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Early Childhood Programs

Our education  begins at birth, and the early years are some of the most important in a child’s education. A quality early education continuum  requires the commitment of everyone who touches a young child’s life; from parents, child development experts, early childhood teachers and caregivers, and those who teach the teachers. Knowing that everyone is working toward the same goal of providing positive outcomes for our children makes the hard work worthwhile.

What does a quality early education continuum mean for Pennsylvania’s children and families?

It means that a family that needs a variety of services can expect those programs and professionals to cooperate with one another and do their best to provide the needed services in the most seamless way possible. It means that an early childhood teacher can partner with parents and talk constructively about their child’s development and together identify ways to help their child grow cognitively, socially, and emotionally. It also means that children will have early learning opportunities that prepare them for kindergarten so they can enter school excited to learn and prepared to achieve. Children grow and develop in different ways and at different speeds, and it takes a wide variety of services working together to provide every child in Pennsylvania with quality early learning opportunities.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) brings together many  early learning initiatives of the commonwealth under one roof, regardless of which Department they are housed. By placing all of these programs in one office, we can make best use of expertise and resources, to better serve the children and families of Pennsylvania.



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