those in transitional housing. 

The Playing Field also serves as a learning space for other teachers looking to train in Conscious Discipline, and it has found partners in other Madison area entities, such as the Plumbers Union Local 75, the Road Home, Madison College and United Way. 

New facilities have opened, and now the Playing Field offers child care for apprentice plumbers, training for family members looking for jobs and, of course, early child care. The Road Home also helps homeless families find housing. 




Other News:

-President Joe Baer inducted Liz as a new member. Welcome, Liz!!

-Saturday is the big takedown for the Rotary Lights at Village Park. Show up at 9 a.m. 

-Solar lights have arrived and assembly will begin after the Rotary Lights are down. 

-For the club’s 50th anniversary, the board has voted to spend $50,000 on a standalone project. The board is still looking for a project. 

Guests: Dan Dolbeau, guest of Tony Burns. 

Visiting Rotarians: None.

Birthdays: Jan. 16, Kevin McDaniel; Jan. 18, Rich Harris.

Anniversaries: None

Greeters: Jan. 12, Patrick Durden and Fritz Durst; Jan. 19, Jim Elvekrog and Taylor Endres; Jan. 26, Danial Evans and Greg Garton; Feb. 2, Tracy Graber and Dean Grosskopf.