EEMG: Child and Program Demographics
What is EEMG? The Early Education Matching Grant (EEMG) is Indiana’s first public Pre-K effort. The grant, in its second year, provides an opportunity for eligible low-income four-year olds to attend high quality (Paths to Quality Levels Three or Four) preschool programs across the state. The EEMG was originally a two-year pilot program but the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) and the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning (OECOSL) have funded it for an additional two years.
What Types of Programs are Participating? This year, the EEMG has supported a total of 19 programs spread across 14 counties. These programs started out serving 393 eligible children and had a current enrollment of 372 at the end of March. The majority of this year’s EEMG programs are community-based preschools, although public schools, a Head Start, and a registered ministry are also supported by this year’s grant. Of the 19 enrolled EEMG programs, eight are rated as Level Three Paths to Quality and 11 are rated as Level Four Paths to Quality. Within the 19 participating programs, there are 41 classrooms participating: 24 full-day classrooms serving 208 students and 16 part-day classrooms serving 164 children.
What Types of Children are Participating?To be eligible, children must be Indiana residents, four years of age and families must earn less than 100% of the federal poverty level. The EEMG is serving a diverse group of eligible children this year, many of which are white but several children are also African American, Hispanic/Latino, or two or more races. Of the children participating in the EEMG this year, 12% speak a language other than English, 21% have developmental concerns either expressed by the parent or identified through the need for special education services, and 49% have had prior early education experiences.
Are Children Attending Regularly?Attendance is a critical component of academic success. The mid-year average attendance rate for current EEMG programs is 92%, ranging from 72 to 98 percent. Although overall attendance rates seem high, it is important to look at attendance at the level of the individual child. Children who are absent more than 10% of scheduled school days are considered to be chronically absent. Currently, 29% of EEMG children are chronically absent. When children are not present regularly, they cannot experience the full benefits of school. All early education programs need to continue to explore new, positive strategies for engaging with families who are struggling with attendance. EEMG program directors and teachers participated in a webinar in August that addressed the importance of preschool attendance, introduced a tiered model for approaching and improving attendance, and provided strategies for intervention at each level of the tiered model. To view this webinar, click here and scroll down to “Re-Thinking Pre-K Attendance."