NIU preschool program for at-risk kids gets $1.6M state grant
DeKALB – The Child Development and Family Center at Northern Illinois University announced it received a $1.6 million grant from the Illinois State Board of Education.
The grant is meant to help provide funding for 40 preschoolers in DeKalb, according to a news release from the university. The Preschool for All Expansion program increases access to full-day early childhood education and comprehensive services to the most at-risk 4-year-olds.
The grant represents the only Preschool for All Expansion program in the DeKalb County area. While most programs are half-day, NIU’s program is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to the release.
Lisa Schmidt, practicum director for the Child Development and Family Center, said in the release the program provides families with seven hours of free early childhood education for five days per week.
To take part in the program, a child must be 4 and from a family with income at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, the release said. Families do not have to be affiliated with NIU, and the program is inclusive for children with disabilities.