Cleveland PRE4CLE program aims to get more kids into affordable, high-quality preschool

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-26 06:50:39-04

Preschool enrollment is underway in Cleveland, and if you think you can't afford a "high quality" early start, think again. There are options you may not know about.

Amiyah Baskin, of Cleveland, is ready for kindergarten this fall. Her mother cannot believe it’s already time to send her five-year-old off to school.

"I'm so nervous,” smiled Quiana Baskin. “I know I'll cry, but she's so prepared and she's so ready."

Kindergarten readiness is the name of the game for PRE4CLE, a public-private partnership designed to increase the availability of "high-quality" preschool across Cleveland. It also works to increase the quality of programs already in place.

PRE4CLE began in 2014, and the executive director says it's working.

"Since we started, 50 percent more children are enrolled in high-quality preschool,” said Katie Kelly, PRE4CLE Executive Director. "We also have more preschools in 22 of our 33 Cleveland neighborhoods."

There will be preschool recruitment sessions and open houses throughout the summer. Parents are encouraged to attend to find the right fit for their child and family. Find that information here

Outreach is a huge part of PRE4CLE to make more parents aware that there are open seats at high-quality preschools across the city.

"I think a lot of families don't realize that there are free opportunities, opportunities that are very reduced in cost, and lots of different hours and lots of different locations," said Kelly.

Head Start is a PRE4CLE provider. Amiyah attended for two years. There's no charge for families of a certain income level.

"I don't have to work two jobs to be able to pay for childcare, which a lot of people do in this city,” said Baskins. “So, it's free! I wish I could yell it from the mountain top!”

Nelson Mandela said: The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children. Kelly says Cleveland cares, and is working to make a difference.

"It just makes me so happy and proud that she's learning and having fun while doing it and bringing this stuff home,” said Baskins. “It's beautiful!"