Letter: Vail needs to live up to its promise to Children’s Garden
A promise made should be a promise kept. A promise made many years ago demonstrated the commitment made by the town of Vail to its children. In 1978, the Town Council recognized the value of “high quality early childhood education” and included this in the first of many contracts the nonprofits (Learning Tree and ABC School) entered into to care and educate the valley’s children.
I was a founder, teacher and director of Learning Tree from 1978 to 2002. The two schools financed and constructed their first buildings on the Mt. Bell site which they rented for $1 per year. They operated and maintained their facilities for over 20 years. The two original schools merged as Children’s Garden in 2002, and the town of Vail built a beautiful facility on that site which met the needs of working parents and their children as they moved into the new millennium.
In the year 2000, parents, teachers and yes, the town of Vail, began to imagine and put into words what its youngest citizens couldn’t. Children deserve beautiful places to learn and grow, and because this was Vail, it had to include a place to explore nature.
Children’s Garden still exists, and parents and teachers have kept their promise to the children. But, what has happened to the town of Vail and its leadership’s commitment? Has the space for additional affordable housing become more important than the type of environment the children have a right to? Children in Vail deserve more than a facility in a commercial zone with only a patch of green grass to explore. They deserve a space where parents are welcome to drop children off and linger, a place that is safe , away from the crowds often found in a resort community.
You gave your promise four decades ago. Now I hope the town of Vail will continue its support and work with parents by providing a top-notch child care facility to match the world-class resort in which it will reside.
Former Vail resident of over 25 years