At a time when some states have less to spend on early-childhood education, advocacy groups for prekindergarten in five states have received grants for a combined total of $1 million to move forward with their work.
The Trust for Early Education, a Washington-based nonprofit group, recently awarded grants to Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Early Learning Illinois, the Association for the Children of New Jersey, the Center for Early Care and Education, in New York, and Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.
All of the groups are working to expand children's access to pre-K programs or, in the case of the New York organization, to protect the existing program in that state.
"Despite the fiscal crisis most states find themselves in, it is crucial to continue the momentum behind quality prekindergarten," said Amy Wilkins, the executive director of the Trust for Early Education.
The group was formed last year by the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts. The group also receives support from the Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the McCormick Tribune Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Schumann Fund for New Jersey.
Principles of Quality
Effective early-childhood education focuses on six principles, according to a joint statement issued May 7 by two business groups.
Such programs, it says, view children's learning as their central mission, align their standards with K-12 academic goals, and ensure that their teachers have the skills to prepare children for school.
In addition, they support parents as children's first teachers, are accountable for results, and build partnerships with other organizations to improve the system of early- childhood education, according to the statement.
It was prepared by the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers that is located in Washington, and Corporate Voices for Working Families, a nonprofit corporate partnership based in Bethesda, Md.
The two groups also called on the states and the federal government to make the development of high-quality programs for young children a top priority, and warned that too many children are entering school unprepared to learn.
—Linda Jacobson [email protected]
Vol. 22, Issue 37, Page 10