As part of a larger effort to boost the quality of early childhood education, Indiana has announced a new grant to help improve access to preschool by helping providers “level up” their quality rating.
Providers of the state’s On My Way Pre-K program are part of a voluntary rating system. Those at the first level meet basic health and safety needs for children, but preschools with a level three rating and above offer structured learning plans.
Marni Lemons, from the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), says the new grant will help more early learning providers reach that level.
“To get additional funding for many projects in Indiana, including On My Way Pre K, child-care providers need to be level three or level four,” Lemons says.
Lawmakers expanded On My Way Pre-K during the 2017 session, and included nearly $4 million in additional funding to offer the new grant. Lemons says it’s a chance for providers to serve more students, and improve their programs.
“The purpose in this is to build additional capacity to serve more children and to increase the quality of early education and childcare services,” Lemons says.
Lemons added that all children benefit when more preschool and early learning opportunities are available.
Providers can apply for grant funding on the FSSA website. Applications close Jan. 31.