Why does high-quality early learning matter? We know that the first 5 years of life are the most important and most rapid period of brain development for humans. For this reason, the best way a child can learn and grow is through positive, responsive relationships with adults. This time in development is incredibly important, so where children spend 8-12 hours of their day matters a lot.
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Childcare costs are on the rise, often making high-quality early learning a challenge for the typical family. The childcare costs for an average 4-year-old are over $9,000 per year and infant care is estimated to be around $12,000 per year.
Maureen Weber, President & CEO of Early Learning Indiana, says there’s good news. There are a number of resources available, right now more than ever.
There are special programs for the state of Indiana including Head Start resources and the Childcare and Development fund. For four-year-olds, there’s On My Way Pre-K. On My Way Pre-K provides grants to 4-year-olds from low-income families. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program.
Right now there’s something for all families who have a family member working in an essential business. There’s the Build Learn Grow scholarship. The Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning — in partnership with Early Learning Indiana, the Indiana Afterschool Network, and SPARK Learning Lab — has created the Build, Learn, Grow scholarship fund, offering qualified families scholarships to help connect their children to high-quality early care and out-of-school learning opportunities. Families that work in essential businesses with qualifying income are eligible to receive scholarships for their children’s early care and education, summer learning, or out-of-school care through March 2022.
What other childcare grants or assistance are you aware of?