Amount Requested: $9,450 for Building Stronger Preschools to Build Stronger Communities
Mission: Infant & Toddler Connection provides early intervention supports and services (physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, service coordination, etc.) to infants and toddlers from birth through the third birthday who are not developing as expected or who have a medical condition that can delay normal development. It is the goal of Augusta County Preschool Program to provide a comprehensive preschool experience for at risk children and their family. This high quality preschool experience encourages each child to develop the skills necessary to be engaged, successful learners in school. This preschool program is inclusive of children with identified disabilities allowing children to attend their community school with typically developing peers.
Constituents Served: Infant and Toddler Connection serves children ages birth to the 3rd birthday who meet one or more of the following criteria: demonstrates a 25% delay in one or more developmental area (cognitive, gross motor, communication, etc), has a diagnosed disabling condition which puts the child at risk for developmental delays, or shows atypical development in sensory-motor responses or social-emotional development. ITCA-H served 131 children during 2015. Augusta County Preschool Program: Two hundred fifty-eight children were being served at the end of the 14-15 school year. Two hundred thirteen four year old students and forty five three year old students.
Program Overview: We seek to create access for young children with identified disabilities to attend community preschools that had previously been unattainable for the children and families due to (1) the disability of their child, and (2) the financial resources available to the families. Each of the 11 elementary schools within the Augusta County Public Schools (ACPS) maintains an inclusive preschool classroom which enrolls and serves three- and four-year old children and their families with the greatest risk factors for school success, including those with identified disability. The developmental difference between two-year olds and four-years old is significant, and these classrooms are not appropriate placements for our community’s two-year olds.
After identifying barriers based on disabilities and creating solutions to remove those barriers, partners identified the financial resources of the families as a significant barrier to participation. ACPS, ITCA-H, along with their multiple community partners, propose utilizing this grant to offer a combination of full and partial scholarships to families based on federal poverty guidelines. Once partnerships are established, it is the hope of Augusta County Public Schools that community partners will find the benefits of collaborating with the school system to be worthy of providing annual tuition scholarships for two-year olds with disabilities in their centers. Having an opportunity to develop and document success of this project will allow us to apply for additional grants and to seek additional community support.
Current Operating Budget: $376,222