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Larson, Gov. Malloy, and Congressional Delegation Announce Federal Grant to Expand High-Quality Preschool

November 30, 2016
Press Release

Hartford, CT - Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01), Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation today announced that the State of Connecticut has been awarded nearly $11.7 million in discretionary federal funding through the Preschool Development Grant, which aims to expand high-quality preschool. The funding was awarded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services through a competitive grant process and was announced today by Education Secretary John B. King, Jr.

“Connecticut wins when children thrive. Investing in early childhood education is one of the most important things we can do for the economic future of our families and state,” Larson and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation said in a joint statement. “These dollars will be truly life-changing for hundreds of low-income children in 13 communities across Connecticut. We will continue to fight for federal dollars to ensure all Connecticut children have the resources and support they need to enter kindergarten ready to excel.”

“Connecticut has made great progress in expanding access to and availability of early childhood education. We have a fundamental responsibility to provide an opportunity for all children to succeed, and one of the best ways to do that is to make sure they have access to a high-quality early learning experience,” Governor Malloy said. “These federal funds will allow us to continue to provide high-quality preschool to over 400 children and improve the quality of preschool for nearly 300 more children in low-income families, giving them the necessary foundation to succeed in school and life. I’d like to thank our Congressional delegation for their advocacy of this grant and their commitment to funding successful programs that serve our children and families.”

Connecticut’s application aligns with the state’s strong existing preschool infrastructure to expand access to high-quality state-funded preschool programs for 439 children and to improve the quality of state-funded preschool programs for another 291 children, for a total of 730 four-year-olds who are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line in 13 high-need communities. The 13 communities include Bridgeport, Derby, East Haven, Griswold, Groton, Hamden, Killingly, Manchester, Naugatuck, Seymour, Torrington, Vernon, and Wolcott.

“Access to high-quality preschool is a critical foundation a child’s healthy social-emotional and academic development. This federal grant builds on Connecticut’s significant investment in our children’s earliest years,” Linda Goodman, Acting Commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood, said. “With this federal support, we will continue our work to provide a high-quality learning experience and comprehensive support services to 730 children in 13 communities to ensure they enter kindergarten ready to learn and thrive.”

The 13 communities participating in the expansion will have high-quality preschool programs that:

  • offer comprehensive services to children and families
  • offer teacher compensation equal to K-12 teachers
  • deepen family engagement practices at the local level
  • forge a seamless birth-through-third-grade continuum at the local level
  • have an enhanced professional development system offering more targeted and individualized coaching, mentoring and consultation designed to meet the unique needs of programs and teachers within the programs.

Since the creation of the Office of Early Childhood in June 2013, Connecticut has boosted publicly funded preschool capacity by nearly 3,000 spaces.