Preschool Promise targets local families

New effort will start in Kettering, could expand to rest of county.

A new initiative designed to boost preschool enrollment among children from low-income families in Montgomery County will begin this year in Kettering with hopes that it eventually expand countywide.

The Preschool Promise is a program from Ready Set Soar, an early care and education initiative that is also part of the nonprofit Learn to Earn Dayton. According to the group, 40 percent of Montgomery County 4-year-olds don’t attend preschool. This program will enroll roughly 75 students this year, though that number could stretch past 120 in two years.

“All the national research, the state research and our local research shows that children who attend preschool are better prepared for kindergarten and are also much more successful in third grade and beyond,” said Robyn Lightcap, director of Ready Set Soar. “We know that our little ones are ready to learn, and if we give them the resources and the foundation, then they’re going to succeed.”

The offer to participate in the Preschool Promise is extended to 4-year-olds whose families earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that equates to $47,700 annually.

Eligible families must:

-Live in the Kettering school district

-Meet income guidelines

-Have children entering their last year of preschool before kindergarten.

If they meet the requirements, they may enroll at:

-Beavertown Elementary, 2700 Wilmington Pike

-Creative World of Learning, 2100 Hewitt Ave

-MVCDC - Moraine Meadows Head Start, 2600 Holman Street

-Wenzler Daycare Center, 4535 Presidential Way

Abigail Ruddy, director of the Wenzler daycare center, said the social advantages that come from attending preschool are extremely important.

“They come in all quiet and shy and then, by Christmas time, they’re running into the building and having fun with their friends and the teachers,” she said.

A recent University of Dayton study concluded children from low-income neighborhoods who attend high-quality preschool programs score on average 10 percent higher on the state’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment, which was previously called the KRA-L).

“That’s what you’d expect,” said Richard Stock, director of UD’s business research group. “We know preschools have an impact.”

The total budget for Preschool Promise is $240,000. It’s essentially an equal partnership between the city of Kettering, Montgomery County and the Kettering school district. The city of Moraine will contribute proportionally based on the number of residents they have that are part of the Kettering school district.

Anyone interested in more information can contact participating providers directly.

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