DeWine announces increase in access to preschool education

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 25, 2023

COLUMBUS — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Monday an unprecedented increase in the number of children who will now have access to high-quality preschool education. 

With an investment of $122M over the biennium, the state-funded Early Childhood Education Grant will serve an additional 14,901 students from low-income families.

The grant is awarded to early care and education programs that provide developmentally appropriate learning environments that address the outcomes and goals essential for healthy development and academic growth. This year, 435 new grantees will join 339 existing grantees to provide preschool to at least 31,569 three- and four-year old children across the state.

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“The Early Childhood Education Grant demonstrates the state’s commitment to Ohio’s youngest learners,” DeWine said. “Children participating in these programs are more likely to start kindergarten ready to learn.”

High-quality programming includes implementing a curriculum aligned to the Ohio Early Learning and Development Standards, setting learning goals for children based on assessment data, degreed teachers engaging in ongoing professional development, and building partnerships with families and the community.

Programs that receive the grant include public preschool programs, joint vocational schools, boards of developmental disabilities, chartered nonpublic schools, private preschool programs, Head Start programs, child care centers, and family child care homes.

Grantees must be highly rated in Step Up To Quality, a tiered 1-5-star quality rating and improvement system administered by the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Step Up To Quality recognizes and promotes learning and development programs that meet quality program standards that exceed preschool licensing health and safety regulations.

“Thanks to Gov. DeWine and the General Assembly, we are increasing the number of Early Childhood Education grantees by 56 percent,” said Dr. Chris Woolard, interim superintendent of public instruction. “This creates a wonderful opportunity to provide some of our most vulnerable students with access to high-quality early child care learning in high-needs areas of the state.”

All allocated slots are being paid at $4,250, an increase of $250 per slot. This is the first increase in the per slot allocation since 2009.

To apply, families should check Child Care Search and select Early Childhood Education Grant under services provided and then contact the program to see if space is available. 

Additional information for families, school administrators and educators is available on the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Childhood Education Grant webpage.