Grant provides childcare assistance. education support

A recent grant awarded to Preschool to Professional Partnership from the Oregon Community Foundation is targeted at improving early childhood education. The $17,000 grant will support evidence-based education for preschool children at Giggles & Grace Learning Center as well as career-readiness experiences for Treasure Valley Community College students beginning in January.

Preschool to Professional Partnership is a partnership between Giggles & Grace and TVCC’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program aimed at providing high-quality education for preschool children and ECE training for college students.
In addition to classroom and student support, the grant will provide childcare assistance for current TVCC students. Ten preschool/childcare slots are available at a reduced tuition rate and any TVCC student is eligible to apply for assistance. Applications are being accepted on a first-come basis.

Shawn Reynolds, Executive Director at Giggles & Grace, said the new project will serve preschool aged children and their families, post-secondary college students and employers in Malheur County. “This partnership unites the organizational mission of G&G and TVCC to best serve our students and the community at large. We are excited to provide simultaneous educational opportunities for parents and children while helping meet the demand for qualified teachers in early childhood education. It's a win-win for everyone.”

Reynolds adds that Malheur County, and the entire state, has a shortage of qualified early childhood educators. Giggles & Grace will use the grant to open a new classroom designed to promote a quality learning environment for preschool students. Additional funds will enable the Giggles & Grace to also provide education and support to the families of the children enrolled, such as parent nights, family activities, and family education.

Suzanne Bolyard, TVCC ECE Department Chair, said this project will directly benefit ECE students at the college by providing in-classroom and hands-on learning. “This grant will provide the opportunity for at least four college students to train and develop skills to be hired as an early childhood education professional.”

Bolyard added that evaluation of this project will be key to ensuring the goals are being met. “This project will be evaluated on a monthly basis to ensure the preschool children are being prepared for kindergarten through individual evaluations.”

TVCC ECE students will work directly with a preschool mentor teacher and practicum supervising instructor and will be evaluated weekly to make sure they are successful. TVCC students will also earn hours to satisfy educational and practicum requirements needed for the National Child Development Associate Certificate.

The OCF award is for a three-year grant and the Preschool to Professional Partnership may seek additional funding in year two and three.

For more information about preschool tuition assistance, contact Shawn Reynolds at Giggles & Grace Early Learning Center at (541) 889-6141.