Preschool Promise, Oregon’s Free Preschool Program, Begins This Month

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Early Learning Hubs across the State Will Implement Preschool Promise

(Salem, Ore.) – Oregon’s innovative free preschool program, Preschool Promise, begins this month with rolling starting dates across the state. Oregon’s mixed delivery preschool pilot supports children and families living at 200 percent of the poverty level. Preschool Promise will reach approximately 1,300 children in Oregon.

“Economic status should not get in the way of building a solid foundation for any young learner,” Governor Kate Brown said. “Preschool Promise is a critical step in addressing this persistent equity gap in our education system so that all students have access to the supports and learning they need to thrive.”

In 2015, the Oregon Legislature enacted House Bill 3380, the creation of a new, publicly-funded, high quality preschool system. The model leverages high-quality, local and culturally-relevant early child care and education programs. By incorporating a “mixed delivery” approach, the preschool model will provide opportunities for families to access and choose the preschool program which best meets their needs. The Early Learning Division developed the model, the implementation process, and worked with community partners to create access for children to preschool.

“None of this would have been possible without four years of building an early learning system focused on kids and families,” said Pam Curtis, chair of the Early Learning Council. “We are moving to the next frontier of quality preschool for children who are furthest from opportunity.”

The Early Learning Hubs applied in early 2016 to implement Preschool Promise and recommendations were presented to the Early Learning Council for its vote at the March meeting. The five regional hubs selected are: Eastern Oregon Early Learning Hub, Marion Polk Early Learning Hub, Lane Early Learning Alliance, Southern Oregon Early Learning Services, South Central Oregon Hub and the Northwest Regional Hubs that include NW Regional, Early Learning Multnomah, Early Learning Washington County and Clackamas County.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the applications submitted for Preschool Promise in Malheur and Baker Counties,” said Kelly Poe, director of community based services for the Malheur Education Service District. “With fewer preschool options for local families, Preschool Promise generated hope and excitement. In a region that experiences some of the highest poverty in Oregon, Preschool Promise has provided access for 50 children who would not have access to preschool otherwise.”

Media Contact: Karol Collymore, (503) 930-1434[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]