First Lady Frances Wolf Discusses Need to Increase Access to Early Childhood Education on “Schools That Teach” Tour Stop

April 10, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – Today on a Schools That Teach tour stop, Pennsylvania’s First Lady Frances Wolf held a roundtable discussion with teachers and administrators from the Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten Readiness (PEAK) program at Pottstown High School to discuss Governor Wolf’s commitment to making affordable, quality pre-kindergarten education available to all children across the commonwealth. She also read to a preschool classroom as part of the “One Book, Every Young Child” initiative. This statewide program encourages reading and a love of learning in Pennsylvania’s preschoolers.

“Schools that teach starts with ensuring our children have a quality early education that provides them with the skills they need to succeed,” said Mrs. Wolf. “We know that children who participate in high-quality pre-k programs perform better in school, graduate at higher rates and are better equip for the jobs of tomorrow, but unfortunately only one third of Pennsylvania’s three-year-olds and four-year-olds have access to such programs. This administration is committed to changing that by increasing enrollment in early learning programs by 75 percent.”

In addition to proposing historic investments at all levels of public education, Governor Wolf has made universal pre-kindergarten instruction for all 3- to 4- year olds a critical component of his plan, which includes:

  • increasing funding for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts by $100 million;
  • nearly doubling the commonwealth’s current annual investment of $97.3 million; and
  • a $20 million increase in state funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, which would bring the program’s total funding to $59 million.

Throughout April, state officials from the departments of Education (PDE) and Human Services (DHS) are reading a book to preschoolers in the month-long “One Book, Every Young Child” program to highlight the importance of quality early learning and literacy opportunities. This year’s book is Philadelphia author Greg Pizzoli’s Number One Sam.

Developed by Pennsylvania librarians and museum educators, “One Book, Every Young Child” is made possible through a collaboration of PDE, DHS, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Please Touch Museum, State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Library Association, Pennsylvania Center for the Book, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, The Pennsylvania Child Care Association and PennSERVE. It is also supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

Learn more online about the “One Book, Every Young Child” program and the book selected, Number One Sam, at www.paonebook.org and learn more about Governor Wolf’s commitment to high-quality early childhood education through his 2015-2016 budget at schools-that-teach.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrea Mead – 717-805-1779

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