Free Preschool Program Offers Kids A Jumpstart - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Free Preschool Program Offers Kids A Jumpstart

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A state funded preschool program is helping more kids gear up for kindergarten.  

"This year we're doing something a little bit different, we're partnering with the home providers and any four year old they have in their care can have free bussing," Pre-K Instructional Specialist Dianna Saelens says.  

The program is free, runs two hours a day and is open to all four year olds who live in Iowa. It also offers free bussing to four year olds at any Davenport daycare.  

"It's a huge help, childcare is not cheap so it's a humongous help to families," Saelens says. 

State funding means they won't turn anyone who qualifies away.

"As the demand grows for the program, we are opening more classrooms," Saelens says. 

The school district gets three thousand dollars in state funds per child to keep the program going.  

"Basically the more children we have, the more allocation we have from the state," Saelens says. 

So they can help more kids who need it. 

"The kindergartens we have today are not the kindergartens you and I attended," Saelens says, "These days by the second week of kindergarten children are reading, they're completing math worksheets, so it's not just learning your letters, learning your numbers, it's knowing what sounds the letters make, learning to write." 

A study by United Way found one in six kindergartners in the Quad Cities are not ready for the first day of school, so childcare providers are hoping this program makes a difference.  

"That's sort of a scary number so we're trying to get the word out the importance of preschool so that all of our children can be ready," Saelens says. 

There are no income restrictions to qualify, but your child has to be four years old on or before September 15th. The program is only open to children who live in Iowa.  

To sign up, call Children's Village West at this number: (563) 823-2086.