Smart Start Header
Fall 2011
In This Issue
Learning Local Preschool's Needs
Smart Start Directory
School Readiness
Did You Hear?
School Preparaion Checklist
Partnership with IU Kelley
'B' is for Bloomington
Working Group Member
New Organization: VIPS
Featured Organization: BABS
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List

I'm excited to begin working with Monroe Smart Start as Interim Director. Teaching in MCCSC for eight years afforded me many opportunities to influence young lives. After leaving my position, I became a teacher to one student, my son Jacob who has Autism. Through this experience, my knowledge of early childhood interventions has expanded. These early interventions were essential in preparing Jacob for preschool/kindergarten. Through Jacob's continued progress, I'm reminded of the vital role early education plays for overall childhood development.


During my service as Interim Director, I will work with Management Team to ensure the continued viability of Smart Start while maintaining supportive relationships with Smart Start supporters including the Smart Start Steering Committee, coalition members, and working groups.


I look forward to collaborating with you and will work closely with working groups and coalition members as needed to support our ongoing projects and initiatives.


Jennifer Perry,

Monroe Smart Start Interim Director

Monroe Smart Start Learns Needs of County Preschools

Welcome Elizabeth McCrea
Elizabeth McCrea, Smart Start Needs Assessment Coordinator, is helping define the range of services that are available to young children and their families in Monroe County.
Her conversations will provide understanding of various early childhood programs as well as the challenges childcare providers/educators experience in helping to prepare children for success in school.
This insight will help guide Monroe Smart Start as it strives to support early childcare providers so all children in Monroe County begin Kindergarten with the readiness skills needed to be academically successful.
Liz is a retired Clinical Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences at Indiana University. She worked in the IU Language Based Preschool for eight years designing intervention programs to address the childrens' communication and behavioral needs.
During her teaching, Liz simultaneously served as clinical educator for graduate students assigned to the preschool as they acquired and refined their skills in the design and provision of services to the communicatively at-risk children enrolled in the preschool.
She believes that the preschool years are foundational and that preschool experiences are important  to all children and their ability to become successful students, adults and citizens .
Liz has served on the Community Foundation Board of Directors for two terms and has been a member of the Foundation's Grant Committee for eight years. She has been a member of the Smart Start Steering Committee since its inception.


"I came to really appreciate how open and creative the minds of preschool children are and how they are just waiting to be engaged and challenged." Elizabeth McCrea
Smart Start Directory

Services and programs working with birth to five information now in directory

 Directory fall newletter

The Monroe Smart Start Directory has launched. Be sure your organization/business is listed.


Encourage those working with birth to five to register today at the following:

School Readiness Definition


The Monroe County School Readiness Definition is complete and has been distributed to local childcare/preschool sites. The steering committee is working on a community distribution plan. Working groups will be contacted when ideas are ready for implementation.  


Did You Hear?

Services and programs working with birth to five information now in directory


Letters were mailed on September 6th to childcare/preschool sites along with the School Readiness Definition. Let the conversation of kindergarten readiness begin! Through Liz's work, we will gain a better understanding of what is needed to prepare Monroe County children for Kindergarten.
A School Preparation Checklist

Skills that Benefit Every Kindergarten Student


Social and emotional development is how children feel about themselves, the development of responsibility, and the ability to relate positively to others. A child who demonstrates mastery in this area:

  • Works and plays cooperatively with peers, is non-disruptive, takes turns, respects others, and shares
  • Is able to work alone
  • Resolves conflicts appropriately
  • Follows simple rules and directions
  • Expresses emotions in an appropriate manner
  • Demonstrates enthusiasm and curiosity when approaching new activities
  • Participates successfully in circle time, listens, focuses and is engaged
  • Relates appropriately to adults other than parent/caregiver


Cognitive development and general knowledge pertains to children's thinking skills and the development of symbolic and problem solving skills. A child who demonstrates mastery in this area:

  • Counts 10 objects
  • Matches items
  • Makes meaning of patterns
  • Shows curiosity and a desire to learn


Communication and literacy refers to a child's ability to communicate through words, pictures and symbols using verbal and/or nonverbal communication. A child who demonstrates mastery in this area:

