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State expands funding for Early Childhood Block Grants

A set of wooden blocks spelling the word child
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Programs take place in classroom settings or with the help of home educators.

An increase in funding for early childhood block grants will help families across the state.

Governor JB Pritzker has announced a 54 million dollar increase, which will be used to reach children at risk of academic failure as early as possible.

Lisa Brown administers these grants in southern Illinois. She said the programs focus on helping educate parents and create activities to help ensure kids don't fall behind before they enter school.

"So the parents are right there learning along with the family educator about what they can do with the children. Book reading, finding different kinds of materials in the home they can use for counting, the different kind of things even with babies, just talking to babies," she explained.

Brown said it's critical to reach children and families early, because so much development takes place between the ages of birth and five years, before kids start school.

Steph Whiteside is a Digital Media News Specialist with WSIU radio in Carbondale, Ill. She previously worked as a general reporter at AJ+ and Current TV.
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