PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo visited the Woonsocket Head Start Child Development Association classrooms to urge legislative leaders to approve her FY 2017 budget, which includes $5.2 million for early learning.
With this funding, the Rhode Island Pre-kindergarten Program will add 12 sites this fall. This expansion will bring the total number of sites to 29, serving more than 1,000 children in 11 communities: Central Falls, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Newport, North Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Warwick, West Warwick, and Woonsocket.
What they're saying about the Rhode Island Pre-kindergarten Program:
"Early childhood education programs do a tremendous amount of good for children who might otherwise never have access to preschool or other programs until they enter public school in kindergarten. They are a good introduction to learning, listening, social skills and the rhythm of a school day. They also are very helpful in connecting children to other services they might need, providing early intervention so that those kids have the opportunities they deserve. Expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs, particularly in the state's less-affluent communities, is a good investment that will help children succeed in school." - Senator Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland)
"This issue is of particular importance to communities like Woonsocket. We hear more and more from pediatricians, educators and childhood development experts about the importance of early childhood education and its impact on a child's ability to learn. These programs are an essential part of our community and it's very gratifying to see access to pre-kindergarten programs expanded." - Representative Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket)
"Our continued investment and commitment to the Rhode Island Pre-kindergarten Program will enable families in 11 communities across the state to access Pre-K education. Providing these free, high-quality early learning programs is a major step toward closing the equity gap and ensuring that all of our children enter kindergarten ready to learn." - Barbara S. Cottam, Chair of the Board of Education
"As we continue expanding pre-kindergarten options in Rhode Island, it's equally important that we focus on program quality. Governor Raimondo's budget includes funds to support program quality while expanding options for families. These investments will pay huge dividends as more and more Rhode Island children will develop, at an early age, the skills they will need for school success." - Daniel P. McConaghy, Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education
"We know that it's never too early to start a child's education, and our continued investments in the Rhode Island Pre-kindergarten Program will give hundreds of Rhode Island families a jump start on learning for their children. Early childhood education is one of the priorities in our Strategic Plan, so we are pleased that this fall there will be a total of 29 sites offering free pre-kindergarten programs. We hope that many Rhode Island parents and guardians will take advantage of this opportunity and apply for a spot for their child in one of our high-quality programs." - Education Commissioner Ken Wagner