There isn’t a lot of new state funding for early education and care for fiscal year 2017, but Massachusetts is holding steady, keeping existing funds flowing to provide high-quality learning experiences for young children.
Last week, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced “$42 million in grant awards” for a number of initiatives to “support the quality and availability of early education and care programs” across the Commonwealth.
“High-quality early education and care programs provide children with a strong foundation for learning, academic success, and positive outcomes overall,” Baker said in a press release.
“We thank our early education providers and agency partners who work hard every day to provide our youngest learners with the tools they need to succeed in school and life,” Polito added.
Saying that the grants fund “essential resources and services,” Tom Weber, the commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) said, “High-quality early education and care helps promote children’s healthy development and school readiness, and this has enormous value for families, communities and the Commonwealth as a whole.”
The funded, fiscal year 2017 grant programs include:
Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Networks $13.4 million
89 grants for local Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) networks to provide “beneficial early learning opportunities for young children accompanied by their parents or family in informal community-based settings, and programming for parents and families that increases their capacity to support their children’s learning and development.”
Head Start State Supplement $9.1 million
30 grants for Head Start lead agencies to “provide additional funding for enrollment of children in local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, staff salaries, and educator professional development.”
Inclusive Preschool Learning Environments $8.4 million
79 grants for “EEC-licensed early education programs and public schools to support the development and early learning of children with and without disabilities in high-quality, inclusive preschool classroom settings. The grants will support an estimated 5,000 children in approximately 250 classrooms during the 2016-2017 school year.”
Click here to read about the rest of the grant funds Massachusetts is investing in mental health, universal pre-K classroom quality, and support for educators and providers. It’s money that’s well spent on helping young children thrive.