Grant opens more preschool slots

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Early Childhood Council will increase the number of preschool programs available to children thanks to a federal grant.

Jill Mahoney, executive director of the Naugatuck Early Childhood Collaborative, told the Board of Education last week that the council received enough funds through the U.S. Department of Education’s Preschool Development Grant to pay for an additional 43 preschool slots for children.

The preschool slots will mean the district will add three more preschool classes, which will all be part of the federal School Readiness Program, next school year. The three classrooms will be located at the Naugatuck YMCA, Salem Community Childcare Center and the Prospect Daycare, Mahoney said.

“This is high quality preschool education,” Mahoney said.

This is the first time the borough has received the grant, Mahoney said.

The slots will be given to children whose families might not be able to afford preschool on their own, Mahoney said. She said the classes are going to be open to 4-year-olds whose parents make below 200 percent of the poverty level.

“There are no parent fees, so this is an absolutely free preschool program for children that fit within these parameters,” Mahoney said.