Educational Service District 112 will expand services to reach more preschoolers thanks to a grant from the Department of Early Learning. The $1.1 million grant will allow ESD 112 to serve an additional 108 preschool children in Clark, Klickitat and Pacific Counties. ESD 112 purchased the former Hough Pool property located at 1801 Esther Street in Vancouver. Work has begun to transform the former pool site into an Early Learning Center serving ECEAP children and families, where some of the students will attend preschool.

This opportunity is very exciting,” said Hough Foundation Executive Director Barbara Hammon “It’s been our vision to assist in providing early education at Hough and a dream to have children back in that space. Everything is coming together to make that happen. It’s a match made in heaven!” she added.

The slots for local children are part of a statewide expansion of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP. This high quality preschool serves low-income children who are 3 through 5 years old but not yet eligible for Kindergarten.

Early education is a key focus of the three partners, including ESD 112, the Hough Foundation and Vancouver Public Schools. ESD will operate the program on the Hough site, and VPS will provide hot lunches and share the playground space at Hough Elementary.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Vancouver Public Schools and the Hough Foundation to provide critical services for young children who would not otherwise be able to attend preschool,” said Superintendent Tim Merlino. “We are committed to early learning and this partnership will greatly benefit our community,” he added.

The Legislature allocated about $13 million to add 1,350 ECEAP slots for the 2014-15 school year as part of an ongoing effort to serve all eligible children by 2019. The state Department of Early Learning received 35 applications from providers, such as school or education service districts, for the new slots. Through this award, ESD 112 is also providing services to children at additional new locations in partnership with New Life Friends Church at the Lord’s Gym in Vancouver, with Country Friends Child Care and Preschool program in Hockinson and through Southwest Washington Child Care Consortium’s Image Elementary site.