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Connecticut College Children's Program awarded $500k state grant

NEW LONDON, Conn. - The Connecticut College Children's Program has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education to support its inclusive pre-school program. With this grant, the program will become a model demonstration site that will allow other early childhood practitioners to witness best practice techniques in a setting that includes children with disabilities.

"This is an opportunity for the Connecticut College Children's Program to support our partners in the early childhood world - 'Birth to Three' providers, local public preschool programs and private and public programs for children and their families," Dr. Kathryn O'Connor, director of the program, said.

The program provides a model early childhood curriculum for infants and young children of diverse backgrounds and abilities in southeastern Connecticut. The child-centered, play-based study and development setting is central to the College's academic curriculum, providing hands-on experience for students as well as opportunities for student and faculty research. Last year, the program earned reaccreditation through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and was endorsed as an approved Private Special Education Program by the State of Connecticut Bureau of Special Education.

The grant, which will provide $100,000 to the program each year over a period of five years, will enhance training and educational opportunities for program staff, support partnerships with other agencies and programs and provide opportunities to share best practices for working with children from a variety of backgrounds, ability levels and socio-economic groups.

The Connecticut College Children's Program enrolls approximately 90 preschool children, including 20 who meet specific income guidelines and whose tuition is largely covered by a state Department of Education School Readiness Grant. In addition, the program serves preschool-aged children with special needs whose local boards of education pay tuition, speech, occupational therapy and physical therapy costs associated with education. A 'Birth to Three' program for toddlers with developmental challenges adds to the inclusive environment and developmental setting.

About Connecticut College

Situated on the coast of southern New England, Connecticut College is a highly selective private liberal arts college with 1900 students from all across the country and throughout the world. On the college's 750-acre arboretum campus overlooking Long Island Sound, students and faculty create a vibrant social, cultural and intellectual community enriched by diverse perspectives. The college, founded in 1911, is known for its unique combination of interdisciplinary studies, international programs, funded internships, student-faculty research and service learning.

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January 14, 2009