Last week, Mayor Jim Kenney highlighted the number of low-income children accessing free pre-K and the 35 pre-K providers who significantly improved their quality since January 2017.
Mayor Kenney visited pre-K provider Your Child’s World – Elmwood to celebrate the two-year anniversary of PHLpreK and the release of the updated “PHLpreK by the numbers” report, which includes updates on student demographics, provider quality, parent satisfaction and workforce development. PHLpreK is the city’s locally-funded pre-K program which currently provides free, quality educational services for 2,250 Philadelphia children at 85 locations citywide.
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and PHLpreK Director Julie Beamon joined the mayor for a tour and math activities with students after sharing highlights from the report.
Since joining PHLpreK Your Child’s World – Elmwood has increased its STARS rating to 3 STARS, which is considered a quality program in the state’s four-tier quality rating system for early childhood education programs. Thirty-five PHLpreK providers have moved from “Growth” (1 or 2 STARS) to “Quality” (3 or 4 STARS) as a result of PHLpreK investments, according to the new report. As of December 2018, 95% of PHLpreK providers (81 out of 85) have a quality designation.
“This program’s impact on individual children and families — and on the early learning sector as a whole — will continue to pay off for years to come,” said Kenney. “In just two years, we’ve helped more than 4,000 children and their families build a foundation for long-term academic and economic success. And by investing in new jobs and professional development, we are helping small businesses grow. Looking at this report, I’m thrilled about what we’ve accomplished – especially because we’re really just getting started.”
Other highlights from the report include:
• With PHLpreK investments, providers have created 278 new jobs since the beginning of the program.
• 832 PHLpreK-funded seats and another 1018 seats have grown into quality thanks to PHLpreK investments (total of 1,850).
• Four out of 10 (41 percent) of enrolled families earn less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($25,100 for a family of 4).
• 75 percent of enrolled families earn less than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($50,200 for a family of 4).
• Five neighborhoods are no longer pre-K deserts, neighborhoods with a high demand for affordable, quality pre-K, but lacking adequate supply.
• 99 percent of parents/caregivers would recommend PHLpreK to other parents.
“Two years after our launch, it’s wonderful to see the program succeeding just as we envisioned,” said PHLpreK Director Julie Beamon. “We’re expanding quality early learning across the city, we’re helping low- and middle-income families access quality pre-K they otherwise couldn’t afford, and we’re creating jobs in a rewarding and vital field. As our program expands to 3,300 seats next year, we will continue to serve more children, partner with more local businesses and nonprofits, and create more career opportunities. I’m happy about our impact so far, and excited that more and more Philadelphians – especially children – will benefit from this program each year.”
Your Child’s World – Elmwood currently enrolls 42 PHLpreK students. The program has created four new teaching positions with PHLpreK funding.
“Partnering with PHLpreK has enabled us to create new classrooms, serve more families in Southwest Philadelphia, and add new staff and resources which directly benefit children,” said Your Child’s World Director Rachel Sanders. “We’re proud to be among the founding providers in this bold initiative, and look forward to the years ahead.”
The full report is available https://www.phila.gov/documents/phlprek-by-the-numbers-2019/?mc_cid=78a650499b&mc_eid=2105a18bb7.