The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning today announced that the On My Way Pre-K program for eligible 4-year-olds and their families has reached record enrollment – supporting more than 7,500 Hoosier children so far this year, up about 21% from last year.
On My Way Pre-K allows 4-year-olds from low-income families to receive a free, high-quality, pre-kindergarten education through Indiana’s only state-sponsored pre-kindergarten program. Information about the program and the link to apply can be found at OnMyWayPreK.org.
More children than ever before are eligible due to Gov. Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly expanding eligibility this year. Starting in August, children were eligible if their families made as much as 150% of the federal poverty level, up from 127%. For example, a child from a family of four is eligible if household income is $45,000 per year or less.
“We are celebrating supporting an additional 1,300 children this year, giving them an equal opportunity to learn and grow alongside their peers,” said Courtney Penn, director of the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. “I am proud of our team’s commitment to reach kids in every county, ensuring that as many young learners as possible are better prepared for elementary school and beyond.”
Though school has started, families can still enroll. Staff and partners continue to work to recruit more On My Way Pre-K providers to support as many children as possible. An easy-to-use, online application called “Early Ed Connect” serves as the application for both On My Way Pre-K and child care assistance provided via the federal Child Care Development Fund, or CCDF.
Eligible families may choose from any of the more than 1,100 approved On My Way Pre-K programs located across Indiana. These programs are operated in homes, centers, schools and religious settings, allowing families to choose the type of setting that works best for them. Families can search approved providers at www.ChildCareFinder.IN.gov.
More than 28,000 Hoosier children have attended pre-K through the On My Way Pre-K program since it began in 2015. The program, which started as a five-county pilot and then expanded to 20 counties in 2017, became a statewide program in 2019. A long-term study released last year showed that children who attend On My Way Pre-K are better prepared for school and that the benefits continue well into elementary school.
Families may call 800-299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist or for other questions about On My Way Pre-K.