CINCINNATI, Ohio — The Pandemic Support Payment Grant is helping many childcare facilities across Ohio like Nature with Nurture Preschool and Day School here in Cincinnati stay open while reducing class and ratio sizes.
Like many childcare programs, Nature with Nurture had to overcome a number of challenges. Owner Queshell Redmond says one of the biggest— reducing the teacher to child ratios.
“It was the most daunting responsibility I have had since I opened,” said Redmond. “How do you tell which parents that they can't come?”
Redmond had to go from being at full capacity before the pandemic to operating at less than 40 percent. Despite the setback, she decided to come up with a game plan to tackle the situation.
“At first it was daunting and it was scary,” she said. “It was how am I going to find care for two days, opposed to five days, and we looked at it as a perspective as we are in this together on how best to fit everyone's needs as opposed to just singling out certain people.”
And then, after the shutdown and reworking her entire business, she heard the state was going to help. Governor Mike DeWine allocated $60 million toward the Pandemic Support Payment Grant. This grant helps childcare facilities that want to operate at lower teacher to children ratio stay open.
“With that grant, we were able to still stay afloat,” said Redmond. “We were able to obtain new staffing for those new requirements, per the pandemic rules of opening childcare which, to me, is the best, best scenario, ever, because now we are ensuring safety.”
4C For Children CEO and President Vanessa Freytag says that 40 percent of daycare programs are expected to close during the pandemic.
“We can't have 20, 30, 40 percent of our childcare programs close their doors,” said Freytag. “If we do, you can imagine the ripple effect, not only on our economy because parents need their children to go to a safe and appropriate place, but there's also sort of a second ripple that will happen, which is children then will not have the grounding they need ultimately to be kindergarten ready.”
Nature with Nurture is just one of dozens of other programs in Ohio to receive funding from this grant.
“With all of the information that's been flooded by 4C and Hamilton County, we feel like we are more successful doing it than if we wouldn't have had that support.”
For more information on how to apply for this grant, visit OCCRRA.org.