LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The STEAM Academy of River City Church in Lafayette is getting a grant from the state to help grow its early childhood education programs.
Indiana's Office of Early Childhood and Out-Of-School Learning is dispersing $1.4 million to 12 Indiana counties. The money will be used to help these counties serve more pre-k children, as well as helping to increase the quality of early education opportunities around the state.
The STEAM Academy is getting more than $114,000 to help grow their pre-k programs.
STEAM first opened its doors in August of last year. Wanting to emphasize STEM subjects as well as art to its students. Pastor Robby Bradford says there they saw a need for quality pre-k.
"Studies show that children who are in preschool, that's when they get the most interested in science, technology, engineering and math and so that's why this is such an important issue,” he said.
Every bit of that money is going back to help provide more opportunities for the kids they serve.
"The money will be going toward teacher training, 40 new 4-year-old spots, and as well as getting to Paths to Quality level three this fall," he said.
Paths to Quality is Indiana's child care quality rating and improvement system.
According to their website, Paths to Quality assesses the quality of care within a program, works to improve that quality level, and gives families an easy to recognize symbol that makes the difficult decision of choosing child care easier.
Being a level 3 with Paths to Quality enables STEAM to become part of the state’s On My Way Pre-K program. This ensures that kids who come from low income families have access to education options. The 40 new spots STEAM will be able to provide will be part of this program.
"We get to positively impact families in so many ways," said Pastor Bradford.
Soon they will get to impact lives even more with a new expansion
"The old Payless here on US 231 is being renovated right now,” he said. “Eleven classrooms are going to be created there, a playplace, other ways that STEAM is going to expand more than double its current footprint."
The STEAM expansion will be part of River City Church’s new community center. A place that Bradford hopes will bring up the rest of this part of the community.
“We have had a vision at River City Church of really building up this part of town and we think this community center will help do that,” he said.
They hope the new addition, on top of the grant, will help put our next generation on a path for success
"It means we get to impact lives for the rest of their lives," he said.
STEAM early registration for fall 2019 opens in February. You can find more information on their website. They hope to have the community center finished and ready for public use by May.
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