The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has been awarded a Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) grant of $10.5 million for one year. Pennsylvania’s new grant is one of 45 recently announced by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The priority populations for initiatives funded by the PDG are:
  • infants and toddlers,
  • vulnerable children,
  • children transitioning to kindergarten,
  • migrant families,
  • children with special need, and
  • the ECE workforce.
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is committed to building an equitable and sustainable early care and education (ECE) system in which all children, ECE teachers, and programs thrive. The Raising the Bar, Raising the Floor: Systems Building for the Future of Pennsylvania’s Early Care and Education System Project couples Pennsylvania’s established ECE infrastructure and deep knowledge of strengths, challenges, and needs to apply targeted systems building strategies to reach all of Pennsylvania’s vulnerable children (birth to age 5) and the workforce and programs that serve them. This paired approach to system change creates transformative opportunities for the development of policies, strategies, and programs that ensure wide and diverse participation of providers and children in high-quality ECE services and fully support children’s transition to kindergarten statewide.
Pennsylvania will enhance and/or expand the following initiatives in order to meet the goal of an equitable and sustainable ECE system: Expanded Scope of Services for Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC), Family Engagement Framework, Expanding Family Knowledge, Choice, and Resources for serving Pennsylvania’s families in their home language in the ECE system, Child Care Capacity Understanding, the Shared Service Project, Professional Development Organizations for ECE Workforce, Expansion of Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Project, and Equitable kindergarten transition and support of a continuum of high-quality early learning opportunities from birth-grade 3.
The PDG B-5 grant is not to be utilized to purchase or extend slots for preschool age children. The monies are to be used for systemic and capacity building activities.
Funding from this grant opportunity will allow OCDEL to:
  • Support the development of additional professional development opportunities,
  • Target efforts to promote successful partnerships among early learning providers, community agencies, and school districts for successful transition from early learning programs to kindergarten,
  • Strategically plan to increase access to behavioral supports for medically eligible children birth to age 5, and
  • Recruit coaches currently in ECE programs to participate in a coaching support pilot project.
  • Build capacity of educators and families to practice high-impact, culturally responsive family engagement through increased awareness, knowledge and skills.
  • Improve the alignment and coordination of services and programs that serve migrant children (ages 6 weeks to 5 years) who participate in preschool
  • To support direct access for the ECE workforce to participate in CDA (Infant /Toddler, Preschool, and Family Child Care), AA/AS/AAS or BA/BS programs through a mixed delivery model to include: face-to-face, cohort, and/or online methods.
Pennsylvania’s new grant is initially for a single year, but PDE intends to apply for a three-year renewal grant.
More on the federal Preschool Development Grant program can be found at the Office of Child Care website .