With the passage of the Philadelphia Beverage Tax in June 2016, Philadelphia City Council approved Mayor Kenney’s five-year plan to create 6,500 locally-funded, quality pre-K seats in Philadelphia.
To achieve this, we are partnering with dozens of early childhood education providers, including the School District of Philadelphia.
What is Quality Pre-K?
- A safe, well-equipped classroom staffed by trained teachers
- A challenging, proven, play-based curriculum
- Careful attention to the whole child (academic, physical, social, and emotional needs)
- Parental engagement and a transition plan for Kindergarten
PHLpreK classrooms are currently at capacity for the 2017-2018 school year. Families interested in enrolling children in PHLpreK for the current school year are encouraged to go to phlprek.org and contact a participating program to be added to the program’s waitlist. Families can also call (844) PHL-PREK to learn about other child care subsidies they may qualify for.
By investing $210 million over five years, the City aims to create 6,500 locally-funded pre-K seats by Fall 2020. While the first 2,000 seats were created in January 2017 at 88 pre-K programs across the City, further expansion has been stalled due to ongoing litigation on the Philadelphia Beverage Tax.
. . . the single most important investment we can make is in quality pre-K.- Mayor Jim Kenney -
Investing in quality pre-K provides short-term and lasting benefits for the City of Philadelphia.
Quality pre-K nurtures growing minds during critical years of development. It ensures that all children arrive to Kindergarten ready to learn. Quality pre-K is also linked to better health outcomes, increased graduation rates, and higher earning potential.
Cost should not prevent a parent's ability to choose quality pre-K for their child. This program makes quality learning opportunities for three- and four-year-olds more convenient and affordable for families.
Currently, nearly one in two schoolchildren start Kindergarten behind their peers, and 44% of our third-graders are not reading at grade level. Quality pre-K reduces grade repetition and the need for special education services. This provides a significant cost savings to K-12 schools.
This investment strengthens neighborhood-based pre-K providers, most of which are minority and women-owned businesses. It will also create at least 500 new jobs in the early childhood education field. Studies show that pre-K providers and staff spend earnings locally, benefitting our entire economy.
Expanding Careers in Early Childhood Education (ECE)
Skilled, trained and dedicated Early Childhood Education professionals play a key role in Philadelphia’s PHLpreK initiative. Children ages 3 to 4 learn and develop quickly, and the teachers who nurture them today will shape our city’s future. Increased funding for pre-K seats in Philadelphia means ECE centers across the city are expanding. These centers will need assistant and lead teachers who can make a lasting impact on our city's youngest learners.
As part of the PHLpreK initiative, our team connects prospective and current ECE professionals to training and education opportunities throughout Philadelphia. If you have any questions about ECE opportunities, call our PHLpreK workforce team at (215) 686-0335.
Did you know that many of our PHLpreK programs are hiring? Consider applying to one of our PHLpreK programs with recently open positions.
If you’re interested in starting or continuing your career in ECE, visit the resources section of phlprek.org to get started.
Access funds to expand or enhance your facility, learn how to meet child care quality standards, and get technical assistance.
Since 2014, Pre-K for PA has been increasing access to pre-K programs for at-risk children. Explore their work and join the campaign.