Investing in a Better Future for Pennsylvania Pennsylvania's promise is our children – Pennsylvania's future relies on early education today.
If we want a good quality of life, high quality jobs and a strong economy for Pennsylvania, we need to provide opportunities to every Pennsylvanian. Early education can open the doors of opportunity for every child to do well in school, in the workforce, and in life.
Quality pre-kindergarten benefits children and families today and tomorrow, and greatly benefits Pennsylvania in the future.
A child's early years are crucial to lifelong learning. Quality pre-kindergarten lays the foundation for future academic and career success.
• Children who attend high quality pre-kindergarten do better in school; are less likely to repeat a grade or require special education services; are more likely to graduate high school and attend college; have higher earnings; and are more productive citizens.
• Pennsylvania's investment in quality pre-kindergarten programs could save Pennsylvania $100 million in future special education costs. Additional future tax savings are possible because children who are better educated are more productive as adults, likely to be healthier, pay more taxes, and less likely to require public assistance.
• Quality pre-kindergarten prepares children for reading and math, but also for paying attention, following directions, and getting along with others. Pre-kindergarten gives children a chance to learn, become excited about school and be better students.
• Quality pre-kindergarten makes early learning a family activity! Parents and teachers work together to provide learning activities in the classroom and in the home that meet the individual needs of the child.
• Quality education for our children today prepares them for high quality jobs tomorrow. A high quality workforce empowers Pennsylvania to compete nationally and globally, improving the quality of life for all.
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts at a glance:
• What it covers: Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides parents in participating communities with options for full-day or half-day quality pre-kindergarten for their children in a school-based, child care center, Head Start, or nursery school program during the school year.
• Eligible children: All children in participating communities from age 3 until they enter kindergarten are eligible, with a focus on children at risk of academic failure. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts supports the inclusion of children with diverse needs.
• Eligible programs: Any school district, Head Start program, or nursery school that complies with all quality program expectations may apply. Child care centers with a STAR 2 rating or above may also apply.
• Communities: All eligible programs may apply, but programs in school districts with 30% or more children participating in the free or reduced lunch program, or individual programs focusing on services to children at risk of academic failure will receive priority in funding.
• Estimated number of children served: More than 11,000 children will be served.
Pennsylvania has taken the first step
Pennsylvania has made great progress in serving young children through early childhood initiatives such as Accountability Block Grants, Keystone STARS, Early Intervention and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance program, but it's just a start.
• More than 4,000 children are receiving pre-kindergarten in 2006-2007 through schoolbased programs in 44 school districts funded by the Accountability Block Grants.
• Nearly 90,000 of Pennsylvania's 3 and 4 year olds are expected to participate in a quality early childhood program in 2006-07, 37,000 more children than were served in 2002-03.
• Impressive as these gains are, this is still only 31% of Pennsylvania's 3 & 4 year olds. Many children in our most at-risk communities are currently left without access and unable to reap the benefits of quality early learning.
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program will take our children to the top of the class!
The Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts pre-kindergarten program, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will make quality pre-kindergarten opportunities available to children and families across the Commonwealth. Governor Rendell's proposed investment of $75 million in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, as a new component of the Accountability Block Grant, will provide funding for more than 11,000 of our 3- and 4-year olds to attend quality half- and full-day pre-kindergarten in schools, Head Start, child care centers and nursery schools in the 2007-2008 school year.
"Our pre-kindergarten partnership provides our children with quality opportunities to grow and develop under the caring supervision of early childhood professionals. We work in collaboration with community early learning programs and consider this critical so that together we can assure all children and family a quality pre-kindergarten opportunity." - Dr. Beth Yonson, Superintendent, Morrisville Borough School District
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts program:
• is based on the quality components adopted for pre-kindergarten by the State Board of Education;
• provides families in participating communities with a choice of quality pre-kindergarten options – in a school, child care center, Head Start, or nursery school;
• increases access to quality pre-kindergarten to children and families throughout the Commonwealth with a priority in at-risk communities;
• builds on the work of the Pre K Counts Public-Private Partnership for Educational
Success, a three-year project funded by leading Pennsylvania foundations and supported by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Early results from this public-private initiative find that children's early learning improves when all early learning programs in a community share resources to improve quality and coordinate early learning experiences in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and beyond.
For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education website at www.pde.state.pa.us.
Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts helps Pennsylvania's children reach their promise. Why wait?