U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell have announced that applications are now available for the $250 million Preschool Development Grants competition. The goal of Preschool Development Grants is to support states in building, developing and expanding voluntary, high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities for children from low- and moderate-income families. The new grant program will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.
“Through the Preschool Development Grants, we continue our efforts to create educational opportunities that prepare our youngest Americans for success in kindergarten, through elementary school and beyond,” Secretary Duncan said. “This new grant competition will prepare states to participate in President Obama’s proposed Preschool for All program—a federal-state partnership that would promote access to full-day kindergarten and encourage the expansion of high-quality preschool programs for 4-year-olds from low- and middle-income families.”
Across the country, there is tremendous unmet need for high-quality early learning programs. Only 40 percent of eligible children have access to Head Start and less than one-third of all 4-year olds in the U.S. are enrolled in state preschool programs. Studies demonstrate that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in kindergarten and beyond.
Under the Preschool Development Grant program, states with either small or no state-funded preschool programs will be eligible for Development Grants, while states with more robust state-funded preschool programs, or that have received Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants, will be eligible for Expansion Grants. Applications are due by October 14, 2014. Awards will be made in December 2014.