Luthercare for Kids Awarded Pre-K Counts, Early Head Start Grants

Luthercare for Kids learned this past spring that it had received new state and federal dollars to support Early Childhood Education in Lancaster and Lebanon counties. 

Luthercare for Kids Early Learning Programs, with five locations in Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, was awarded 88 full-day spots for the state-funded PA Pre-K Counts program, which serves eligible three- and four-year-olds. The organization also learned that it had received 28 spots for federally-funded Early Head Start, which offers programming to infants and toddlers. Both programs are provided at no cost to the families who qualify.

“These programs provide us with an excellent opportunity to reach the youngest learners and their families, working with them on developmental skills that provide the foundation they need to become lifelong learners,” said Stacy Lewis, Luthercare for Kids Executive Director.

The grants were awarded following Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan to increase spending on the PA Pre-K Counts and Early Head Start programs by $120 million in the 2016 state budget.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is a preschool program that provides funding for preschoolers to attend a high-quality pre-kindergarten class, which gives them a strong early start for kindergarten and grade school. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is funded through the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning which works in partnership with local providers to provide high-quality early learning experiences.

Thanks to the grant, 88 new PA Pre-K Counts full-day classes are now available at Luthercare for Kids centers. The classrooms have certified teachers; use curriculum that helps children grow academically and socially; help parents and their children adjust to pre-kindergarten and smoothly transition on to kindergarten; and offer a small class size to provide plenty of one-on-one time with the teacher. To enroll, families must meet income and residency requirements. 

Meanwhile, Luthercare for Kids also received new Early Head Start grants for its centers in Annville, Columbia, Lancaster and Lebanon for 28 children. Early Head Start is designed to provide free education, health and social services to children who may be at risk of school failure because of income, language or special needs issues. Families earning 100 percent of the federal poverty level or less are eligible to apply. The program provides comprehensive services, including child development, health/nutrition, parent involvement and family activities for children from birth to three years of age.