Hilltop is now an On My Way to Pre-K site!

July 31, 2019 / 5 mins read

Wonderful news to share! Hilltop has been named an On My Way Pre-K site for Indiana!

On My Way Pre-K is a pilot program administered through the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning under the direction of the Family and Social Services Administration. This pilot program is one component of a larger vision to improve the lives of children and families in our state.

On My Way Pre-K provides grants for 4-year-olds from low-income families, so they may have access to high-quality pre-k programs the year before they begin kindergarten. The program is flexible and is built around the needs of families, offering options for full-day or partial-day programs. Families can also choose to use the program only during the school year or they can continue through the summer.

A little history: On My Way Pre-K is an extension and expansion of previous efforts to provide high-quality early learning programs for children in the state of Indiana. In 2013, the Indiana Legislature set aside $2 million to pilot Indiana’s first publicly funded early education program, the Early Education Matching Grant (EEMG) program. The EEMG was administered from 2014 through 2016, with many successful outcomes that informed future policy making initiatives.

The goals of the EEMG were:
To provide high-quality early learning programs for 4-year-old children of families with incomes lower than 100% of the federal poverty level throughout Indiana.

To evaluate the success of these initial efforts to inform future investments On My Way Pre-K began serving low-income children and families in 2015 in five pilot counties: Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh. On My Way Pre-K provides free access to high quality pre-k programs for 4-year olds in low-income families earning less than 127% of the federal poverty level. The On My Way Pre-K pilot was funded with $10 million from the state’s General Fund, along with a 10% match from each participating county.

In June 2017, Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) announced that 15 additional Indiana counties are now eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K. The expansion also merged the EEMG program into the On My Way Pre-K pilot. In 2019, the entire state became eligible, all counties. But centers must qualify too.

The children participating in On My Way Pre-K are among some of the most educationally needy students in the state. These children started off with lower skill levels than their peers. After participating in the On My Way Pre-K program, the children gained skills at a higher rate than their peers. Most of these differences were statistically significant.

These gains include key aspects of school readiness, such as:

  • Language comprehension
  • Early literacy
  • Executive functioning
  • Reduction in behavior problems in the classroom

The On My Way Pre-K pilot also impacts families in a positive way, by allowing parents or guardians to continue their employment or educational efforts.

The following are some of the benefits:

  • 51% of parents or guardians were able to increase work or school hours.
  • 35% were able to obtain new employment.
  • 33% were able to begin school or job training.

The data shows that On My Way Pre-K has the potential to improve children’s early learning skills and readiness for kindergarten, while also improving the lives of low income families.

Hilltop is proud to be a new partner with On My Way Pre-K!

Spaces are limited and on a first come first served basis.