by Malinda Winkle
Kindergarten teachers turn to local and national businesses, foundations and special interest organizations who support them with grant funding. Some funding may be found local to you while other funding may come from state or nationwide resources. By taking the time to request grant funding for your classroom or special project, you can improve the qualify of education in your classroom.
State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grant
Joyce Hembree, a kindergarten instructor at Mark Twain Elementary School in Oklahoma, applied for and received a $1,000 grant from the State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning grant program. State Farm offers these service-learning grants for youth-led service-learning projects each year. The projects run from Martin Luther King Jr. Service Day in mid-January through Global Youth
Service Day in mid-April each year. Hembree's project combined older students with her kindergarten class to plant a cooperative vegetable garden. It produced healthy snacks and allowed the young people to focus on the issue of older, bigger students being bullies.
NBEF Innovative Teacher Grants
Sometimes a teacher finds grant funding from charitable foundations in her own county. The New Brunswick Education Foundation (NBEF) funds grants for teachers in the New Brunswick public school system. In 2010, the NBEF granted funding to a kindergarten teacher who applied for project funding for her “Reading & Writing ~ The Ultimate Superpowers!” program. She wanted her kindergarten students to begin internalizing the concept that they are readers, writers and have superpowers. The grant paid for the cost of books and children's author visits. The program inspires a long-term love of reading and writing. Any teacher within the system with innovative teaching ideas may apply for these grants.
Wells Fargo Teachers Partner Program
Search for grants specific to your state. Kindergarten teachers in the state of Arizona, for instance, may apply for one-time grants of up to $500 for books, educational field trips, supplies, technological needs or professional development workshops. Selection committee members meet about six times per year from September through March and notify the results within two weeks of each committee meeting. Funds will arrive within two months of committee approval. Teachers may submit one grant per month and are limited to one grant per year.
International Reading Association Grant
The International Reading Association's Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant is open to mainstream kindergarten classroom teachers who are International Reading Association members and who have at least 60 percent of their students qualifying for free lunches. The applicant should hold a desire to improve the way she teaches reading and writing. Regie Routman supports these grants of $2,500 each. The funds may not be used to purchase commercial curricula, however. Acceptable funding ideas include, for instance, attending the IRA annual convention, creating a library in the classroom or publishing the students' work.
- My Grant Wrangler: Joyce Hembree, Kindergarten Teacher and Grant Recipient; Catrina Brewton; February 2009
- State Farm: State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants Announced; 2011
- New Brunswick Education Foundation: NBEF Innovative Teacher Grants for Excellence Program; 2011
- Wells Fargo Arizona: Teacher’s Partner Program Application; May 2004
- International Reading Association: IRA Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant