Early Learning

Early Learning

A child’s earliest years are a critical period of brain development that lays the foundation for cognitive growth as well as social and emotional development. High-quality early learning programs can help during this crucial time, especially for low-income children, by boosting school performance and self-sufficiency over a lifetime.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children’s work in early learning focuses on high-quality child care, pre-kindergarten, and home visiting programs designed to ensure children enter school ready to succeed. Creating the foundation for a solid start makes all the difference in the life of a child.

Early Learning Policy Goals

  • Ensure the availability of high-quality child care for at-risk children.
  • Ensure the health and safety of children in child care settings and improve child care quality.
  • Increase the number of children enrolled in high-quality, publicly-funded pre-k.
  • Promote comprehensive pre-k to K-12 transition policies that emphasize kindergarten readiness and foster relationships between families, teachers and community partners.
  • Monitor investments and policies that support the inclusion of children with developmental delays and disabilities in high-quality early learning programs and provide ongoing supports to parents and providers.
  • Ensure the effective operations of OCDEL (Office of Child Development and Early Learning) programs.
  • Increase the availability of evidence-based home visiting strategies to strengthen families and meet the comprehensive needs of infants and young children at highest risk.

Early Learning Publications

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Childhood Begins at Home Coalition

Childhood Begins at Home is a statewide campaign designed to help policymakers and the public understand the value of evidence-based home visiting and effective ways to support parents. In addition to Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, campaign partners include Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Maternity Care Coalition, Pennsylvania Head Start Association, Pennsylvania Nurse-Family Partnership, Pennsylvania Parents as Teachers and Trying Together. Campaign partners are encouraging state and federal lawmakers to continue to build on the strong investments they have made in evidence-based home visiting and increase investments to serve many more Pennsylvania children and families who would benefit.

Pre-K for PA campaign

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 the Pre-K for PA website.

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Fast Facts about Early Learning in PA

  • Every dollar invested in high-quality, publicly funded pre-k returns the commonwealth $4 in savings and benefits.
  • Nearly 61% of eligible children, or 106,200 statewide, don’t get to attend a high-quality pre-k classroom each year.
  • Only 30% of children receiving child care through the state’s subsidy program attend a high-quality provider.
  • Pennsylvania enrolled almost 19,000 children in one of the four federal and state-funded evidenced-based home visiting models in the 2017-18 fiscal year.