Marshall County Early childhood logoIndiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning recently awarded early education capacity-building grants to 12 applicants representing 29 pre-kindergarten programs in 12 Indiana counties. The Marshall County Early Childhood Coalition was awarded $239,744.56.The grants for the whole of the state total more than $1.4 million and was awarded to early learning providers and county coalitions to help them serve more pre-k children and increase the quality of early education opportunities provided throughout Indiana.

“Increasing the number of high-quality early education programs in counties across the state is an intentional priority for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration,” said FSSA Secretary Jennifer Walthall, M.D., M.P.H. “Building capacity provides more options for Hoosier parents who want their child to have a competitive start to their education.”

All applicants were required to secure matching funds—between 5 and 50 percent of total budget— from local businesses or other stakeholders who will benefit from the community improvement associated with these capacity-building grants. The funding for these grants was appropriated in 2017 via House Enrolled Act 1004, which Governor Eric J. Holcomb signed into law as part of his 2017 Next Level Agenda.

“We couldn’t be more pleased about this amazing opportunity to build on the work Marshall County early childhood care providers are doing to provide a solid educational foundation for our young children,” said Linda Yoder, Executive Director of the United Way of Marshall County and the Marshall County Community Foundation. “We are excited to support the families and businesses that see quality, affordable care as essential to thriving communities.”

The Marshall County early childhood education grant awardee providers are Argos Little Dragons Preschool, Bremen Preschool, Carey’s Child Care Inc. (Plymouth), Culver Elementary School, Small Wonders Center Location (Plymouth), Triton Elementary School (Bourbon) and Max’s Playhouse (Culver).

Capacity-building grants will be used in Marshall County for:

  • Training and professional development of teaching staff
  • Classroom materials that demonstrate increased outcomes for children or increased instructional practices for educators
  • Evidence-based curriculum or instructional materials including professional development for teaching staff to utilize the curriculum
  • Family engagement activities or materials and/or marketing and communication materials
  • Other relevant needs to help expand capacity and/or improve quality programming to help programs reach Paths to QUALITY™ level 3 or 4, which is the requirement for a provider to be eligible to be an On My Way Pre-K provider

“We want Marshall County families to have options when selecting high quality, affordable childcare,” continued Yoder. “Whether the provider is faith-based, center-based, home-based, or located within a public school – Marshall County is committed to listening to what our families want and need for their children and providing our preschoolers with the strongest possible start in their educational career!”

On My Way Pre-K is Indiana’s first state-funded prekindergarten grant program, which was established as a five-county pilot by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014. Currently, 20 Indiana counties including Marshall County, Allen, Bartholomew, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Floyd, Grant, Harrison, Howard, Jackson, Kosciusko, Lake, Madison, Marion, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh and Vigo, along with eight grandfathered agreement sites are eligible to accept On My Way Pre-K grants for low-income Hoosier children.