Garden City’s Preschool the Idaho Way collaborative, led by Giraffe Laugh, hosted a small gathering July 30 to tell their supporters about the fantastic work they’re doing to expand access to high-quality preschool for local families.
Giraffe Laugh is partnering with the Boys & Girls Club, Family Advocates, the Garden City Public Library, Future Public School and Learning Lab to expand access to high-quality early learning opportunities in Garden City, where there are currently only about 260 spaces available in child care and preschool centers to accommodate the city’s 630 children under age 5.
Beyond the challenge of simply finding open spaces, affordability is a barrier for many families. In some areas of Garden City, the poverty rate is as high as 27%. ALICE families – those who are working but struggle to afford necessities such as housing, food and health care – run into the issue of making too much to qualify for aid or scholarships but not enough to access high-quality care. Giraffe Laugh programs are dedicated to addressing that gap.
The Garden City collaborative hopes to build on an existing partnership between the Boys & Girls Club and Future Public School, which provide before- and after-school care for children most in need by prioritizing the Garden City zip code. Giraffe Laugh hopes to begin offering preschool for siblings of the school-age children already in those programs, and for other income-eligible children in the city.
The collaborative counts local government among its biggest advantages, with wide support for early childhood education among voters and elected officials, including Garden City Mayor John Evans.