  • Uses communication that can be understood by others
  • Listens and understands what is being said or requested by others
  • Asks for help
  • Communicates wants and needs
  • Uses words, drawings and writing to express a meaningful experience
  • Looks at pictures then tells stories
  • Understands and interprets a story or other text read to him/her


Self-care skills consist of a child's capacity to take care of personal needs while acquiring independence in age-appropriate eating, dressing and personal hygiene. A child who demonstrates mastery in this area:

  • Manages small items such as crayons, paintbrushes, buttons, zippers, etc.
  • Asks for help when needed
  • Takes care of personal belongings
  • Uses the toilet independently
  • Performs self-care tasks: dressing, eating, washing hands ,and covering mouth when coughing/ sneezing


Physical well-being and motor development involves detecting and addressing possible health barriers that block learning through comprehensive and preventative health care services. A child who demonstrates mastery in this area:

  • Appears physically healthy, well-rested, and nourished
  • Manipulates materials such as a pencil, crayon, table block, scissors, eating utensil, and puzzle pieces
  • Moves with balance and control
New Partnership

Monroe Smart Start partners with IU Kelley Fall Consulting Projects


With the leadership of a strong IU Kelley consulting team, Monroe Smart Start will benefit from information researched and compiled. These services will include analyses (based on validity, efficiency of administration, and applicability to the established local definition of school readiness) of other pre-kindergarten competency evaluation programs in the United States as well as compiling professional opinions regarding these existing programs. IU Kelley students will present its research and subsequent steps at the conclusion of the semester.


'B' is for Bloomington Book

 Committee members are finalizing printing details as well as an impactful distribution plan. The book should arrive in time for the holidays.


Are You a Working Group Member?


Early next year, we will meet with the entire Smart Start constituency to discuss results of our community research and plan our next steps. Until then, please contact Jennifer Perry with any questions, concerns, or information that will help continue the vision of Monroe Smart Start.


New Organization

New Organization in Bloomington serving Infants and Toddlers

Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) Bloomington is an affiliate of VIPS, a private, non-profit agency serving infants and toddlers who are blind or visually impaired, and their families. VIPS Bloomington offers in-home early intervention, collaboration with other therapists, advocacy, parent support, and Play and Learn (PAL) groups for parents and children.


Every child should be able to reach her full potential. Experts estimate that 70% of all learning takes place during the preschool years, and that 80% of this early learning occurs through vision. Therefore, an infant or toddler with a visual impairment is at risk of experiencing delays in all areas of development. That's why the first three years of a child's life is such a crucial time to get started dealing with a child's vision loss.


VIPS has been designed to help parents and children through these important early years when children are so ripe for learning. Without sight, a child will need to gather information about the world in different ways. The trained early interventionists from VIPS Bloomington will show parents how to help their children use remaining vision and other senses to learn about the world.


VIPS Bloomington can help! Please contact Rebecca Davis at for more information.


Rebecca Davis
Developmental Director / Parent Advisor
Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS)
2600 Henderson Street #154
Bloomington, IN 47401
(888) 636-8477
C: (818) 585-8306
Featured Organization

BABS (Bloomington Area Birth Services)


BABS provides classes and activities not just for pregnant women, but also for families with toddlers. In addition to Toddler Playtime on Fridays, Family Music on Wednesdays, Story Time on Friday, and Family Yoga on Saturdays, special workshops are frequently offered as well. In the month of October we are repeating a popular workshop, specially designed for families with toddlers.

Ones and Twos: How to Love Parenting Your Toddler

Facilitator Molly Mendota has over 20 years' experience doing childcare for all ages, and toddlers are her favorite! Learn how to support healthy exploration and development, while providing appropriate boundaries and meeting the needs of the whole family. During this workshop we will discuss toddler development, common challenges, and long-term parenting strategies that build strong relationships. The optional hour at the end of the workshop is an opportunity to troubleshoot specific issues that have come up with your toddler, drawing on the experiences of other parents in the group.


When: Saturday, October 22 from 2-4pm.

Where: Bloomington Area Birth Services, 2458 S. Walnut St.

Cost: $30/family


This workshop is designed for parents of one- and two-year-olds. Parents of younger babies are welcome!


For more information call 337-8121 or email


Quick Links
For More Information 
Check out the 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 Jennifer at 812-345-6843.