• Early Childhood Education

Journal Gazette: Parents warned to enroll now for pre-k

Parents warned to enroll now for pre-K

90 students have OK, 260 more families in process

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Allen County families thinking about participating in the state's preschool program should submit their application quickly.

“Don't wait until tomorrow. Do it now,” said David Nicole, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. The organization has coordinated the county's preschool participation.

On My Way Pre-K offers free, high-quality education to children from low-income families. Children must be 4 by Aug. 1 and starting kindergarten in the 2020-21 academic year.

There is capacity for more than 220 students at various locations for the upcoming academic year, Nicole said. As of Thursday afternoon, he said, nearly 90 students were approved to participate, and about 260 families were in the enrollment process.

Even so, he added, “We're still encouraging families that meet the eligibility requirements to apply.”

Statewide, more than half of the slots have been filled for On My Way Pre-K, which recently expanded to serve children in all 92 counties, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said Thursday.

“Our research tells us that On My Way Pre-K children make higher gains than their peers in important aspects of school readiness such as language comprehension, early literacy, executive functioning and a reduction in behavior problems in the classroom,” Nicole Norvell, director of Indiana's Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning, said in a statement.

More than 1,000 children in Allen County – which helped pilot On My Way Pre-K – have received schooling through the program since its 2015 launch, Nicole said.

Visit www.OnMyWayPreK.org for an application. Families must earn below 127% of the federal poverty level, and parents or guardians in the household must be working, going to school or attending job training.

Applications are open year-round, but with the school year beginning in August, Nicole said now is the time to apply.

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