Hooray for Pre-K and Bartholomew County! July 14, 2017 Cheryl TylerPre-K 1 Comment by Cheryl Tyler, Outreach Coordinator Congratulations to Bartholomew County on becoming one of the newest On My Way Pre-K counties added to the program! Governor Holcomb announced the addition of Bartholomew along with 14 other counties last month. HARD WORK PAYS OFF The Bartholomew County Early Learning Coalition worked for years in hopes that pre-K would be coming to the Columbus area. They logged many hours of advocacy, phone calls, emails, and conversations. It looks like those efforts have finally paid off! In addition to the Coalition, many other organizations have also been championing this cause in a variety of ways. Many hosted informational meetings, spoke to their local representatives, and reached out to parents and professionals throughout the county. Thanks to the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, Bartholomew County Schools, Bartholomew County Early Childhood professionals, and many others for their hard work as well. CHILD CARE ANSWERS’ SMALL ROLE IN THE BIG PRE-K JOB Crystal Givens, our Director of Programs, and I contribute as members on the Early Learning Coalition. We provide data and information to help the Coalition access the county needs, as well as what the county has to offer. I also took part in an phone outreach initiative with other Coalition members. We called each child care provider in the county, engaging them on their views about becoming an On My Way Pre-K county and provider. I’m happy to report that nearly all of the providers I phoned were thrilled about this opportunity for Bartholomew County. As Outreach Coordinator, I have also spoken with many area businesses about the potential for On My Way Pre-K in their county. At first, the conversations focused on the what and why of early childhood experiences. There is a need for state-funded pre-K, and early childhood education matters to our communities. After the Coalition and its partners completed much of its work, the questions began to center around when, where, and why not Bartholomew County? They were right! Why not Bartholomew County? The pre-K future looks very bright for our friends in the Columbus area. Child Care Answers will continue to support their needs and the professional development of their Early Childhood educators. I am very eager to see On My Way Pre-K up-and-running in Bartholomew County.