TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – As the summer winds down, more southern Arizona families now have the chance to enroll kids in preschool and child care for free.
The Pima Early Education Program, also known as “PEEP,” is looking to help more children start their education early. In Pima County parents have more than 170 places to choose from.
Nicole Scott, manager of Pima County’s Pima Early Education Program, said this program is beneficial because children need to learn at a young age and childcare is so expensive nationwide.
“Brain development starts from birth to age 5. Those are the years these kids need those connections. Those are the years they need those high-quality experiences. So us coming in and being able to support families and being able to support children in these three different settings is incredibly important and it’s an incredible program,” Scott said.
Childcare is one of the biggest expenses a family can face. Data shows the cost of annual childcare is more expensive than a four-year public university in Arizona. That comes out to about $11,000 per year.
The new program helps families save thousands of dollars. Last year 850 kids were helped. Those children were in preschool and child care at local school districts, child care centers and family home-based providers.
Scholarships for this year are now available to families with incomes up to 300% of the federal poverty level which is equal to about $83,000 for a family of four.
To learn about these opportunities, contact your local school district, child care center, or family child care provider. If you need help finding a quality preschool or child care provider that offers these free and discounted opportunities, call Child Care Resource & Referral’s Child Care Information Line at 1-800-308-9000, or search CCR&R’s website at www.azccrr.com.
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