Vermont’s Universal Pre-K goes into effect

Photo: VT Department of Education

One of the hardest issues for working parents of young children is finding sufficient care for them while parents are working. In our state that problem has been greatly reduced thanks to a new law that just went into effect.

Vermont is the first state in the country to guarantee pre-kindergarten to all its three and four year old citizens. The law, Act 166 was signed into law in 2014 but became effective as of the first of July. Under the law, each town must provide at least 10 hours of high quality pre-kindergarten education to 3 and 4 year olds for 35 weeks per year. The pre-k can be through public school, communities, Head Start or private early education centers. Many communities in Vermont already provide this service, with about one-quarter of the communities putting the new law into effect one year earlier than required.

This is great news for working parents. Under the law, parents can place their 3 and 4 year olds in pre-k programs closer to their jobs making it easier all around for working parents who may have had to forego a pre-k program due to hours and distance from their jobs.

The ten free hours will be economically beneficial to a lot of young, working parents who could not otherwise afford care for their children for the full work day. Attendance in the 3 and 4 year old program is not mandatory although a lot of parents will most likely take advantage of the program. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, Vermont has the highest attendance by 4 year olds in pre-school programs.



Being Mindful

Mindfulness is a word that you most likely have been hearing a lot lately. It is in the news, it is on Facebook, it is on Twitter and other social media sites.

Lawyers are some of the folks who try to do it all, I know I am. I remember one time that I was trying to listen to two different seminars – one on the computer and one of the phone while doing some work. Guess what? I got nothing from it and I knew I probably wouldn’t but I still tried.

Sometimes, it is necessary to step back, take a breath (a real breath, not that shallow, urgent thing we do all the time that we pass for taking a breath) and remember that we don’t need to do it all.

I want to share something I came across that reminds us lawyers that slowing down occasionally and really paying attention to our days and the moments that comprise them, isn’t such a bad thing.

The link discusses mindfulness and the law and gives us five really simply tips how to make ourselves just a little more aware of the world around us. I will give you a hint, one of the tips is simply to breathe.

Give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.


The new year seemed like the perfect time to start a new legal themed blog for my law practice.