More Harrison County children will receive free preschool

Monday, March 5, 2018

Preschool isn’t a luxury: It’s a vital part of a young child’s preparation for kindergarten. Research shows that children who are adequately prepared for kindergarten consistently do better in school and beyond. But some families are unable to afford preschool for their children.

Since 2014, the Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF) has been funding the Jump Start program that provides free preschool for many children in income-eligible households. HCCF announces that additional Harrison County preschool-aged children will be able to become ready for kindergarten, because the county will receive On My Way Pre-K (OMWPK) funding through Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration.

Harrison County is one of 20 counties receiving OMWPK state funding. OMWPK will fund free preschool for children who will be four years old by Aug. 1 and live in households at or below 127 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The OMWPK program will begin in Harrison County in August for the 2018-2019 school year, and up to 50 students and their families can receive funding. HCCF encourages all families with four-year-old children to apply for funding online at onmywayprek.org. Paper applications are available at all OMWPK providers, HCCF, Harrison County Community Services and the Harrison County Public Library branches in Corydon, Elizabeth, Lanesville and Palmyra.

Harrison County families with children in the OMWPK program will be able to choose from various providers. Blue River Services (BRS) and the South Harrison Community School Corporation (SHCSC) have multiple sites, and Noah’s Ark Preschool in Ramsey and Tiny Treasures in Corydon are also participating in the program.

BRS administers preschool programs at the Morgan and North Harrison elementary schools and Rainbow’s End Child Care Center. SHCSC runs preschool programs at the Corydon, Heth-Washington, New Middletown and South Central elementary schools.

OMWPK funding is linked to Indiana’s Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), so OMWPK providers can receive 53 weeks of annual funding per child. As a result, OMWPK can pay for child care in addition to preschool. Private child care providers and Rainbow’s End Child Care Center can provide care during school breaks, with no cost to the families of children in the OMWPK program.

HCCF will continue funding free preschool through the Jump Start program for children who will be four years old by Aug. 1, and whose families are up to 200 percent of the FPL. Children’s families will first need to apply for and be denied OMWPK funding to receive free preschool through Jump Start.

To learn more about or apply for the OMWPK program, visit onmywayprek.org, call River Valley Resources toll free at 855-591-7848 or email leslie@rivervalleyresources.com.

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