Gov. Phil Murphy (Office of the Governor photo)

Continuing his commitment to expand early childhood education in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy today announced a second round of more than $2.7 million in Preschool Expansion Aid, bringing high-quality pre-K programs to an additional five school districts.

“Access to high-quality pre-K has been shown to improve long-term educational outcomes for our students,” said Governor Murphy. “My Administration has prioritized the expansion of these programs across our state, and I am proud to say that 140 districts have been able to create or expand pre-K programs over the past four years. I remain committed to achieving Universal Pre-K for New Jersey and reaching all of our state’s youngest learners.”

“One of the most rewarding aspects of this initiative is seeing our efforts lead to real and substantial difference in the lives of so many children,” said Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “We know that children who attend a quality preschool have a greater chance of success throughout their academic career, and that builds to a greater chance for success after graduation.”

Today’s expansion is in addition to the round of 2021-2022 preschool expansion funding announced in September, which provided $17 million in pre-K expansion funding to 19 school districts for the 2021-2022 school year.

Starting in January, the five districts will open new programs or expand existing programs, which will give up to 232 additional children access to state-funded, high-quality pre-K programs. A high-quality pre-K is one that offers a full-day program with a certificated teacher, an aide, and small class sizes that are inclusive of children with special needs who have an individualized education program.

The recent expansions continue Governor Murphy’s commitment to implementing universal pre-K in New Jersey. In September, Governor Murphy announced that the Department of Education will create a Universal Pre-K Strategic Plan that will prioritize school districts and set a timeline for expansion; ensure students have appropriate facilities and programming; involve childcare providers and Head Start in planning; optimize funding streams, including federal funds; and utilize best practices from other states that offer expanded/universal preschool programs.

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