Washington Catholic Preschool has been approved for the On My Way Pre-K program, which, according to its website, awards grants to children from low-income families so that they may attend a "high quality pre-K program."
WC will be included on the list of other approved programs in Indiana for families to choose from.
"It's a state-funded voucher. Each individual early education center has to qualify," said WC Early Childhood Development Director Jane Seidel.
Washington Catholic Preschool is the only school in the county who has qualified for the program.
On My Way Pre-K has served around 8,000 families at no cost so that young students can be better prepared for kindergarten. The families who apply must meet a set of eligibility requirements. They must have an income below 127 percent of the federal poverty level; their child must be 4 years old and starting kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year; and parents/guardians must be working, going to school or attending job training.
"Our research tells us that On My Way Pre-K children make higher gains than their peers in important aspects of school readiness such as language comprehension, early literacy, executive functioning and a reduction in behavior problems in the classroom," said Nicole Norvell, director of Indiana's Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.
"It's going to give an opportunity to families who otherwise would not have all-day preschool education," said Seidel. "It's going to level that field. Every child deserves to have that access. I am grateful that WC is able to assist those families. What a beautiful opportunity."
Washington Catholic Preschool has already had their first student qualify for the voucher.
"The On My Way Pre-K program still has availability, and our roster could change, so I would encourage anyone to call and find out more, try to take advantage of the opportunity," said Seidel.