North Carolina is one of 45 states that have received federal Preschool Development Grants to strengthen early childhood education systems. The grant will fund a needs assessment and development of an early childhood system strategic plan to improve the quality and access of services for children and families across programs, through coordination and collaboration among state and local agencies, early childhood partners, and stakeholders. States were awarded between $500,000 and $10 million each; North Carolina will receive $4.5 million in 2019.
The Preschool Development Grant program was authorized under the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and aims to foster connections across early learning programs and between birth-through-age-five and K-12 systems. The grant focuses on three major activities: maximizing parental choice, improving transitions within early care and learning programs and with elementary schools; and improving overall quality of early childhood education programs.