Apply for On My Way Pre-K online and prepare children for kindergarten safely

INDIANAPOLIS – With the 2020/2021 school year underway in much of our state, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration wants families to know that there is still space available in all of Indiana’s counties in the statewide On My Way Pre-K program. High-quality pre-K providers from all over Indiana are following guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help low-income 4-year-olds be ready to start kindergarten next year, while making child health and safety the top priority.

On My Way Pre-K provides children from low-income families with free access to high-quality pre-K, to help prepare them for success in kindergarten and beyond. For more information about On My Way Pre-K and to apply online visit OnMyWayPreK.org.

In accordance with guidance from the CDC, early care and education providers are following a number of health and safety recommendations while serving families during COVID-19. These include:

·         Drop-off and pick-up procedures
·         Sanitizing and cleaning
·         Social distancing
·         Health screenings
·         Personal protective equipment
·         Enforcement of fever- and symptom-free policies
·         Personal hygiene

These recommendations are outlined in a colorful, animated video to help reassure families of the steps being taking to protect their children while they are beginning their educational journey. Other tools and information, including a checklist to help families feel confident, are available at BrighterFuturesIndiana.org/BackToWork.

To enroll in On My Way Pre-K, families must meet certain eligibility requirements. The family must have an income below 127 percent of the federal poverty level. The child must be 4 years old by Aug. 1, 2020, and starting kindergarten in the 2021/2022 school year. Parents or guardians in the household must be working, going to school or attending job training. There also may be eligibility for families with income up to 185% of the federal poverty level and one parent or guardian who is working, going to school or attending job training or a parent/guardian who receives Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. Detailed information about eligibility is available here.

Earlier this year, Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning introduced a new, easier-to-use online application called “Early Ed Connect,” which families can use to apply for both On My Way Pre-K and child care assistance provided in Indiana via the federal Child Care Development Fund or “CCDF.”

Enrolling a child in On My Way Pre-K has benefits for the whole family. Pre-K equips children with necessary social skills to prepare the child for kindergarten and beyond, while allowing parents and guardians to focus on their own work or education.

The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is a division of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Families may call 800-299-1627 for assistance from an early learning referral specialist or for other questions about On My Way Pre-K.

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