Prenatal-Third Grade (P3)

A P3 approach is a mindset that focuses on building a comprehensive system of policies and practices that vertically and horizontally align to support unique needs of all children across the early learning continuum (prenatally through third grade). To support a P3 approach, The Pennsylvania Prenatal through Third Grade (P3) Systems Building Logic Model was developed to assist a variety of groups (state agencies, regional teams, local communities) in the planning and implementation of innovative P3 policies and practices.

The model includes four guiding principle that remind us that systems building work is complex, continuous, and contextual, and should focus on inclusive policies and practices. The model includes three areas of focus (Effective Learning Environments, Family Engagement, and Physical and Mental Health and Well-Being) that impact one another. The final components of the model are called the “accelerants.”  Accelerants deal with how implementation in the areas of impact are accomplished and include responsive relationships, cross sector coordination, leadership, data-informed decision making.

The P3 Systems Building Model coupled with Pennsylvania’s established ECE infrastructure, creates transformative opportunities for the development of policies, strategies, and programs that ensure wide and diverse participation of children, families, and providers in high-quality ECE services and fully support children’s transition to kindergarten and the early grades statewide.

OCDEL has an informative, asynchronous course that provides a deeper review of P3. To view the course P3 Systems Thinking, please visit the PD Registry.



The Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Programs: Prenatal through Grade 3 blended course focuses on how an aligned prenatal to grade3 (P-3) system has the potential to improve child outcomes and prevent or close achievement gaps. This coursework is designed to increase the capacity of early education and school-age leaders to understand, connect, and align the many public and private systems that are focused on the growth, development, and education of children prenatally through grade 3. This course will focus on what P-3 leaders need to know and be able to do in order to improve the quality and coherence of children’s learning opportunities.

Using a nationally recognized P-3 framework, participants will explore strategies and methods for evaluating implementation efforts; as well as concrete examples of how to enrich and expand prenatal through grade 3 approaches.

The P-3 blended course offers an opportunity to bring together early education and school-age K-3 leaders in a cooperative, professional learning community. This partnership encourages an understanding of the early education and school-based educational systems which children and families navigate. It also helps to build relationships among these leaders to create coordinated, aligned, and coherent learning experiences for students and their families.

Early education program directors and school-age administrators are in a unique position in their communities. These individuals have the opportunity to acquire deeper knowledge and greater leadership skills to successfully identify and navigate the challenges and opportunities in creating P-3 alignment. The P-3 blended course is ideal for those leaders who want to take a deeper dive into collaborative learning and relationship building around early learning and P-3 alignment. PQAS and Act 45 hours are offered.

This initiative is part of Pennsylvania’s Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. For more information on other initiatives funded by this grant, visit the PA Department of Education website.