Students and faculty at Central Georgia Technical College will soon have more learning options for their children thanks to a state grant of up to $60,000 a year.
The Early Childhood Learning Center on the college’s Macon campus, which has been offering a pre-kindergarten program, is now taking applications for 3-year-olds to participate in preschool.
The center is an initiative of Bright from the Start, a program of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning that allows families to find quality childcare. The center’s mission is to provide a safe, rich learning environment for children, according to the website.
The program first offers spaces to the children of Central Georgia students and staff, and then opens to the community.
The center initially only offered a Pre-K program, but are now taking applications for its 3-year-old preschool childcare program thanks to the Quality Rated Subsidy Grant from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
The learning center was awarded the Quality Rated Subsidy Grant to give student-parents and families in Middle Georgia increased access to the program, said Pam Stevens, the grant program’s director of policy and partnership.
The grant has allowed the center to open a program with spaces for 10 children age 3, said Linda Smith, director of child care development centers at Central Georgia Tech. The college funded renovations of the classrooms where the preschool and Pre-K programs will be held. The renovations include new equipment, tables, chairs, toys and crafts.
Smith said the centers believe that quality childcare should be affordable, which is why they applied for the grant.
The standard rate for childcare per week is $130 and the funding will allow the program to offer reduced childcare prices. For some eligible families, it could be free.
The students “are excited,” Smith said. “It’s kind of like a one-stop shop. Get your education and you can bring your child for quality childcare.”
The grant will provide the program with a maximum of $60,000 a year depending on enrollment.
The center plans to start serving the 3-year-old’s in the program on July 16, Smith said.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the director of the childcare development center at Central Georgia Tech. Her name is Linda Smith. It also incorrectly identified the funding source of the center’s renovations. The college funded renovations to the classrooms. The center plans to begin the 3-year-old program on July 16.