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Idaho awarded $6 million grant for early childhood learning and school readiness

Posted at 1:21 PM, Jan 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 09:40:52-05

IDAHO — Idaho is awarded nearly $6 million in federal grant funding over the next three years to early support early childhood learning and school readiness.

The Idaho Association for Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) and the State Board of Education have partnered to continue to build a foundation for a successful early childhood system that will prepare Idaho Children for a victorious start in school.

The federal Preschool grant is aimed to expand efforts to engage families, schools, early childhood educators, and more to help build a mixed-delivery system for parents with children ages birth to five years old to work to improve school preparedness.

Governor Brad Little has expressed on in priority early literacy since taking office. This grant will reinforce Governor Little's goal to improve children's literacy before starting kindergarten.

"Literacy continues to be my top priority in education, and this resource ensures our youngest children have improved opportunities to stay on track with their reading, so they are ready for school," Governor Little said.

Idaho AEYC Executive Director Beth Oppenheimer says every community in Idaho is unique, and an approach to investing is early learning needs to meet all Idahoans' needs.

"By understanding the different choices and options that work for our families, we are better positioned to improve early learning outcomes and options that best fit each individual community's needs," Oppenheimer said.

Idaho AEYC, in partnership with the State Board of Education, will use results from the statement need assessment conducted last year, funded with an initial $3 million Preschool Development Grant.
The needs assessment identified gaps Idaho families face, including access to resources that best support their children. It also identified opportunities to strengthen the transition between early childhood programs and our K-12 system.

"On behalf of the State Board of Education, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Idaho AEYC, along with other collaborators, for the development of a high-quality early childhood care and education system in Idaho," said Debbie Critchfield, President of the Idaho State Board of Education. "Early childhood literacy is a priority area of concern and focus for the State Board of Education. This federal grant is an opportunity to fortify local communities with resources to help families prepare their children to be ready to learn."

The grant will be implemented starting in January 2021.

"This funding will make a meaningful difference as Idaho's communities develop and implement early learning programs that are tailored to their individual needs," Oppenheimer said.