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MA Awarded $1.8 Million Federal Preschool Development Grant

Thursday, February 14, 2019

 

MA awarded $1.8 million federal preschool development grant

Massachusetts received $1.8 million from the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Care for a Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five.

The grant will help more parents and educators support children’s development, better screen infants and toddlers for developmental delays, improve referrals to services, and expand access to training for early educators.

“Working across state agencies, this grant will enable us to strengthen existing programs, provide enhanced training for early educators and improve access to referrals and services for young children and their families. We look forward to increasing the number of children entering kindergarten ready to succeed with the help of this grant and the work it supports,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

The Grant

The grant was awarded to the Executive Office of Education, but will be managed jointly with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Early Education and Care, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Department of Public Health, and the Children’s Trust. 

“Early childhood screening is a critical part of almost every program serving infants and toddlers, including early education, early intervention, Head Start, pediatric well visits, and home visiting.  It’s the first point of information that we have to help understand child development milestones.  This grant will help us expand and improve our screening efforts, so more families will have the information they need to understand their children’s growth and development,” said Education Secretary James Peyser.

All six agencies will work together to review current services, identify gaps and needs, and streamline existing programming, funding, regulations and outreach to families and educators working with infants and toddlers. 

Through this collaboration, the agencies will coordinate to develop a statewide plan for improving the outcomes of young children, particularly for low-income families.

Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five Program

The Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five program builds on two Massachusetts efforts over the last four years to improve services to vulnerable children and families by connecting funding, data, and services across state and local agencies. 

First, the Early Literacy Expert Panel, co-chaired by Nonie Lesaux and Executive Office of Education Undersecretary Ann Reale, recommended using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, a developmental screener, more uniformly across state agencies to identify children with developmental delays earlier and ensure they receive referrals to stay on track toward third-grade reading milestones. 

Second, in 2015 Massachusetts received a Preschool Expansion Grant that supports public/private partnerships to deliver high-quality preschool to four-year-old children from low-income families. 

Five cities across the Commonwealth have provided additional preschool opportunities to children through collaborations between the public school district and community early education and care programs: Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield. 

 

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