The United Way SEI has received $20,000 from Idaho Future Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation for preschool scholarships for children in American Falls.

This funding will further the already under way efforts in American Falls to ensure that every child in American Falls will have the opportunity and access to high quality early learning programs that meet their family’s needs.

“We are extremely grateful to receive this funding from the Idaho Community Foundation,” said Felice Otero, director of ImPACT East Idaho at United Way of Southeastern Idaho.
“This grant makes up one third of the preschool scholarships for American Falls, providing students and families that have limited financial resources the ability to participate in high quality programs that will have lifelong benefits.”
Data shows that families and children living in rural areas and the low-income families and households where English is not the primary language face additional barriers to Idaho’s challenges in accessing quality early learning programs.

“At ICF, we understand that the first few years of a child’s life are the most formative, and access to quality preschool programing is an essential building block for their future success,” said Lisa Bearg, senior philanthropic advisor for the Idaho Community Foundation.
“Investments like this will create a stronger Idaho, and we are proud of this partnership with the United Way.”
The American Falls early learning collaborative was established in 2019 with funding from the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children.

In 2020, the goal was set to increase the number of quality preschool seats in American Falls by 30. The total increase that year was 74 additional quality preschool seats - more than doubling the number of quality preschool spots available. Currently, the number of quality preschool seats is at 140 total.

The early learning collaborative now has a network of programs that provide children with opportunities to be ready and excited for classroom learning. For example, the district’s “Read Talk Play Everyday” initiative was designed to help parents understand the importance of their role in developing the cognitive, social and emotional skills their children will need to be successful in school and life.

The United Way of Southeastern Idaho has also started expanding “Read Talk Play Everyday” to Pocatello/Chubbuck in 2022.