Smart Start Header
Fall 2010
In This Issue
Second Annual Membership Meeting
School Readiness Defintion
Smart Start Directory
Born Leaning Trail
ABC Book
Pillars of Parenting
Increasing Awareness
Smart Start Needs YOU!
New Smart Start Website
What is Monroe Smart Start?
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List

Welcome to the first issue of the Monroe Smart Start Newsletter!  We hope this newsletter will keep you updated on what's happening in Monroe County for children birth to five and their families.


If you have news or information to share, please submit your suggestions to me at



Lois Hutter-Pishgahi

Second Annual Membership Meeting

Annual MeetingOn October 19th, 2010 we hosted the second annual membership meeting of the Monroe Smart Start: Birth-to-Five Coalition. More than 15 organizations and programs were represented. Those in attendance took time to share information, celebrate accomplishments, and look at next steps. Not able to attend? Please check out the meeting summary.  


We are always striving to increase the membership of the Coalition. Everyone who is interested in knowing about and contributing to what is being done for children birth to five in Monroe County is encouraged to join Monroe Smart Start. If you know someone who should  be involved, please send their contact information to  


A big thank you to Ivy Tech-Bloomington for providing the meeting space for this event!


School Readiness Definition  

The Monroe County School Readiness Definition is currently being developed. For an opportunity to contribute to this process, please contact


Smart Start Directory  

Smart Start Directory: your Monroe County guide for birth-to-five is currently being developed. The Smart Start Directory will offer Monroe County parents, caregivers, providers and residents a one-stop resource for information about:
  • early childhood development
  • local resources and organizations
  • free and low-cost activities
  • events for young children at home and around the county.  

Want to be included? Download the registration form here.

Born Learning Trail

The Born Learning Trail is coming!  The City of  Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, United Way of Monroe County, and Monroe Smart Start are teaming up to bring the first Born Learning Trail in Monroe County to the Clear Creek Trail this spring. The trail will feature ten interactive stations along the path that encourage everyday teachable moments with young children. Watch for more information regarding the "grand opening" of the trail.

ABC Book

"B" is for Bloomington is an ABC book for children highlighting family friendly locations in and around Bloomington. The concept of the book was developed as part of a Leadership Bloomington - Monroe County project and text was written by Elisabeth Andrews. 


Monroe Smart Start has "adopted" the book  as a tool for increasing family  involvement in children's literacy development. It is also a great way of inviting children and families to visit interesting places around Bloomington and Monroe County. 


We will keep you updated on when and where the book will be available.

Pillars of Parenting

 Pillars of Parenting. The Coalition has developed 10 pillars of parenting - simple reminders of what parents and other community members can do to support the skills and attributes that will help our children enter school ready to succeed. 


Coalition members have been introducing the Pillars of Parenting at community events. For a sneak peek of the "Pillars", click here. Stay tuned for more information in a future issue of the newsletter.

Increasing Awareness

Monroe Smart Start Director, Lois Hutter-Pishgahi, had an opportunity to share information about the importance of supporting our children birth to five with the Northside Exchange Club on October 27th. 


This is part of the Coalition's ongoing effort to enhance Monroe County's efforts to nurture and support children birth to five and their families.

Smart Start Needs YOU!

We can improve the lives of local children with the support of our community.  You can help make that happen!


Here are some of the ways in which you can contribute to making Monroe County a place that supports and nurtures children birth to five and their families.

  • Be an advocate for children by reminding others of how important it is to care for, educate and support our youngest children and their families.
  • Help to develop a school readiness definition shared by everyone in Monroe County.
  • Contribute content for this newsletter.
  • Volunteer at events to share information about Monroe Smart Start.
  •  Volunteer at literacy events featuring the Monroe Smart Start book, "B is for Bloomington".
  • Neighbors, aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, caregivers: take the opportunity to talk with and read to all the children in your life, no matter how young or how old.
  • Take on the responsibility of keeping the Smart Start Facebook page current and interesting!
  • Help us spread the word about Monroe Smart Start! Working together as a coalition will help to accomplish more with our resources

Contact for specific information  




Have You Visited the Monroe Smart Start Website? 


Check out our new Monroe Smart Start website for more information about who we are and what our Coalition hopes to accomplish for children and their families.


If you have any questions about our site, please email or call Lois at 812-345-6843.

"To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is Monroe Smart Start?

Monroe Smart Start logoMonroe Smart Start is a coalition of people who represent all aspects of our community.  Our common cause is to make sure we are doing everything we can for our children birth to five so they enter kindergarten healthy, happy and ready to succeed.  We all have a voice and a responsibility in this coalition.


What exactly is a coalition? A coalition is an alliance among individuals or groups, during which they cooperate in joint action, each in their own self-interest, joining forces together for a common cause.