Preschool Development Grant (Birth to Five)
In December 2019, Delaware was awarded a $4.2 million Preschool Development Grant (PDG B-5) to help strengthen the state's early childhood system. This grant will enable the state to prepare all young children to enter kindergarten ready to learn and will greatly improve their transitions from early childhood programs to the K-12 school system.
Initially, the Preschool Development Grant, Birth through Five (PDG B-5) requires states to complete a comprehensive statewide birth through five needs assessment and subsequent strategic planning to determine current needs and priorities for its early learning system. Activities must include parent choice and knowledge about the various early learning systems and sharing best practices prior to implementation of any quality initiatives that it identifies in its strategic plan.
Specific grant objectives require Delaware to:
- Develop, update, or implement a strategic plan – based on what is learned through a statewide B-5 needs assessment – that facilitates collaboration and coordination among existing programs of early childhood care and education in a mixed delivery system across the state designed to prepare low-income and disadvantaged children to enter kindergarten and to improve transitions from such systems into the local educational agency or elementary school
- Ensure efficient use of existing federal, state, local, and non-governmental resources to align and strengthen the delivery of existing programs; coordinate the delivery models and funding streams existing in the state's mixed delivery system; and develop recommendations to better use existing resources
- Encourage partnerships among Head Start, childcare and pre-k providers, state and local governments, Indian tribes and tribal organizations, private entities (including faith- and community- based entities), and local educational agencies
- Maximize parental choice and knowledge about the State’s mixed delivery system of early childhood education program providers
Delaware’s long-term early childhood education goals must align with the purpose of the federal PDG B-5 grant opportunity. To that end, Delaware seeks to understand the experiences of families and early childhood professionals navigating the existing birth to five system through its comprehensive needs assessment. As a result, subsequent policy and identified solutions will be found through an analysis of the true needs of Delaware's children and families.
This project will build on the progress Delaware has made in strengthening its services and supports for its youngest learners and their families and provides an opportunity to renew the state’s current five-year early childhood strategic plan that ended in 2018 (Sustaining Early Success, Delaware’s Strategic Plan for a Comprehensive Early Childhood System, 2013). Subsequently, the needs assessment and strategic plan will occur during calendar year 2019.
Please check back for upcoming opportunities to participate in this work.