PHILADELPHIA – The City’s PHLpreK program, which funds free, quality pre-K at over 130 locations, is now enrolling three- and four-year-olds for the fall. Families can find a participating pre-K provider by visiting PHLpreK.org or calling 844-PHL-PREK (844-745-7735).
PHLpreK will enroll up to 3,300 students in the 2020-2021 school year, maintaining last year’s program size. Classes will begin in late August or early September 2020, depending on individual providers’ schedules.
“All children deserve to have great early education regardless of their family’s income or zip code—and PHLpreK offers just that,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We can’t allow the pandemic to take safe, quality learning experiences away from our kids, especially at the most critical stage in their development. I’m proud that we are continuing to offer this opportunity for Philadelphia’s youngest learners and their families.”
“Providing free, quality pre-K is more important than ever. Families are returning to work, and children need rich learning experiences that support their academic and social development,” said Cynthia Figueroa, Deputy Mayor for the Office of Children and Families. “Of course, due to COVID-19, we’ve needed to revise some aspects of early learning, and it will look a little different this fall, based on guidance from the City’s health experts. But we’re excited to be able to offer PHLpreK learning opportunities to more than 3,000 children this year.”
In order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for students, staff, and families, all PHLpreK providers will follow reopening guidance from the City of Philadelphia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the state’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning. This guidance includes mask requirements, social distancing and containment strategies, and new cleaning protocols.
In addition, the Office of Children and Families is working with all PHLpreK providers to ensure that they have plans and policies in place to communicate with families and uphold all safety requirements, in accordance with health department guidelines.
“We have been working hard this summer to get ready for the school year,” said Damaris Alvarado, Owner and Executive Director of Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Center. “Thanks to guidance from the City and support from the PHLpreK team we have adopted new safety and cleaning protocols, and incorporated them into our daily operations. We know this year will be unusual, but we’re ready to work with families to make sure they and their children have a positive experience nevertheless. We’re glad that we will be able to support families during this challenging time, and are committed to having a great year that will prepare children for success in kindergarten and beyond.”
PHLpreK is funded by the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. Since the program’s launch in January 2017, over 6,000 children have participated in PHLpreK.