Governor Wolf Announces $10.5 Million for Preschool Students
January 18, 2019
Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced an additional $10.5 million to help preschool-age children transition to kindergarten. The funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services builds on the governor’s commitment to expanding early education for Pennsylvania’s youngest children.
“I am committed to investing in young children and their futures,” said Governor Wolf. “That starts by continuing to make early education a priority for Pennsylvania. Supporting children as they move from preschool to kindergarten helps them succeed in the classroom. This early success creates opportunities for them to do well in school for years to come.”
Since taking office in 2015, Governor Wolf has successfully worked with the state legislature to expand state-funded preschool by $115 million, adding more than 9,600 slots in Pre-K Counts, and an additional 1,300 in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.
“Research shows that children with access to high-quality early learning programs go on to perform better in school and beyond,” said Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Secretary Pedro A. Rivera. “By investing in these programs, we are ensuring that students have the building blocks in place to succeed as they enter elementary school.”
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) applied for the federal Preschool Development Grant, which will be used to provide professional development for early learning educators and to promote partnerships among early learning providers, community agencies, and school districts to help children prepare for successful transitions from early learning programs to kindergarten. OCDEL is a collaborative effort between PDE and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).
“Behavioral challenges can make it harder for children to succeed in education, especially when these needs go unidentified and unaddressed. Recognizing behavioral challenges early can help educators work with students so they do not become barriers to academic, social, and emotional development,” said DHS Teresa Secretary Miller. “This grant will allow early education programs around Pennsylvania to better meet the unique and complex needs of children they educate, setting a stronger foundation for success throughout all levels of education.”
Funding will also support strategic planning to expand access to behavioral supports for medically eligible children birth to age 5, and recruit coaches currently in ECE programs to participate in a coaching support pilot project.