On My Way Pre-K is a program administered through the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning under the direction of the Family and Social Services Administration. This 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.
Eligible families may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program. Approved programs may be located in a public or private school, licensed child care center, licensed family home, or registered ministry, as long as the program meets the eligibility requirements and is registered as an On My Way Pre-K provider.
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. Previously, the two programs operated separately. Providers who participated in the 2016 – 2017 Early Education Matching Grant program are automatically eligible as providers in the On My Way Pre-K program, starting in the fall of 2018.
In May 2019, Governor Eric J Holcomb signed legislation announcing ALL Indiana counties are now eligible to participate in On My Way Pre-K. Programs and families in all counties may participate as long as they meet the current eligibility requirements.
Providers can apply to join the On My Way Pre-K at any time, as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. We would like to offer as may choices as possible for families enrolling in the program.
Families are chosen on a first come-first served basis in the order in which applications are received. There are limited slots available in each county, so families should apply early for best chances. Applications will be accepted until all available slots have been filled.