More than 1,800 additional 4-year-olds will attend the NC Pre-K program this fall thanks to the expansion of the state’s pre-kindergarten education program.
“These young children will get a strong start in school and in life with this early start to their education,” said Governor Cooper. “Quality preschool programs are critical to long-term success for our children and our state. We must continue to make this opportunity available to more children. This year alone more than 4,000 children who want to attend Pre-K programs won’t get that chance, but we’ll keep fighting to include them because the benefits of quality early childhood education are clear.”
In his budget, Gov. Cooper sought to end a waiting list for Pre-K by funding slots for 4,668 more at-risk four-year-olds, bringing the state total to more than 28,000 children. The Governor’s budget requested $32.4 million over two years to fund the expansion. Instead, legislators appropriated $27.3 million over two years which will serve about 3,500 new children.
Moore County Schools initial slots allocated is 44 with 6 estimated new slots awarded.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services includes the Division of Child Development and Early Education, which administers the NC Pre-K Program.
N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen stated, “Every child needs a great start for lifelong health, education and well-being, and we will keep working hard every day at DHHS to support families in providing that strong foundation with programs like NC Pre-K.”
Independent evaluations consistently show that children who participate in NC Pre-K have higher math and reading standardized test scores, better language and social skills, are less likely to need special education, and have lower rates of retention in third, fourth and fifth grades than they would otherwise experience.
The availability of quality childcare is often a critical factor for parents in the workforce. Quality early childhood education also has benefits for parents whose children attend, including giving parents peace of mind that their children are in good hands while they are at work.
NC Pre-K serves eligible four-year-old children, primarily those whose family income does not exceed 75 percent of the state’s median income of $60,074.