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Advancement Grant Helps Child Care Provider Enhance Learning

Muriel Grigsby’s Early Academy Childcare is buzzing with activity on a rainy afternoon. In one area, children gather around a large sensory table, digging through colorful kinetic sand and using alphabet molds to shape letters. Across the room, two girls are making animals at a mobile play dough station featuring homemade scented dough. Soon it’s circle time and Muriel rolls a large dry erase board to the front of the room to use to help reinforce that day’s learning concept, numeral identification. The class considers pretend food items and decides as a group how much each item should cost. Later, the children will take their imaginative play to the classroom grocery store and role play as shopper and cashier, stocking shelves and counting laminated play money.


The high-quality learning resources that make these activities possible were purchased with funds from Early Learning Indiana’s Closing the Gap Advancement Grant and have made an enormous impact on the classroom. “I’m very grateful for the grant money I received. The funds have allowed me to completely transform my existing classroom space and provide many more educational opportunities for the kids,” said Muriel. “Having Early Learning Indiana invest in me lets me invest even more in my kids.”


ELI’s Closing the Gap Advancement Grants are designed to support Paths to QUALITYTM level advancement for providers at Levels 1 and 2. Awardees received $5,000 to use for classroom materials, curriculum, training or staffing hours to cover training that supports advancement. In Muriel’s case, Early Academy Childcare moved from a PTQ Level 2 to a PTQ Level 3, thanks in large part to the resources and curriculum materials purchased with grant funds. Early Academy Childcare is one of few licensed home day cares in Rossville and, as of this September, will offer full-day preschool to children ages 3 and up.


“I would not have been able to purchase all of these materials on my own,” Muriel said. “The kids love the play dough station, and it gives them the chance to develop their physical, cognitive, language and social-emotional skills. We use it in so many creative ways — we’ve put everything from slime to cooked noodles in it! The possibilities of imaginative play are endless.”


A new storage bookcase in Muriel’s office area neatly displays books, art supplies and educational manipulatives. While not quite as exciting to the preschool set as slime, storage resources purchased with grant funds allow Muriel to repurpose the space for small group activities and ensure that supplies are organized and easily accessible.


Most importantly, receiving grant funds made Muriel feel inspired and supported in her work. “I feel confident in my teaching ability, and having the resources to back that up definitely helps with a feeling of excitement for this profession,” she said. “I have worked with kids for more than 25 years and I have a renewed sense of passion in my career as a licensed family child care provider because of this grant. I am happy. Not every child care provider can say that and truly mean it.”


Find out more about Early Academy Childcare at 

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