The William Penn Foundation awarded Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia (CSFP) a grant to support efforts to improve quality for Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Philadelphia through a collaborative initiative involving local parents, ECE centers, and representatives from Southeast Regional Key (SERK), the local chapter of the Keystone STARS quality rating and improvement program.
The $491,150 grant will support a partnership between CSFP, members of their Parent Ambassadors (PA) group, and SERK over a three-year period to strengthen participation in Keystone STARS certification among CSFP’s 170 partner schools, many of which host school-based pre-K programs. Parent Ambassadors will be equipped to train and educate Philadelphia parents about the importance of quality pre-K, while CSFP will build upon connections at school-based pre-K programs to connect schools with resources available to improve and meet Keystone STARS requirements.
“The William Penn Foundation grant will help to build a continuum of quality education for Philadelphia families who desperately need access to great schools. This grant will help families gain a deeper understanding of what truly constitutes a quality program for their young children,” said CSFP Executive Director Ina Lipman.
A growing body of research suggests that high-quality pre-K improves early literacy, language, math, and social/emotional skills. The lasting impact of pre-K is tremendous, as children who attend a well-rated program are less likely to be held back during middle and high school and are more likely to graduate both high school and college. Access to quality pre-K in Philadelphia is critical. Many Pre-K options exist but too many don’t meet the educational standards recommended by SERK and their Keystone STARS quality rating and improvement system.
“This grant will enable us to reach out to the families in our communities, educate them about the importance of quality pre-K for their children and give us the tools to improve the current ECE programs at our respective schools,” said Tamar Slaughter, a CSFP Parent Ambassador and advocate for early childhood education in Philadelphia. “We want more for our children, and we know that early access to quality pre-K is the key. Now, we can take steps to make high quality pre-K programs a reality for our community.”