LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College has been selected to receive a $55,553 grant from the United States Department of Education to help low-income, Pell-eligible students with subsidized child care at KinderCollege on campus.
The grant is part of the DOE’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program. The grant funds became available on Oct. 1 and the grant will be reviewed on a yearly basis for renewal for up to four years. This DOE program supports low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based child care services.
The grant is a win-win for the college in terms of helping both Pell Grant students and students in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) program. Nearly half of LC State students qualify as low income and receive Pell Grants. The DOE grant means they will receive a 25 percent fee reduction at KinderCollege. Students who are also eligible for the Idaho Child Care Program (ICCP) will receive another 25 percent off. Along with helping reduce child care costs, the DOE grant allows LC State to enhance its curriculum by having students in the college’s ECD program be involved at KinderCollege.
“This is a grant that we’ve had our eye on because of all the good it does for our students,” said Julie Crea, LC State’s vice president for finance and administration.
Crea was part of an LC team that included Erika Allen, LC State Foundation executive director; Traci Birdsell, senior director of educational opportunity grant programs; and Alicia Robertson and Darcy Kincaid, both faculty in the ECD program, who worked on the grant. The goal was to help Pell Grant students with their college expenses and to create a partnership with KinderCollege and the ECD program, which would help with accreditation.
Located on the LC State campus, KinderCollege provides child care, from ages 6 weeks to 6 years old, to students, faculty/staff and the community. Capacity in the program is normally around 50 children.
LC State students who take 12 or more credits already receive a $100 a month discount at KinderCollege and the new grant could mean another discount of as much as $134 per month with ICCP parents receiving an additional discount off of the unmet need.
Crea says the grant will provide for evening and weekend hours each semester during mid-terms and finals in addition to the normal year round child care services.
About 65 percent of the grant funding will go to subsidizing the child care costs. The remainder of the funding will be used to help with management of the program, update curriculum and assessment tools, pay for professional development and certification to enhance skill sets of the lead teachers and program director, to purchase technology tools that allow the KinderCollege staff to have higher engagement with parents, and acquire accreditation for the program.
At LC State, the ECD program provides three semesters of practicum in the AAS degree. Students are required to complete 360 total hours at an approved practicum site that meets the standards of high-quality care and education.
“The ECD program is looking forward to partnering with KinderCollege as an instructional learning lab for local students, where instructors can serve as models and mentors for on-site skill development,” Robertson said. “Students will have the opportunity to practice skills in the areas of: observation and assessment, curriculum planning, positive classroom management, and family partnerships. This partnership with KinderCollege will provide students the opportunity to experience first-hand the knowledge and skills that will provide the foundation for them to become effective and intentional teachers of young children.”
In addition, Robertson said this partnership between the ECD program and KinderCollege will be of benefit to the online students enrolled in the program as well. With the use of teaching videos to accompany course content from a live lab setting, online students will have the opportunity to see best teaching practices within the classroom. This will provide an alternative delivery of course content to meet the diverse learning styles of students.
For more information on the grant, contact Crea at [email protected].