Creative Minds Receives $150k Grant to Help At Risk Children

One of Lawrenceburg’s best daycares will soon be receiving funds from a grant to help them offer more enrollment opportunities for at risk children.  Creative Minds Academy, located on US127 towards the north end of the county, applied for and received a grant from the state totaling around $150,000 to add another classroom and provide more facilities for children with disabilities.

According to co-owners Kaitlyn Bates Shewmaker and Emily Hatfield, they want to focus the academy to help the growing number of at risk children, which includes those with disabilities and also from households with incomes below the poverty line.  They have found that the poverty rate is increasing in Anderson County, yet fewer families are utilizing financial assistance from the state.

With the new grant, they will be building an additional classroom, as well as include furnishings, learning materials, and staff assistance/training.  This will let them enroll 15 more at-risk students.

The academy received the grant through both their educational excellence and support from the Anderson County Board of Education.  According to Kaitlyn, full day year-round daycare like what is provided at Creative Minds is proving to be highly effective at preparing children for school.  Facilities like these in the county scored substantially higher in school readiness tests than even public preschools.

Superintendent Sheila Mitchell has also been highly supportive of the grant for Creative Minds.  The grant, which couldn’t be used for the school system’s preschool since they do not accept children from outside the county, was for day cares around the state. Superintendent Mitchell wanted to make sure funding went to help children of Anderson County through Creative Minds.  The Anderson County Board of Education will serve as the fiscal agent for the grant process.

In addition to the new classroom, which both Kaitlyn and Emily expect to be in place by January, they will also be building a special sensory room to help children with disabilities.  They explained that children, particularly those on the autism spectrum, would be highly benefited by a room fitted with a multi sensory environment which will include soft lighting, soothing music, a therapeutic swing, and more.  They are working with an occupational therapist to make the new room as a space for children to unwind and de-stress.

For more information about Creative Minds Academy, check out their Facebook page.

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