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Louisville Metro looks for ways to boost learning for kids 5 and under

The multi-level playground at Waterfront Park
Photo by J. Tyler Franklin
The multi-level playground at Waterfront Park

Louisville Metro Government is looking for ways to use federal pandemic relief funds to boost early childhood education. The city has $7.5 million to spend on learning initiatives for kids ages 5 and under.

“This $7.5 million dollars can do, hopefully, some great things,” Louisville Metro Director of Early Childhood Development Leanne French said during an information session earlier this month. “We would love to see some innovative ideas, and we also know that we want this to be an investment in the future for Louisville’s children.”

Organizations can apply for the funding from the city through Dec. 6.

French said equity was of “particular importance” in any proposal, and that applicants should find ways to support Black and Brown families, low-income families, and families who do not speak English as their first language. These families, French said, were “disproportionately impacted by COVID.”

Additionally, French said the city is particularly interested in proposals that create or improve outdoor “natural areas for play.”

French said outdoor play spaces can support social-emotional learning, cognitive growth and motor skills among young children.

Nonprofits and certain for-profit organizations can submit their proposals on Louisville Metro’s online procurement portal.

The money is part of the $388 million the city received from Congress through the American Rescue Plan Act — federal funding meant to aid local governments’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Louisville officials decided to spend the bulk of the pandemic relief funds on affordable housing, libraries and neighborhood youth programming.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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