Sioux Falls Hope Coalition offers full scholarships for preschoolers who qualify

Published: Sep. 11, 2020 at 5:02 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Sending kids to preschool can be expensive but there’s a program in Sioux Falls that will help subsidize preschool for three and four-year-olds.

Between the families that qualify for government-funded preschool and those who can afford to pay on their own, are families who can’t afford to pay for preschool and keep their kids at home.

The Sioux Falls Hope Coalition wanted to stand in the gap for those kids. Amy Benda is the Executive Director.

A group of community leaders came together when they identified that there was a gap, so we scholarship children to be able to go to one of the preschools we currently have 10 partner preschools in the community," said Benda.

Educators see the value of being ready for kindergarten. Jessi Copeland is the Director of Central Downtown Preschool.

“Make sure that kids have the opportunity to learn how to share and learn how to make friends and sit in a circle and follow the directions. It’s so important before they go to kindergarten so that they’re not behind before they even begin,” said Copeland.

The United Way helps with funding the preschool scholarship program.

“Finances are tight it isn’t always a priority and so that’s why the whole coalition came together and made sure that it was an opportunity for all kids, regardless of their financial situation,” said Copeland.

And the kids are immersed in existing preschools across Sioux Falls. Knowing that the gap families may have difficulty getting their kids to school, transportation is frequently included in the free preschool program.

“It is a privilege for us to have these kids and we hope that as a result they will grow and learn and just be ready for kindergarten st the end of this school year,” said Copeland.

Among the preschools across Sioux Falls, there are still 10 to 15 openings up to this year. Find out more at

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