SKC childcare center awarded major grant
By Lailani Upham
SKC Childcare Center located on the east end of campus provides care for students and non-students from ages two to 12 years of age. They also offer a Parent Exchange program that allows a parent to volunteer for an hour and receive four hours off their monthly bill. (Courtesy photo)
PABLO — Salish Kootenai College Childcare Center was awarded $299,495 per year for the next four years to prepare preschool and high school students to the achieve academic readiness to the next level of kindergarten and college.
The Demonstration Grant for Indian Children from the Office of Indian Education is a competitive program that supports projects to develop, test and show improvement in educational opportunities and achievements for Indian children.
“I am particularly proud that we ranked number three out of the 12 projects funded among 124 applicants,” stated Joelfre Grant, SKC Childcare Director and Transition Project program manager.
Grant say, the project will provide a comprehensive preschool using a high scope curriculum at the SKC Childcare Center.
The Transition Project will be offered to Two Eagle River School freshman students that will carry through to their senior year, explains Grant.
The project will serve 40 preschool children and 30 high school students.
Research studies from Hart and Risley that was conducted over a decade reports that children of low-income families hear on average 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers before the age of four. This leads to language deficit and low literacy. The report adds that the child’s listening vocabulary is around 3,000 words, while a child of middle-income families enter kindergarten with a listening vocabulary of 20,000 words.
According to Grant, there will be a College Ready Coach guiding students at TERS to increase graduation rates and college readiness with an intense one-on-one mentoring model.
The high school goal of graduating an increased amount of students will include a curriculum to support dual enrollment in the math and science disciplines with individual students matching their academic pace, says Grant.
The preschool slots will be first priority SKC student parents and with remaining spots, enrollment will be open to the community.
The grant will pay for selected preschool students either for a morning or afternoon session.
The preschool component will implement culturally appropriate active learning high scope curriculum program for three and four-year old children to prepare them for successful entry into kindergarten.
There will be two key teacher mentors for the preschool children for both afternoon and morning classes.
According to the Office of Indian Education, five competitive preference priority points are awarded to applications that present a plan for combining both activities of the absolute priorities for more than one year. An additional five competitive points are awarded to applications submitted by an Indian tribe, Indian organization or Indian institution of higher education, including a consortium of any of these entities with other eligible entities.
SKC Childcare Center is the only entity awarded in Montana.
For more information on the Transition Project and/or to apply for enrollment of your child, please contact Joelfre Grant, SKC Childcare Director at (406) 675-8475.