‘Pre-K Counts’ could help thousands

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

To the editors:

Parents want to prepare their children for life and give them the tools they will need to be successful adults. Quality pre-kindergarten is an important step.

This is why Governor Rendell’s proposed $75 million investment in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is so important.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts would make it possible for 11,000 three- and four-year-olds to attend a quality pre-kindergarten program at no cost to their families. Parents in participating communities would be able to choose full- or half-day quality pre-kindergarten in schools, Head Start, child care centers and group day care homes with a rating 2 or higher on the state’s Keystone STARS rating system, and licensed nursery schools.

All Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts classrooms would have quality features such as small class sizes, teachers with education in early childhood, and a curriculum designed to promote the healthy development of each child.

Children age three until they enter kindergarten would be eligible to apply. Priority enrollment would be targeted at children who have economic, language, cultural or other disadvantages putting them at risk of failing in school.

It is up to all of us to let our legislators know that Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is crucial for our young children’s success. Learn more at www.prektoday.org.

Melissa Stueck
The writer is coordinator of the Philadelphia Alliance for Better Child Care at Philadelphia Safe and Sound.