Invest in UsInvest in Us https://waytogrow.org/wp-content/themes/movedo/images/empty/thumbnail.jpg 150 150 Ivy Marsnik https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/ab576c09797e9f9d67fd5ff51d64d1d7?s=96&d=blank&r=g
Jermain is a Way to Grow dad whose family, like many across the state, depends on early learning scholarships. “Education, out of everything in the world, is the thing I’m most serious about. My kids know that. I’m going to do all I can to make sure they finish high school, because I didn’t.”
Children thrive in consistent, familiar, nurturing environments. However, with child care costs averaging over $10,000 per year for a four-year-old child (and even more for an infant) across Minnesota, many low-income families are unable to make this crucial investment on their own.
For the past two years, Jermain’s family has received Minnesota State Early Learning Scholarships administered by ThinkSmall. “Being enrolled in Way to Grow and also being able to have the kids in preschool helps us [as parents] help them.”
In our Preschool Pals classroom, less than half of the eligible children receive early learning scholarships. Across the state, that number drops to less than 10 percent.
Access to high quality care and preschool programming is critical to not only improving school readiness skills such as early literacy and math skills, but also to improving outcomes in social competence, interaction and anxiety; and with a waitlist of over 7,000 in Hennepin County alone, the need is huge.
“I have wow moments every day,” Jermain proudly points across the room to his twenty-three-month-old daughter, not far behind her preschooler siblings; “She knows her ABCs and she can count. Seeing how much my children have enjoyed learning is proof that all kids need the opportunity to learn.”