Ensure each child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity for affordable and accessible high-quality early childhood education, including infant and toddler child care, as well as pre-kindergarten education. The rapid brain growth during the first few years of life underscores the need to build an early, solid foundation for future success in school, relationships, and life. A coordinated care system is also a vital component of the economy, allowing parents to work while knowing their children are receiving high-quality care.
Early Childhood Education Policy Goals
- Increase the number of children enrolled in publicly funded, high-quality pre-k.
- Increase investments for publicly funded, high-quality pre-k so at least 60 percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds can voluntarily participate.
- Ensure an adequate supply of high-quality pre-k providers are eligible for participation in publicly funded programs and preserve the mixed pre-k service delivery system.
- Ensure the availability of a high-quality workforce by reinforcing the need for a pre-k through 4th grade teaching certification.
- Increase the number of Child Care Works eligible children, specifically infants and toddlers, in high-quality child care programs.
- Provide financial support and technical assistance to STAR 1 and 2 providers to move up the STAR ladder, creating a more financially stable and larger pool of high-quality providers for eligible children in the subsidized child care program.
- Develop a concept of simplifying subsidy payment rates and establishing a base rate which includes the quality level of child care programs.
- Increase base rates for child care providers, coupled with increasing contracted slots to provide for a more stable payment method of high-quality infant and toddler care and allow more infants and toddlers to be served in high-quality.
- Support the early childhood care and education infrastructure to ensure the system remains whole in the wake of the COVID-19 public health emergency, including further coordination of services available through the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs).
- Investigate policies that support children with developmental delays and disabilities through early intervention programs, while also providing ongoing supports to parents and providers.
- Research a policy framework that focuses on providing necessary services to all young children eligible for early intervention services. Preserve eligibility and high-quality implementation standards for children in the Early Intervention Program.
- Maximize all state and federal funding for Early Intervention.
- Ensure equitable access to early intervention services for all children.
- Continue to monitor Pennsylvania’s progress at conducting developmental screens at recommended intervals and conducting follow-up assessment and care coordination for children identified as having possible delays.
- Ensure the continued alignment of academic and social-emotional learning goals found in the Pennsylvania’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood with the expectations of decreasing suspension and expulsion in the early learning years.
Early Learning Publications
Pre-K for PA
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is a principal partner of the Pre-K for PA campaign. Building on the shared belief that all children should have the opportunity to enter school ready to succeed, a broad coalition of organizations launched the Pre-K for PA campaign in 2014. The campaign makes pre-k a priority issue in the gubernatorial and legislative elections, advocating increased access to high-quality pre-kindergarten for all of Pennsylvania’s 3- and 4-year olds.
To learn more, visit: prekforpa.org.
Start Strong PA
Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children is a partner in the Start Strong PA campaign, which aims to support healthy child development, working families and the economy by increasing access to and affordability of high-quality child care programs for young children.
To learn more, visit: startstrongpa.org.
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