By Nicole Rosenthal, Patch, September 16, 2021
The Garden State has committed to make universal preschool programs available to all New Jersey families within the next several years, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday.
The New Jersey Department of Education has been tasked with creating a "strategic plan" for a universal preschool program in the state, Murphy said during a news conference and visit to Dr. Charles Smith Elementary Childhood Center in Palisades Park, which boasts a state-funded preschool program.
The Universal Pre-K Strategic Plan will focus on the following:
- Prioritizing districts and setting a timeline for expansion;
- Ensuring students have appropriate facilities and quality programming;
- Involving childcare providers and Head Start in planning to avoid displacing existing high-quality early learning centers;
- Optimizing funding streams, including federal funds from the federal Build Back Better Plan; and
- Utilizing best practices from other states that offer expanded/universal pre-k programs.