CLEVELAND — When it comes to finding the right preschool for your child, it can be a challenge.
We've told you about the struggles parents face to find quality schools and daycares that are also affordable – and have openings.
But now, there are several new options to help parents like Patrice Price.
“It’s just finding that home away from home was difficult, but I found that here,” Price said.
A unique opportunity is being offered for kids and parents like Price in classrooms inside the Salvation Army’s West Park Corps Community Center.
“I’m reassured that my child is safe. She’s being taken care of, she’s not being abused on, she’s being heard, they’re taking their time with her, so I feel comfortable and I’m happy that I found this place,” Price said.
During the pandemic, Case Western Reserve University Associate Professor Rob Fischer said daycares and preschools decreased their capacity, which then led to workers leaving the industry to look for other jobs.
“Then, when centers have been ramping back up over the past year, attracting those folks back to what is ultimately an underpaid profession is very challenging,” said Fischer.
That means there are fewer options for parents, who also are struggling to help their kids close a learning gap that education experts say is widening in part because of the pandemic isolation.
“We noticed that there’s been a communication gap, so a lot of the children now aren’t at the communication level that we expect them to be for 3- to 5-year-olds,” said Greater Cleveland Area Services Learning Zone Director Marketi Robinson.
But now, families have new options available to help families thanks to the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland.
“We’re here to help out in that area. We know there’s a huge need for pre-school education and bridging the gap with kindergarten readiness,” Robinson said.
Currently, the Salvation Army has three locations up and running in Collinwood, Ohio City and West Park.
The organization tells News 5 it has options available to help parents who may not be able to afford it.
“There’s plenty of assistance available, so if somebody can’t get a county voucher, we do offer tuition assistance so we have scholarships available where we can offer a lower payment if parents have to pay out of pocket for a temporary time until they get on their feet, or are able to afford full-time tuition, if not we still have a financial program where it just lowers the rate for a full year,” Robinson said.
The Salvation Army says it will hire more teachers and staff. But right now, it says its primary concern is enrolling more kids.
Anyone who is interested can send Marketi Robinson an email at Marketi.Robinson@use.salvationarmy.org.
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