The state is giving different early learning providers across Indiana more funding as a part of efforts to improve quality and access to preschool programs.
The Family and Social Services Administration announced the recipients of more than $1.5 million in grant money this week, for expanding the capacity of early learning across the state.
FSSA spokesperson Marni Lemons says the grants aren’t directly tied to the state’s On My Way Pre-K Pilot program, but they will let some providers level up on the state’s Paths to Quality system – a crucial part of that program.
“That was the primary criteria for us determining that a provider was qualified for On My Way Pre-K,” she says. “I would just call these capacity building grants one of many tools we’re providing.”
Grant recipients received matching funds from community partners as part of the application requirements. The money will be used to better train staff, develop materials and curriculum, and events for families.
Lemons says the state has several tools to help support improvements to pre-K, but Paths to Quality is the common thread of those efforts.
“We really encourage parents to pay attention to Paths to Quality when they’re trying to determine where to send their children, even infants and toddlers, before they're old enough to enter a pre-K program,” she says.
Awards ranging from $9,000 to $315,000 will be distributed to 17 different recipients across 16 counties. Lemons says the state plans to open up applications for more early learning capacity grants again later this year. The 2018-19 applications for the state’s On My Way Pre-K program are still open.