Indianapolis Schools Starting Major Free Preschool Program

Lauren Williams's picture
Monday, January 7, 2013

Indianapolis Public Schools is launching what it believes will soon be the state’s biggest publicly led preschool effort.

This month, IPS hopes to enroll 1,400 4-year-olds — about half of the district’s 4-year-olds — in free, full-day preschool. The preschool will begin in the fall.

“It’s such a great step forward for the district and our city,” said Ena Shelley, education dean at Butler University and an early childhood education expert. “It’s another way to think about how we can close the gap we often see with children who have not had a strong early childhood foundation when they start school and are far behind.”

The long-discussed program was approved by the IPS school board in October but has been expanded since to include more sites at more schools and at community organizations and private preschools that are partnering with the district. The first-year plan now calls for seven IPS school sites and six community partner sites. In addition, some existing classrooms at IPS schools will add space.

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