The Janet S. Munt Family Room: Garden, Nature and Family Play
The Janet S. Munt Family Room is a parent child center providing programs that are accessible to all and flexible enough to meet the needs of our changing community. We support connection for parents and families, provide education, promote physical, social, emotional, and linguistic development in children, and nurture a vibrant and diverse community. Our Family Play program has been a vital program for families.
From May through September, our Family Play program moves from 20 Allen St. to the Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington. This beautiful location gives families opportunities to garden, play outside, gain nutrition and cooking education, go on nature walks, eat healthy meals together and connect with others. Families can sign up for a free garden plot to grow the food they would like. We are able to supply seeds, seedlings, compost, fertilizer and tools to grow their gardens. Children can be found in the Rainbow garden where they get to plant, care for and harvest their own food.
Our staff and volunteers welcome all who come and are able to provide activities and care for children while parents work in their gardens. We are also able to provide transportation from the Family Room at 20 Allen Street and to Franklin Square, as well. A school bus picks up families, brings them to Family Play at the garden and brings them back. Since there isn’t public transportation to the Homestead, we are grateful to be able to provide this service.
We work with Vermont Adult Learning and Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program to provide English classes in our outdoor program. While parents are learning English, their children are running and playing outside and are in close proximity to their parents. Vermont Community Garden Network has been supporting our programs by doing cooking demos, making pesto, salsa and tortillas from scratch with families and working with parents to help them better grow their gardens. This year, the Vermont Foodbank provided free produce and samples for everyone. We are grateful for all of our collaborations.
The City Market Seedling grant award of $6,721 allowed for us to purchase three new picnic tables, shovels, gardening tools, kid-sized tools, a portable stove, kitchen utensils for outdoor cooking, and mortars and pestles. We were also able to begin construction on our new shade structure.