Early Learning Indiana announced a new initiative Wednesday to expand early childhood education across the state. The Early Years Initiative is a grant program for organizations that serve children from ages zero to three.
The program makes $50 million available for eligible social service providers, child care providers, and nonprofits across the state that serve young children’s developmental needs.
“We have a real opportunity to help children get started on the right foundation,” said Maureen Weber, CEO of Early Learning Indiana. “We know that that start will help them learn much later in life.”
The money can be used for projects that benefit young children’s physical, social-emotional and cognitive wellbeing. The initiative is focused on low-income families, children of color and multi-language learners.
Dr. Parissa Mansoori is a pediatrician who also serves on the board for Early Learning Indiana. She said the initiative will make early childhood education more equitable, in both access and quality.
“I think as different groups can apply for these grants, that's going to encapsulate so many more families that potentially wouldn't have had access to childcare, maybe be able to bring different educational opportunities to pockets of town that maybe didn't have the same goals for early learning,” Mansoori said. “And so I think it'll be able to kind of even the playing field for all of our kids as they get ready to enter into the school system.”
Grant applications must be submitted by June 15 and funding decisions will be made by the end of August. Information and applications are available at EarlyYearsInitiative.org.