Tess & Kevin

“We wanted Kevin, 4 and Tessa, 2 to be somewhere they could develop their skills to prepare them for K4, and we found that place at Penfield,” said their mother, Emmey.

Penfield creates an environment that allows Kevin and Tessa to learn and grow alongside their friends of different abilities. Even though her children are typically-developing, Kevin and Tessa are in classes with children who might need feeding tubes, adaptive equipment or have other mental or physical challenges.

“Kevin will come home and say things like, ‘My friend has a feeding tube because that’s how he eats. While he’s eating, I can hold his hand and talk to him, and then when he’s done, we can go play,’” said Emmey.

Emmey has been grateful for the supportive environment that surrounds Penfield as well.

“Kevin went through a phase where he wore a tutu to school and everyone’s reaction was so positive. They embraced his uniqueness and encouraged him to play with other costumes at Penfield. His favorite outfit is Spider-Man boots and a frilly pink tutu,” she said.

Tessa is softer spoken, but loves to twirl around the classroom and show off her shoes. She is intentional and very precise about her artwork, and loves to help her friends as they craft their own creations.

“We have watched Penfield take Tessa under their wing and we have been so grateful,” said Emmey.

Thanks to Penfield, Kevin and Tessa have developed fine and gross motor skills, been taught educational and life skills, learned how to share with their friends and how to interact with staff and volunteers. They’ve also been able to participate in special events such as visiting with a mini horse, meeting Bango the Buck and watching the Milwaukee Ballet perform.

“Our kids have loved the different activities at Penfield,” said Emmey. “After being exposed to the ballet, Kevin asked if he could be a construction worker and a ballerina!”

The Early Education and Child Care Program served 167 children.

In partnership with Acelero, Penfield provides three Early Head Start classrooms which provide child development and support services to the child and his/her family.