Pre-K Kids Join Governor Wolf, First Lady Frances Wolf at Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Adorn PA Capitol Christmas Tree with Hand-crafted Ornaments

HARRISBURG (December 5, 2022) The Pre-K for PA campaign joined Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf at the Pennsylvania Capitol tree lighting ceremony to mark the official start of the holiday season today. The 20-foot Douglas Fir Christmas tree from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Carbon County was decorated by pre-k students from all corners of the commonwealth who crafted hundreds of original ornaments.

“Each year, this ceremony reminds me of the common bonds we share across humanity,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “During this holiday season, let us celebrate and strengthen those bonds by reaching out to those in need, by sharing what we have with others, and by extending our kindness beyond our friends and families to strangers and acquaintances who we know to be different than us. Pennsylvanians will celebrate many holidays over the next several months. No matter which holiday you celebrate, I wish every Pennsylvanian a very happy holiday season.”

Joining Governor Wolf and the First Lady for the in-person Christmas tree lighting ceremony was staff, students, and families from York Day Early Learning and Pre-K for PA supporting organizations.

“Every year, our holiday wish is for lawmakers to make serious investments in our kids to continue to keep early learning strong — and Governor Wolf and the General Assembly did just that,” said Steve Doster, State Director of Mission: Readiness, a principal partner of Pre-K for PA. “The $79 million pre-k expansion in this year’s budget will provide high-quality pre-k to over 2,300 additional students as well as increase rates for providers to support the early care and education workforce and address rising costs.

“We thank Governor Wolf and our champion legislators who continue to prioritize Pennsylvania’s youngest learners and look forward to working with Governor-elect Josh Shapiro and new and returning members of the General Assembly.”

Today, less than 40 percent of eligible children in Pennsylvania has access to high-quality pre-k, leaving more than 100,000 children without the benefit of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Yet, according to recent polling, 90% of registered Pennsylvania voters believe that early childhood education is important in helping set kids on a path to leading healthy and productive lives.

A study by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill confirmed that the commonwealth’s investment in pre-k is paying dividends for the children fortunate enough to access pre-k through Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program. In language and math skills, the study showed that these kids outperformed their kindergarten peers who did not enjoy access – an advantage that equated to four to five months of learning gains, which is a substantial difference in development at that age.

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by individuals and organizations across Pennsylvania who believe that investing in our children is the right choice and an urgent necessity. Our vision is that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. For more information