Martha’s Vineyard nonprofit MV Youth has awarded $800,000 to expand two early child care programs at Island private schools.

The donations to Plum Hill School and Vineyard Montessori School will support the development of toddler programs to increase the limited number of licensed child care spaces on Martha’s Vineyard for children 15 months to 2.9 years old, according to an announcement from MV Youth. Taken together, the two projects will add 27 new toddler spaces and 18 new preschool spaces by summer 2021.

MV Youth based its investment on a recent study it spearheaded showing that the Vineyard’s infant and toddler populations are underserved by a limited number of licensed spaces. Currently, according to the announcement, the Island has 18 licensed childcare programs — nine center-based programs and nine home-based providers — serving a total of about 380 young children aged three months through five years old.

“Since ratios are very small in licensed toddler programs (two certified early childhood educators per nine children), many programs will need to expand, be created or become licensed to adequately support the community’s unmet demand for quality, affordable and licensed toddler care. These two grants provide an incremental step in the right direction,” MV Youth executive director Lindsey Scott said in a statement. “We are very pleased to be supporting two schools with excellent reputations to accomplish their expansions, and in turn supporting the critical needs of the MV community.”

The Plum Hill School received a $350,000 expansion grant to renovate a property purchased this summer in West Tisbury and to establish a toddler program that will serve nine children aged 15 months to 2.9 years, beginning in the summer of 2021. The new property will enable the Plum Hill School, which formerly rented during the school year, to run a summer program for toddlers and preschool-aged children.

Vineyard Montessori School received a $450,000 expansion grant for a new building on their Vineyard Haven campus that will add 36 new child care spaces by next summer, 18 for toddlers and 18 for preschoolers. Once construction is finished, the school plans to run an expanded toddler and preschool summer camp before the 2021-2022 school year begins, according to the MV Youth announcement.