The non-profit Early Learning Indiana is awarding about $165,000 in grants to two Monroe County education programs.
The Monroe County Community Schools Corporation will receive $100,000 to help fund a new childcare center. The Compass Early Learning Center will also receive nearly $65,000 to expand its program.
In total, the grant money will support the creation of 140 permanent seats in the programs: 92 in MCCSC and 48 in Compass.
The grant money will be used, in part, to outfit new classrooms. Compass will also use a portion of its funding to upgrade the kitchen system where students’ meals are prepared.
Natalie Brake is the director of capacity building for Early Learning Indiana. She says the goal is to provide more access.
“We want these providers to continue their own journey to add more seats, to inspire other providers to add more seats,” Brake says. “And to help bring, overall, the early learning community in Monroe County to be able to support more families having access to that high-quality care.”
Early Learning Indiana says the projects will move both MCCSC and Compass up to level 4 programs on the state’s Paths to QUALITY rating system.
Brake says previous reports have shown just 40 percent of children in Monroe County under the age of five are enrolled in high-quality early learning programming.
“And one of our goals at Early Learning Indiana, as well as goals of all of the supports that go into the early learning field in Indiana, is to increase that number,” Brake says.
Brake says the organization currently has a rolling grant application, and they continue to provide their capacity-expanding grants until the funds are expended.