WARSAW — Kosciusko County’s Child Care and Early Learning Coalition, also known as LaunchPad, recently received a Desert Grant from Early Learning Indiana.
According to a 2018 study conducted by the Indiana Business Research Center and Early Learning Indiana, childcare deserts exist in each of Indiana’s 92 counties. A childcare desert is a neighborhood, town or part of a city where there is no more than one childcare seat for every three children.
The Desert Grant is designed to help address the fact that more than four of every 10 children in Indiana live in a childcare desert. Currently, there is a shortage of around 1,800 licensed or registered childcare spots in Kosciusko County.
After considering multiple options and speaking with the Syracuse Childcare Task Force, LaunchPad will be using the grant to open two childcare centers in the Syracuse area.
One will be at Wawasee Elementary School for children of Wawasee Community Schools employees. This location will be called The Wawasee Staff Child Care and Wawasee Community Schools will be the provider of care. They have hired Abby Moe to be the director of the center.
The second location will be called The Wawasee Early Learning Center and will be housed at North Webster Elementary School. This location will be open to any family with children ages 3 to 5 who are looking for preschool. The Wawasee Early Learning Center will include Alisha Denney and Melissa Small as its two lead teachers, with Shari Upchurch serving as its preschool coordinator.
Dr. Tom Edington, Superintendent of Wawasee Community Schools said, “Our community has lost the service provided by several childcare centers that have recently closed. With the assistance of LaunchPad and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, Wawasee Community School Corporation is assisting in filling these empty seats by opening the Wawasee Early Learning Center at North Webster Elementary for children ages three to five to learn and play together. In addition, we will add the Wawasee Staff Child Care at Syracuse Elementary School to provide excellent care for staff children, ages six weeks to five years of age. Wawasee is excited to boost up children prior to their kindergarten school experience and to fill a great community need.”
Both centers are planning to open when school starts in the fall and will be using the HighScope Curriculum. For more information on enrollment, please contact Wawasee Community Schools.