Grant Funds Expansion of Preschool for Low-Income Families
The FDC already offers various schedules and curricula ranging from all-day infant care to an afterschool program for students. Full-time (full-day) preschool may have been beyond the means of low-income parents, however, as free tuition was available only for the 2.5 hours per day funded by the Illinois Preschool for All program; parents were obliged to pay for the remainder of the day not covered by Preschool for All. The new expansion grant enables the FDC to offer low-income parents a free 5-hour-per-day option, and FDC Executive Director Carol Morrison plans to expand that by another 1.5 hours in fall 2017.
The federal grant was awarded to Illinois (and 12 other states) as part of the Preschool Development Grants program, which supports state efforts to build or enhance their infrastructure to provide high-quality preschool programs and expand high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities.
“This grant is a giant step in the right direction,” Morrison said. “Everyone is grateful for the opportunity to expand the preschool hours. Parents who were working the third shift now have more time during the day, and the children have more time for learning—which is the whole point of the expansion grant, helping them get ready for school.”
The FDC’s Preschool for All grant is $427,319, and the expansion adds an additional $277,056—an increase of 65 percent. There are currently 94 children, ages 3 to 5, served by the FDC preschool programs. FDC provides services to 175 children in total through programs with an age range from newborn to 12. The Center is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parents interested in enrolling their children should call 708.235.7300 for an appointment to take a tour.
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As a part of the College of Education at Governors State University, the FDC was designed by educators to serve the educational needs of children. Our child care, preschool and home visiting programs model the best practices in Early Childhood Education and draw extensively on the expertise of university faculty and staff in Early Childhood Education, Nursing, Communications Disorders (speech and hearing), Psychology and Counseling. University students in these programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels are active participants in the Family Development Center.