Preschool grant

The building that will house the preschool learning center.

WURTLAND Parents of preschoolers in Greenup County soon will have another option for day care with the opening of a school-based center in Wurtland.

The Greenup County School District will operate the center, which will be placed in an existing building between Wurtland Elementary and Wurtland Middle schools.

“We’re providing another resource to reach out to more families and another option for high-quality early childhood education,” district preschool coordinator Melissa Latimer said.

Families will pay a fee on a sliding scale based on income, and low-income families may be eligible under the state Child Care Assistance Program, Latimer said.

The center will be open during the school year only, she said.

The district will move three of its child-care certified workers to staff the center. Learning will be play-centered and comply with state early childhood curriculum standards, Latimer said.

The center also will provide training and support to families, directing them to resources like food and clothing assistance, substance abuse help, medical screenings and other health resources, she said.

Training also will be available to local private day care centers in best practices, she said.

The center, which the district has dubbed the Mini-Musketeer Academy, fills a gap for parents of preschool-age children, Superintendent Traysea Moresea said.

Greenup has universal free preschool at least two days per week for all 4-year-olds and 3-year-olds with disabilities. Some children, depending on needs, are eligible for up to five days a week.

But that leaves a gap for parents, particularly working parents. “This fills the gap,” Moresea said.

The district received a $45,000 state grant to launch the center because its preschool program is recognized by the state as trend-setting, she said.

The grant will pay for materials, licensing fees and other startup costs, which is why families will pay fees, she said.

Originally a fire station, the building already is equipped to handle small children because the district bought it and used it for preschool for several years, Moresea said. It already has restrooms, sinks and other appliances scaled to fit preschoolers, she said.

“This grant continues to show our commitment and belief in the importance of early childhood development. We understand the importance of building a strong foundation to help our children be successful,” Latimer said.

Cleaning and some refurbishment will take place between now and Jan. 1, when the center is scheduled to be ready, she said.

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