Following a record-setting year of enrollment for On My Way Pre-K, Indiana’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is now accepting applications for the 2023-24 school year.
On My Way Pre-K allows 4-year-olds from lower-income families to receive a free high-quality prekindergarten education through Indiana’s only state-sponsored prekindergarten program.
“We enrolled more than 6,200 children in 2022 and expect to enroll even more this year,” said Courtney Penn, director of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.
In 2022, 58 Jackson County children, 12 children from Jennings County and 95 children from Bartholomew County received grants.
“The Purdue University long-term study released last year showed that children who attend On My Way Pre-K are better prepared for school and that the benefits continue well into elementary school,” Penn said. “As we enroll an even larger group of children, we know more will be better prepared to succeed throughout their school years.”
The online application called Early Ed Connect serves as the application for both On My Way Pre-K and child care assistance provided via the federal Child Care Development Fund. A Spanish version also is available.
Once the family has met eligibility requirements and completed the enrollment process, they may choose from any of the 1,055 approved On My Way Pre-K programs located across Indiana.
These programs are operated in homes, centers, schools and religious settings, allowing families to choose the type of setting that works best for them. Families can search approved providers at childcarefinder.in.gov.
Jackson County has seven locations offering the program: Child Care Network preschool at Emerson Elementary School and Margaret R. Brown Elementary School in Seymour, Cortland Elementary School in Cortland and Brownstown Elementary School in Brownstown, Laugh and Learn Childcare and Preschool in Seymour, Lord’s Lambs Preschool in Seymour and Little Angels Daycare in Seymour.
If a family needs help working through the enrollment process in the Jackson County area, they can navigate.onmywayprek.org to connect with Amy Bishopp, Jackson County On My Way Pre-K project manager.
More than 21,000 Hoosier children attended pre-K through the On My Way Pre-K program since it began in 2015. The program, which started as a pilot project with five counties and was then expanded to 20 counties in 2017, became a statewide program in 2019. Jackson County the only rural county among the five in the pilot program.