Five Graves Co. schools to start tuition daycare in August; registration, details to be announced by mid- to late April

The Early Eagle Academy Child Care program will be available to families with children younger than school age on a tuition basis with plans to open for the 2017-18 school year in August. The Graves County Board of Education approved the proposal at its March business meeting. Therefore, the project still is in its planning stages. The district is not taking applications at this time. However, administrators will announce application and other details as the program unfolds in coming weeks.

Superintendent Kim Dublin late Friday morning said, “What a tremendous response we already have gotten from people interested in our tuition-based child care at five of our schools, starting this fall! I know that our principals and many others in our district are getting questions about the Early Eagle Academy Child Care program. I know that, because I’m getting those questions, too!”

Dublin explained, “We were not in a position to plan logistics until the board approved the program. We’re pleased that the 5-0 vote indicates the entire board’s support! So, now we make concrete plans! Melissa Bazzell will lead the program. She has extensive education and experience in early childhood learning. She and I will meet next week to organize the process. We will do our best to address the major questions people have been asking last night and this morning.”

The superintendent noted, “Primarily, people want to know about enrolling their children in day care and several adults are interested in employment. Our goal is to provide answers to those questions, establishing an application process for both. We expect to have answers by mid- to late April. Meanwhile, we are grateful for the overwhelming interest!”

Both the daily hours and number of days of the program will be longer than the school day and school calendar That helps meet the needs of many working parents, according to Bazzell. The curriculum will help prepare children for school. The school district will adhere to licensing and regulation, as other child care programs do.

Bazzell told the board Thursday night that among the 2,450 children aged birth to 5 years currently living in Graves County, established child care facilities only meet 23 percent of the need. She explained that funding changes have caused several facilities in Graves County to close in recent years, leaving a void.

The Early Eagle Academy Child Care program initially will serve between 120 and 150 children. It will occupy unused rooms at Fancy Farm, Farmington, Symsonia, and Wingo elementary schools as well as Graves County Middle School.

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