United Way Funds Lorain Preschool Initiative
For years, Lorain City Schools has earned failing grades on its district report cards. In an effort to stem the tide, United Way of Lorain County plans to invest some $300,000 over three years in a preschool collaborative.
The money will be used for a number of pre-K initiatives including outreach to families about the importance of a preschool education, increasing the number of high quality preschool spots in Lorain, and better preparing early learners for kindergarten. It’s all part of the Rising Titans Community Collaborative which includes Lorain City Schools, Lorain County Community College and three other local preschool groups serving city residents.
Christine Matusik-Plas is Director of Community Impact with the Lorain County United Way. She says the organization would also like to provide help to parents who choose not to enroll their kids in preschool.
“We can put on programs that will help those home care providers, get those kids ready, with just the things that are in the house already. Using, 'what’s in the kitchen?' You can use that as a learning tool.”
United Way says it expects to renew funding for the collaborative through the next 10 years. Matusik-Plas says it’s an investment that will reduce education costs in the long run.
“There’s some discussion that a dollar spent in ages birth through 5 on early learning saves $6 as you go forward on the older end. Maybe that dollar -- birth through 5 -- equals maybe $7 in the middle school environment. So we know that preparing early learners to stay on grade level w/their peers prevents very costly interventions going forward.”
United Way estimates about 30% of preschool-aged children in the city of Lorain attend a highly rated preschool program.