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The Early Childhood Council of Region IV oversees the Early Childhood Council Preschool Scholarship Fund. Funds are solicited from community service clubs, community funds and foundations, businesses and individuals. These funds are used exclusively for supplementing tuition for families from Regional District No. 4 who are in financial need, or struggle with the full cost of preschool tuition. Some children receive full scholarships; others may receive partial scholarships, depending on the family’s documented financial need.

Children from Regional School District No. 4 are solicited and identified through press releases, elementary school recommendations, Tri-Town Youth Services, the Visiting Nurses, and Preschools in the district. Applications are sent in December to social service agencies in the community to help identify worthy scholarship recipients for the coming year. Emphasis is on four year olds who are eligible for kindergarten the following year. A committee from the Early Childhood Council reviews all applications.

Neighborhood Preschools are chosen by the participating families for a minimum two-morning experience. Families may choose to pay for additional time reserved beyond the two mornings provided by the scholarship fund.

Preschools may choose to offer preschool spaces in addition to those made available through the Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund Coordinator facilitates preschool placement according to family requests, available scholarship funds and free spaces offered by the participating preschools. Scholarships are paid directly to the participating preschools by the semester.

Benefits of the Scholarship Fund in Region IV (Chester, Deep River, and Essex):

Region IV is not a priority school district. The chances are slim for state or federal funding for preschool in our area in the near future. Our district is not served by Head Start. The Scholarship Fund offers Region IV four-year-old children equal opportunities otherwise available to children of priority school districts or Head Start.

The Preschool Scholarship Fund is a grass roots effort to guarantee that children entering kindergarten are on an equal footing and ready to learn with other children from the community. A good foundation in early learning directly impacts later success in the educational success of students in District IV.

In the last ten years, more THIRTY area children have received financial assistance from the Preschool Scholarship Fund. Their smiles and educational accomplishments are proof that the program is a resounding success. In order to truly serve our community, our goal is to see those numbers grow.


The return on our investment in children is measured in a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. The Early Childhood Council has posted two videos on YouTube describing our work.

See the ECC Video

See Marino's Story

Eligibility and Guidelines for Awarding Preschool Scholarships:

  • Scholarship applicants must be residents of the Tri Town Region: Deep River, Essex or Chester
  • Applicants should be seeking a scholarship to attend preschool the year before they will be entering Kindergarten
  • Scholarships will be awarded to those families for whom payment of preschool tuition would be a financial hardship
  • Scholarships may be awarded to families who are experiencing difficulties as a result of extraneous events or circumstances
  • Scholarships are intended to ensure that the child has a structured preschool experience prior to entering Kindergarten. Research supports the importance of this learning experience for future success in kindergarten as well as later grades
  • In the event that the child attends a full day program the scholarship may be applied to the preschool portion of the day. The family is responsible for the cost of the extended day.
  • Transportation to and from the receiving Preschool program is the responsibility of the family. Failure to attend regularly may result in termination of the scholarship and reallocation of the residual scholarship to another qualifying child
  • The amount of a scholarship may be up to, but may not exceed, $1,500. Money awarded may vary depending upon financial need, availability of scholarship funding, availability of donated slots and the number of qualifying applicants
  • All applications will be accepted and reviewed individually, impartially and confidentially according to the above criteria. Candidates will be informed of the ECC’s decision as promptly as possible.
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