INDIANA— Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is now accepting applications from families in 20 counties who may be eligible for grants for their children to receive high-quality, pre-kindergarten education through the On My Way Pre-K program for the 2019-20 school year.
The pilot program was expanded in 2017 from five to 20 counties to provide the benefits of early childhood education to more Hoosier children from low-income families.
The program will now be available in the 2019-2020 school year for Elkhart and Kosciusko counties. Families residing in these counties must meet the following eligibility criteria to apply:
- The family must have an income below 127 percent of the federal poverty level.
- Their child must be four years old by Aug. 1, and starting kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year.
- Parents and guardians in the household must be working, going to school or attending job training.
Links to electronic applications, in both English and Spanish, as well as a printable paper application, are available at onmywayprek.org.
Once the family has met eligibility requirements and has been awarded a grant for their child, they may choose from any of the eligible, enrolled On My Way Pre-K programs in their county. Families can search approved providers at www.childcarefinder.in.gov. OECOSL has enrolled 677 On My Way Pre-K providers in the 20 pilot counties, and the application process for new providers is ongoing. In order to qualify, a program must be top-ranked at level 3 or level 4 in Paths to QUALITY or be accredited by an approved national or regional accrediting body.
Approved pre-K programs may be located in a public or private school, licensed child care center, licensed home or registered ministry as long as that program meets the quality requirements and is registered as an On My Way Pre-K provider. Families may choose from a program that is full-day or part-day, as well as from programs that end with the school year or continue through the summer. Families who need help finding an approved pre-K program can also call (800) 299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist.
Nearly 8,000 Hoosier children have attended preschool through a grant from the On My Way Pre-K program since it began in 2015. OECOSL continues to partner with Purdue University on a longitudinal study of children who have participated in the pilot program in an attempt to measure their success. OECOSL also updates the Indiana General Assembly every year on the program.
On My Way Pre-K is Indiana’s first state-funded pre-kindergarten program, which was approved as a five-county pilot by the Indiana General Assembly in 2014, and expanded to a 20-county pilot by the General Assembly in 2017.