The no-cost preschool, which will allow a projected 120 students to participate in the half-day classes, comes from the recent approval of a community partnership plan by the Hamilton Board of Education.
Partnerships among Butler County Education Service Center, Butler County United Way, Hamilton Community Foundation, and The Presbyterian Church of Hamilton, will allow about 120 local children to attend preschool.
The new will program will offer free tuition and transportation to the morning and afternoon class sessions.
“I commend our board of education members for having the vision to help eliminate two major barriers of preschool for young children in our community — tuition costs and transportation,” Hamilton Schools Superintendent Tony Orr said.
The four elementary school locations are: Bridgeport, Fairwood, Linden and Ridgeway. A new, fifth location — at the Hamilton Early Learning Center at The Presbyterian Church at 23 Court Street — will also be opened for preschool.
Through the collaborative effort, children who live within the boundaries of Hamilton City Schools and who are 4 years old by Aug. 1 may be eligible for the free program.
“An initiative like this is exactly the kind of project that our organization likes to be involved in,” said Mag Baker, President and CEO of Butler County United Way. “It aligns perfectly with our vision to help individuals and families achieve their potential through education, income stability, and health lives.”
“This collaboration between the school district and community organizations will create a synergy that will benefit our community as a whole. I’m excited to see what the future effect will be,” she said.
Suzanne Prescott, Early Childhood Programs Director at the Butler County Educational Service Center, agreed.
“The Butler County Educational Service Center is excited to be part of this collaboration and to give 120 more children in Hamilton the chance to succeed in kindergarten,” she said.
“Birth to five is a very important time in their lives when 90 percent of the brain develops. We are able to focus on the whole child and family to prepare both for the important next steps into school,” Prescott said.
And John Guidugli, president and CEO of the Hamilton Community Foundation, said, “the foundation has a rich history of investing in educational opportunities from preschool to college. We are excited to be part of this collaborative effort to provide a quality preschool experience for children in our community.”
Cindy Dingeldein, chair of trustees at The Presbyterian Church said the downtown church “looks forward to being a supportive partner to other non-profit organizations that support our church’s mission.”