Governor and First Lady Shapiro Host Annual Easter Egg Hunt at Governor’s Residence, Highlight Importance of Investing in Early Childhood Education Across the Commonwealth

Harrisburg, PA (March 28, 2023) – Governor Josh Shapiro and First Lady Lori Shapiro hosted pre-school classrooms and families from across the commonwealth at the annual Easter Egg hunt at the Governor’s Residence today. The event was co-sponsored by Pre-K for PA, a non-partisan advocacy group that supports the expansion of high-quality, publicly funded pre-k.

“Safe and strong communities are built on the foundation of an adequate and equitable education, from pre-K through college – and we must invest in early education so that every child in Pennsylvania can get the best possible start in life,” said Governor Shapiro. “Strong early childhood education programs set students up for success, both inside and outside of the classroom, and that’s why my budget invests over $30 million in Head Start and Pre-K Counts to help us recruit more preschool teachers and serve more students. Lori and I are thrilled to welcome preschool students and teachers to the Residence, and we’re committed to working just as hard for all Pennsylvania children as we do for ours.”

“When our children have access to high-quality pre-K from dedicated and hard-working educators, the entire Commonwealth thrives,” said First Lady Shapiro. “Josh and I are excited to join students, educators, and advocates from across the Commonwealth today to bring attention to this important issue. We are committed to doing our part to ensure that every Pennsylvania child has the support and resources they need to thrive, and we extend our gratitude to the hardworking educators who provide quality education to children across the Commonwealth every day.”

Governor Shapiro’s first budget proposal begins to address the growing shortages of pre-kindergarten and Head Start teachers by including a $32.7 million increased investment to increase the cost per child reimbursement rates in the 2023-24 budget.

“Today, only 43 percent of eligible children in Pennsylvania benefit from the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend high-quality, publicly funded pre-k,” said Kari King, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “Our coalition is energized to be working with Governor Shapiro to continue to advance the expansion of pre-k in Pennsylvania. His ongoing commitment helps ensure this valuable early learning experience will continue to become available to more and more children.”

Studies show that children who participate in high-quality pre-kindergarten perform better in school, graduate at higher rates, and earn more throughout their working lives compared to peers who do not have access to early learning programs. Additionally, children who were previously enrolled in Pre-K Counts outperform their economically disadvantaged peers in third grade math and reading.

Governor Shapiro’s 2023-24 budget proposal specifically includes an additional $30 million in new funding for the Pre-K Counts program to increase rates by approximately $1,000 per child (full-day) / $500 per child (part-day) and $2.7 million in new funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program to also increase the cost per child rate.

This is Governor and First Lady Shapiro’s first Easter Egg Hunt in partnership with Pre-K for PA, which annually welcomes pre-K classrooms from across Pennsylvania to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence to participate in an Easter egg hunt and celebrate the importance of high-quality, accessible early learning programs.

To learn more about pre-k in Pennsylvania, please visit