West Chester, Pa (August 2, 2022) – Four organizations that provide early childhood education programs in Chester County will receive nearly $3.8 million in state funding through Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP), state Senator Carolyn Comitta said.

“Early childhood education is the foundation for healthy, productive, and prosperous communities,” Comitta, who serves on the Senate Education Committee, said. “Investing in access to high-quality early learning programs, like these, will help put more children and families on a path to continued success in school, work, and life.”

The funding, made available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Office of Child Development and Early Learning, opens up 2,960 new Pre-K Counts slots statewide, and the increase for HSSAP will allow grantees to address increased costs to operate.

“Investing in early childhood education and expanding access to high-quality programs like Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program positively impacts families and children across the commonwealth,” said Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty. “Increasing the number of slots available for these programs means more children will have access to the early learning that will benefit them and their families now and throughout their lives.”

The 2022-23 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Grant Program awarded more than $297 million in grants to 89 eligible applicants to provide high-quality pre-kindergarten services for age- and income-eligible children.

In Chester County the recipients are as follows:

  • $50,000 for Creative Play Day School.
  • $400,000 for KinderCare Education (also providing services in Cumberland and Lancaster Counties).

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides high-quality pre-kindergarten services to at-risk three- and four-year-olds at no cost to families. Children living in families earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible to apply. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is offered in school districts, Keystone STARS 3 and 4 childcare programs, Head Start programs, and licensed nursery schools. 

More than $87 million in HSSAP grant funding was awarded to 41 eligible applicants and will give existing Head Start grantees the opportunity to expand high-quality pre-kindergarten.

 In Chester County the recipients are as follows:

  • $2.8 million for the Chester County Intermediate Unit.
  • $506,000 for Pathstone (also providing services in Carbon County).

HSSAP provides state funding to Head Start programs that serve three- and four-year-olds living in families at or below 100 percent of the federal poverty level. The program is offered to eligible families at no cost. The programs provide comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services aligned to the federal program requirements.

In total, more than $384 million in grant funding was awarded through Pre-K Counts and HSSAP. The programs will provide early childhood education opportunities to more than 37,213 children statewide.

“Education investment has been my top priority since I first considered running for this office,” Governor Wolf said. “That priority, commitment, and investment is nowhere more important than in its impact on Pennsylvania’s youngest citizens. Early childhood education makes a vast difference in a child’s path to a bright future and to realizing their full potential.”

In addition, this year’s budget contained a historic $1.8 billion in funding, including a $79 million increase for early education through Pre-K Counts and Head Start.