Funshine Learning Center, the early childhood program that is partnered with Graceland University’s Gleazer School of Education (GSOE) in Lamoni, Iowa, was recently notified by The Dekko Foundation that it is the recipient of a $100,000 grant for 2018. Funshine is a 5-star rated early learning center garnering the highest rating given by the Iowa Department of Human Services for early childhood development.
The early childhood program has been growing in recent years in quality and the number of young learners it serves, largely due to its close work with the GSOE under the leadership of Professor Jane Chaillie, EdD, who has been instrumental in its growth and development.
“The partnership between Dekko, Graceland University and Funshine is a win-win-win. Students studying early childhood education at Graceland attain valuable hands-on experience as they prepare for careers working in child development. The community and parents win, as they can hold down jobs or prepare for employment while knowing their children are not only receiving top-notch care, but are being nurtured in an environment that encourages curiosity, independence and creativity. This partnership focuses on doing the right things for kids, and the Dekko Foundation grant helps provide the tools and resources to continually grow and improve services to meet those needs. The bottom line is that children win from a partnership that focuses on doing the right things for kids.”
This partnership is in its third year of being awarded the Dekko grant, which has made it possible for GSOE students to take courses and fulfill practicum hours on site, complete work study hours and develop skills that create leaders in the field of education. The grant also makes it possible for Funshine to offer jobs to students in GSOE’s education program.
In working closely with Graceland’s Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Kelly Everett, Funshine plans to use these funds as a foundation for growing and building a stronger and more dynamic program in the future, supported closely by its ongoing relationship with the university. Dekko has made it clear that the organization has expectations to continue its support in the future, as Funshine continues to build upon Professor Chaillie’s vision and leadership.
Kailey Boden ’21 is a part of the Master of Science in Nutrition Program and serves as a graduate assistant at Graceland University. Boden was recently invited to participate in the Decatur County 5-2-1-0 grant meetings in Leon, Iowa.
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