More families in Montgomery County will be getting tuition help for their preschoolers. On Wednesday, officials announced the expansion of Preschool Promise – part of the Dayton area’s Learn to Earn initiative that hopes to make preschool affordable for every 4-year-old.
The pilot-program began in the city of Kettering just a few years ago. Mayor Don Patterson says it’s been a big help to families there.
“Sometimes financial items just cause parents not to be able to provide what they know they need to be providing and want to provide, and through this Preschool Promise program, parents are able to get the assistance they need and get a leg up and be ready for kindergarten,” Patterson said.
The Kettering pilot program started with just 35 families. With the addition of Northwest Dayton, more than 200 families now have access to affordable preschool, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says the city has plans to expand the program next year.
“Nine hundred four-year-olds in the city of Dayton are eligible for this," she said. "Our hope is that we have a successful year and this November, we have the earned income tax effort on the ballot that would make this preschool demonstration city-wide in the city of Dayton for universal pre-K.”
In addition to the local families will benefit from the current Preschool Promise expansion, officials say 35 local preschools will receive instructional and technical support to improve the quality of their learning programs.
The Preschool Promise expansion announcement took place Wednesday morning at the YMCA Early Childhood Center at Grace United Methodist Church in Dayton.
In addition to Mayors Whaley and Patterson, speakers to more than fifty stakeholders included representatives from The Learning Tree (Kettering), Learn to Earn Dayton, and City Commissioner Debbie Lieberman.
Several parent representatives also spoke on behalf of the program, Jodee Branham of Kettering and Mazia Govan of Dayton.
Govan said she moved to Dayton from Tennessee several years ago and her network of support in raising her three children is rather small. She credited the Preschool Promise initiative with giving her kids a good educational foundation.