INDIANAPOLIS - Early Learning Indiana has awarded a total of $45,000 to five organizations.  The funding is part of the Infant & Toddler Access Challenge, supported by Indiana's Preschool Development Grant, which works to support care services for children. 

Early Learning Indiana received 34 submissions from organizations, teams and individuals statewide that include recommendations to address administration, physical operations, and staffing issues in infant and toddler care.

The solutions were evaluated on their level of innovation, feasibility for implementation and replication, and sustainability in Indiana communities of all sizes. 

“Early Learning Indiana was proud to host this competition and support the state’s bold effort to engage new voices and identify fresh solutions to this complicated problem,” said Early Learning Indiana President and Chief Executive Officer Maureen Weber. “We know that it will take more than traditional approaches to disrupt the fundamental challenges of providing safe, effective and affordable infant and toddler care. By bringing those most involved in this work to the table, along with unusual suspects to the early learning field, we can harness the innovation that exists in our communities.”

The five recipients are:

  • Monroe County Community School Corp., Bloomington $15,000 for micro centers operated on-site for employers through a single provider
  • Fayette County Early Learning Coalition, Connersville $10,000 for shared services for multiple providers to reduce the cost of managing staffing and enrollment
  • Meisha Wide and Shellye Suttles, Indianapolis $10,000 for a co-working space that provides near or on-site care for parents with flexible schedules 
  • Cathleen Nine-Altevogt, Carmel $5,000 for care centers in non-traditional locations such as retirement communities and low-cost retail spaces
  • Yvonne Abel, Hobart $5,000 for a senior partner model to recruit and train retired volunteers to supplement staff

Early Learning Indiana says it will share a report on the winning ideas from Infant & Toddler Access Challenge Learning and best practices from across the national landscape later this year.