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Connecticut College Children's Program awarded $23,500 in local grants

NEW LONDON, Conn. - Two local organizations have awarded grants to The Connecticut College Children's Program to support its innovative preschool program. A $16,000 grant from the Frank Loomis Palmer Fund will provide transportation to the program for 10-12 children and provide identified families with a literacy tutor. A $7,500 grant from The Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut will support the Family Literacy Program, which aims to improve literacy in children by providing literacy and educational training and opportunities to the entire family.

"With the help of these generous grants, we are able to provide access to a high-quality early childhood education program to children who would not otherwise attend preschool," Dr. Kathryn O'Connor, director of the program, said. "Our goal is to ensure continuity of attendance for children who are transported to the Children's Center and to improve literacy for both parents and children by helping them discover the joy of reading together." 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. The program, which is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 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.

The Frank Loomis Palmer Fund was established in 1936 to support and promote quality educational, cultural, human services and health care programming for underserved populations. The Palmer Fund specifically serves the people of New London, Conn. The Community Foundation of Southeastern Connecticut was established in 1982 by a small group of community leaders, originally named the Pequot Foundation. The purpose of the Foundation is to foster a more vital, caring community through various partnerships, initiatives and grants. 

April 25, 2011