Why Families Need Pre-K

The benefits of high quality pre-kindergarten and childcare are indisputable, yet only 1 in 6 children in Pennsylvania have access to these crucial programs. Kids who start behind often stay behind – a disadvantage with ramifications that reach far into the future.

How Pre-K for PA will Help Families

Currently, there are more than 120,000 eligible children without access to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Pre-K for PA is advocating that by 2022, every at-risk child will have access to a high-quality pre-kindergarten program and middle-income families will more easily afford these services for their children. To accomplish this goal, Pennsylvania policymakers must invest an additional $440 million.

Resources for Families

PA Partnerships for Children Pre-K Data

This interactive review at the Pennsylvania House, Senate and school district levels includes local data on children served, unmet need, the number of high-quality providers, current capacity and much more. Not sure where your legislative districts or school district are on the maps? No problem. Use the convenient search functionality on each map to look up your legislators or school district.

What to Look for When Picking a Pre-K

We know it can be confusing and a bit overwhelming trying to make the best choice for your child, so we assembled our Top Ten list of things to look for in a pre-k program.

Find the Early Learning Program that’s Right for Your Family

Pennsylvania has launched a provider tool that connects Pennsylvania families with reliable, high-quality early learning programs. The site offers a simple zip code search as well as more detailed filters to focus on Keystone STAR levels, hours of operation, and other services available. In addition to program search, families can use this resource to learn more about how our programs are regulated and how to support their child’s development.

Determining Eligibility and Availability

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides seats in regional early learning classrooms for quality half-day and full-day pre-kindergarten to 11,800 3-and 4-year-olds in PA. Enrollment is determined by family eligibility and availability of seats by individual early learning programs. You may download this overview  for more information on family eligibility. If you think your child may qualify for Pre-K Counts, we recommend you work with your local provider to assist you with the process. You can search for providers nearest you here.

PA Promise for Children – This is our favorite resource for parents. This site includes information on why early childhood education matters, what to look for, what public supports/programs are available, and much more.

National Association for the Education of Young Children – This site features a useful “what to look for in a program” section, information on NAEYC’s 10 quality program criteria, and search function for accredited programs by geography.

Great Philly Schools – Although this site is largely specific to Philadelphia, it does include broad information about how to choose an early childhood education provider, how to pay (with links to public programs), as well as information on individual programs.

The Reinvestment Fund – We’ll admit, this site is a little bit data-heavy. But we wanted to include it, as it has a very helpful map of child care centers, their exact locations, and demographic data by zip code and neighborhood.


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