Commit to the development of high quality early education, health, parenting, and family services image

Commit to the development of high quality early education, health, parenting, and family services


A Story of Family Engagement and Success

Meet the amazing Melchior family – mom Elin, kids Cassie and Takumi, and grandma Lois. In 2011, Elin contacted Champlain Valley Head Start and shared a wonderful story of the family’s experience with Head Start.

Elin spent ten years in Japan and adopted Takumi in Japan when he was a baby, and soon after adopted Cassie in China when she was a baby. Later, as preschoolers, both children attended the Champlain Valley Head Start preschool in Middlebury. Takumi had speech delays, and as a young child was not inclined to interact much with other children or adults. But Elin reported that, in Head Start, Takumi blossomed. With compassionate and caring Head Start staff, Takumi began to open up and become more verbal. Upon entering kindergarten, Takumi received special education services, and his progress continued steadily. Elin reported that, by fourth grade, Takumi had fully transitioned from special education services, and credits Head Start as a key ingredient to his success. Likewise, Cassie has developed into a talented and vibrant kid, with a great sense of humor and enjoyment of her school and family.

During the time that Cassie and Takumi were attending Head Start, Lois was volunteering to help with Head Start food service for the classroom, and developed meaningful relationships with children and staff that enriched the life and community of the preschool. At the same time, Elin was serving as a parent representative on the Head Start Policy Council, and contributing to the governance and parent leadership within Champlain Valley Head Start. When her children transitioned from Head Start to public school, Elin went on to serve for four years on the school board at Bristol Elementary School, continuing her engagement with, and commitment to, the educational system for her family and community.

We are proud to know the wonderful Melchior family, and to have them among the many successful alumni of our Head Start program.