I recently issued a news release to the local newspapers on the important topic of early learning scholarships. This subject merits its own separate email update in addition to the updates I normally provide at the end of each week.
Recognizing that there is a wide diversity among our preschool children as to how well they are prepared for kindergarten, as well as many different ways to deliver assistance in this area, this budget cycle the Legislature reinforced our Early Learning Scholarship Program as part of the Minnesota’s K12 education budget.
Area families may qualify to receive a portion of the historic $20.7 million investment in early learning scholarship funding. Eligible families with children ages 3 to 5 may receive scholarships of up to $7,500 per child, per year to help pay for high-quality child care and early education to help get children ready for school.
The focus of creating these scholarships was to direct funding toward the early learners who need it most. Recognizing one size does not fit all, we tailored this program to prioritize children who are facing situations that may merit special assistance in preparing for kindergarten.
I strongly encourage families with children in the 3 to 5 age range to check into this program to see if they qualify for scholarships that could assist their children to get off on the right foot with their schooling.
The Minnesota Department of Education indicates early learning scholarships must be used at a Parent Aware-rated program. This may apply to a licensed family child care; child care center, Head Start program, preschool, or school-based pre-kindergarten program.
The program is administered on a regional basis, with our legislative district encompassing portions of two different regions.
The Northland Foundation administers early learning scholarships for the seven counties in Northeastern Minnesota – Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties. More information is available from Northland by clicking here or by calling (218) 260-2736.
Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, Inc. administers the scholarships in the region of Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties. Visit this link or call (218) 632-3600 for more.