BOISE, Idaho – The Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children is providing grants and support for the development of community preschools across the state.
The organization’s Preschool the Idaho Way project was launched last year with a toolkit for developing preschool collaboratives to address the various needs of communities big and small.
This week, it announced grants of $5,000 to $10,000 for 15 preschool programs.
Martin Balben, project director for Idaho AEYC, says the goal is to make projects flexible to the needs of local communities.
“We are trying to do our best to get folks on the pathway to high quality, pre-school programs in their area that they provide the solutions to and they provide the framework for, and give them as much assistance on the way to make sure that this works and make sure they’re sustainable over the long term,” he states.
Balben says a lack of state funding for pre-K and increasing costs make it difficult for many Idaho families to afford quality early learning, spurring the need to support local solutions.
Idaho currently is one of four states that does not provide funding for preschool.
Balben hopes this project sends a message to decision makers that there’s a great need for this kind of programming and also that Idahoans can find a way to make this happen the Idaho way with help from the state.
“There are going to be a significant amount of chances where we can step in and make sure that it doesn’t have to be overly difficult for folks to make these programs happen and that they have the supports they deserve,” he stresses.
Each of the grant recipients is working with at least three collaborative partners. Recipients span from Priest River to Blackfoot and also include collaborations with three colleges.
Disclosure: Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education.