Middlebury preschool receives grant to expand program

Kim Miller and LaDonna Wright are working on building math skills with the children. 

MIDDLEBURY — A Middlebury preschool was one of three early care and education providers across the state recently awarded grant funding to expand its program.

Early Learning Indiana, a statewide nonprofit organization, on Thursday, awarded a total of $208,250 to support the creation of 138 permanent seats in Elkhart, Howard and Lake counties.

In Elkhart County, a $61,500 grant was awarded to the Little Saints Preschool and Childcare Ministry. The grant will be used to create 24 new, permanent spots for infants and toddlers. Funding will also be used to improve the facility and to purchase additional classrooms materials.

“We are merging two separate small classrooms into one large classroom by removing an existing wall,” said LaDonna Wright, executive director of Little Saints. “We also have two additional classrooms (currently being used as storage) which will be able to add more open childcare slots once the renovations are made and new materials and supplies are purchased.”

Little Saints is a not-for-profit daycare ministry that provides all-day care for infants aged six weeks through pre-kindergarten children. Before and after school care and school-age summer camp is also available.

Wright said she’s excited about the grant, adding that it will not only be an asset to the preschool, but also the Middlebury community.

“We always have a long wait list and using this grant to open new classrooms and hire new staff will help us serve the community better and have more available openings for them,” she said.

Want to help? Monetary and material donations can be made to the school, located at 708 Wayne St. Below, is a list of items the preschool could really use:

• Dramatic play items, such as dress-up clothes, multi-cultural items (dolls, playsets, etc.)

• Math/Science/STEM Items, such as scales, counting sets with pattern cards, measuring cup sets, geodes, magnifying glasses, magnets, x-rays, lightboxes with exploration activities, safety goggles, and microscopes.

Through the capacity building grants, which are made possible by funding from the Lilly Endowment, Early Learning Indiana has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to early learning programs across the state and has helped create more than 1,300 new high-quality seats for Hoosier children since 2015. 

The other two grant recipients were the Community Preschool and Childcare in Hammond and the Kokomo School Corporation in Kokomo. 

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