Idaho awarded $6M education grant to support early learning and school readiness

With the grant, they will work to make sure children all across the state are ready for the first day of school
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 5:15 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The state of Idaho has been awarded a preschool development grant, which gives the state $6 million per year for the next three years.

Over the last year, the Idaho State Board of Education and the Idaho Association of the Education of Young Children has been studying early childhood learning and what the gaps are for those families.

“The impacts that early childhood learning has on families, on young children, on the systems that we have across the state,” said Beth Oppenheimer, Idaho AEYC executive director. “So how do we find access to childcare, to preschool programs, to home visiting? What kind of parent supports are out there?”

Now that they have all of that information, they will be using the new grant to implement some of the opportunities to improve school readiness and literacy in young children.

“What we found from the first year is that parents don’t really have the understanding, knowledge, they don’t know where to go for services, they don’t know where to go for programming,” Oppenheimer said.

Debbie Critchfield, the president of the SBOE, said this grant couldn’t have come at a better time as many parents of young children are staying home more.

“To know what those quality resources are, how they can access them, how it will support their child,” Critchfield said. “Then as we look forward not exactly knowing what the next year is going to look like either, they feel as though they’ve got that foundational support to make their child as successful as possible right out of the gate.”

With the grant, they will work to make sure children all across the state are ready for the first day of school.

“But we also know that it’s much more than ABC’s and 123′s. We’ll be looking at supports to make sure the whole child is supported,” Oppenheimer said. “Through social-emotional learning, we want to make sure children have access to programs and services that really promote the whole child learning.

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