PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney visited a pre-K center today to kick off the start of a new school year for 2,000 children enrolled in PHLpreK, the city’s quality pre-K program funded by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax (PBT). He also announced that 250 more seats will be available this school year now that the litigation against the PBT has been successfully resolved in the City’s favor.
PHLpreK serves children ages 3-4 in 80 centers throughout the city. Almost 4,000 students and families have participated, including those who are enrolled for this third, new year. The program will expand to 2,250 seats this school year and grow to 5,500 seats by September 2022.
Mayor Kenney made the announcement while visiting Yolanda’s Kids Corner in North Philadelphia. A minority- and woman-owned small business, this PHLpreK funded center has improved its Keystone STARS rating from 2 to 3 (a quality rating), renovated its space, increased wages, and improved staff retention since joining PHLpreK in 2017.
Joined by PHLpreK Director Julie Beamon, Mayor Kenney participated in back-to-school activities with students and touted the benefits of PHLpreK for students, families, and Philadelphia residents.
“Expanding access to free, quality pre-K to Philadelphia is more than providing a service,” said Mayor Kenney. “It’s an investment in our students and their long-term success, an investment in the parents and caregivers who can now go back to work or school, and an investment in the early childhood education sector where we’ve strengthened small businesses and created at least 250 living-wage jobs. I’m thrilled that we’re able to ramp up and help more children get ready for kindergarten at more pre-K programs throughout the city.”
“We’re thrilled to begin the school year with our original 2,000 seats filled – but far from surprised,” said PHLpreK Director Julie Beamon. “PHLpreK families overwhelmingly report that they are satisfied with the program and that their child is better prepared for kindergarten. This program already has a strong reputation and we’re seeing high demand for free, quality pre-K across the city. In addition to serving nearly 4,000 children directly, PHLpreK funding helps pre-K providers – like Yolanda’s Kids Corner – improve their quality across centers, which means that quality early childhood education is more accessible to all Philadelphia families thanks to our investments.”
The 250 new seats will be allocated among existing PHLpreK centers based on site capacity and neighborhoods where the need for affordable, quality pre-K is higher than the city average.
To find an available seat or join a waiting list, families with children who are 3 or 4 years old as of September 1 should visit phlprek.org or call 844-PHL-PREK to find a participating program. There are no income requirements for enrollment in PHLpreK.
Providers interested in partnering with the City on PHLpreK next year should contact the Mayor’s Office of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for updates.