More Ohio children to have access to preschool

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COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced an unprecedented investment of $122 million in early childhood education, which will allow 14,000 more children from low-income families to attend preschool.

The state-funded Early Childhood Education grant is awarded to early care and education programs that provide developmentally appropriate learning environments that address the outcomes and goals essential for healthy development and academic growth. This year, 435 new grantees will join 339 existing grantees to provide preschool to at least 31,569 3- and 4-year-old children across the state.

Programs that receive the grant include public preschool programs, joint vocational schools, boards of developmental disabilities, chartered nonpublic schools, private preschool programs, Head Start programs, child care centers and family child care homes. Grantees must be highly rated in Step Up To Quality, a tiered 1-5-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Step Up To Quality recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed preschool licensing health and safety regulations.

Chris Woolard, interim superintendent of public instruction, said the allocated slows are being paid at $4,250, an increase of $250 per slot. This is the first increase since 2009.

To apply, families should check Child Care Search and select Early Childhood Education Grant under services provided and then contact the program to see if space is available. Additional information for families, school administrators and educators is available on the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Childhood Education Grant webpage.

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