Pre-K Counts Early Connections offers Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts classrooms at 5 sites, providing opportunities for young children to experience a high-quality early learning environment. Research shows that a quality early learning experience gives young children a greater opportunity for success in school and throughout life. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, increases accessibility for young children, especially those considered to be high-risk, to have these high-quality experiences. This opportunity is designed for children who: • are between age 3 and younger than the entry age for kindergarten; • live in a family earning up to 300% of poverty; and • may also have language barriers, a disability or developmental delay, or other issues that make them at risk for failing in school. Pre-K Counts outcomes continue to show that children enrolled in the initiative are: • Making outstanding progress throughout their participation in the program; • Entering kindergarten with appropriate academic and social skills and ready to learn; and • Continuing to achieve in school and through second grade. The most recent data released in Pennsylvania is dated 2012-13 and indicates that the percentage of four-yearolds who had proficient academic and social skills tripled to 82% after participating in Pre-K Counts. Statewide, as of 2015 there were 13,456 preschoolers enrolled in Pre-K Counts, or 7.8% of eligible children. Erie County exceeded that percentage – 763 children, or 16.2% of eligible preschoolers participated in Pre-K Counts during the 2014-15 school year. This is the most recent data provided by the Pennsylvania Reach and Risk Report. During 2015-16, Early Connections provided Pre-K Counts programming for 167 eligible preschoolers at five centers. Families support the program and are excited by their children’s progress and engagement in learning. Here is what they had to say: “Pre-K Counts has impacted me and my "My child attended the Pre-K Program at granddaughter truly by using the same Harbor Homes for two years and at his principles taught at home: redirecting first Kindergarten conference the teacher was more than impressed. He is a great inappropriate behavior, always acknowledging her by her name, (Good friend, gets along well with others, and Morning, Jayla) and sharing teaching well prepared academically. I can't say enough about the wonderful program and methods that she can continue from teachers in that building. Having my child Pre-K to home.” walk in the door and be successful means Afreeica Woodard the world to me as a mom." Kate M. Beer, M.Ed.
United Way Success By 6 Success By 6 (SB6) continues to maintain and grow collaborative community partnerships in order to facilitate Kindergarten Readiness for Erie County children. Existing partnerships with Erie’s Future Fund, United Way of Erie County, Penn State Kinship Caregiver committee, the Local Interagency Coordinating Council (a committee comprised of Early Intervention Service Providers), and Erie Together allow for achievement of program plan deliverables and efficient use of community outreach resources. The following outreach materials are distributed at community event by SB6 on a continuing basis: Learning is Everywhere calendars and bookmarks Kindergarten, Here I Am & Kindergarten, Here I Come calendars PA Promise for Children bookmarks and brochures Early Learning GPS Be Your Child’s Champion Erie Together Kindergarten Readiness Checklist United Way of Erie County Prescription Discount Card Erie FREE Taxes bookmarks and brochures Children Do Come with Directions During the 2015-2016 year, Hooked On Books for Kids Erie (in existence in Erie for over 20 years), and Success By 6 began collaborating to provide children with brand new age appropriate books during outreach events. Success By 6 continues to promote the Dolly Parton Library to ensure that even more books continue to arrive in children’s hands from birth to age 5. Also noteworthy is the merging of the Success By 6 Child Abuse Prevention Task Force with the Gannon University Child Abuse Prevention Team; now called the Child Abuse Prevention Task Force, serving all of Erie County. Success By 6/Early Connections work with the Task Force to ensure an audience of children (and beautiful blue pinwheels!) during the annual proclamation of April as Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness month in the City and County of Erie. During the 2016 Early Learning Expo free books courtesy of Hooked on Books for Kids Erie were provided to 245 children from 172 families. The 2016 Early Learning Expo celebrated its 10th year and marked the 3rd year of participation in the event by the Millcreek Mall and Widget Financial, including 30 vendors, 9 of those being direct early care and education providers. As the event is held every year in April, which is both Month of the Young Child and Child Abuse Prevention Month, a pinwheel (the national symbol of child abuse awareness and prevention) was provided to every child at the event. The Erie County Public Library piloted their remote library card sign-ups (using i-Pads) and Curious George was onsite to greet children and promote literacy. The Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits are now firmly established in the community as an Erie Together initiative, and Success By 6 continues to promote them at P-3 Governors Institute/Kindergarten Readiness Teams, and Kindergarten Registration Events across Erie County. This toolkit contains the recently revised Success By 6 Children Do Come with Directions booklet, among a variety of materials designed to inform families and to provide them with ideas and materials to help their young children grow in literacy and school readiness.