Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced that the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education was awarded $33 million by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Education for a renewal of Alabama’s Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5) initiative over the next three years.
“Alabama’s youngest citizens are the future of our state, which is why I am so proud to welcome this critical funding. As we continue to grow our First Class Pre-K program, we must also expand its learning methods and best practices from birth through third grade,” Governor Ivey said. “When students are successful in their first few years of school, they are much more likely to be successful throughout their life. I applaud Secretary Jeana Ross and her team at the Department of Early Childhood Education for their important work in securing these funds, and of course, for securing a strong future for the children of Alabama.”
With the support of a PDG B-5 renewal grant, Alabama will continue longstanding efforts to expand access to high quality early childhood care and education for all children. The renewal grant will build upon the successes of the nationally-recognized First Class Pre-K, First Teacher Home Visiting, and Pre-K – 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning (P-3) programs as well as promote Alabama’s Born Ready movement launched earlier this month.
“This award will assist us in moving closer to realizing the vision that all Alabama children are healthy and emotionally ready to enter kindergarten, particularly low-income and disadvantaged children, and strong supports are provided to assist families in making informed choices,” said Secretary Ross.
Alabama’s PDG B-5 work aligns with Governor Ivey’s Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative, a comprehensive education-to-workforce agenda with a focus on the birth-five continuum, recognizing a child’s first five years as foundational for lifelong success. The PDG B-5 renewal grant will ensure Alabama meets the goals laid out in the Strong Start, Strong Finish initiative while continuing to improve system coordination.
During 2019, the Department of Early Childhood Education, along with 100 other state agencies and non-governmental organizations, completed a comprehensive assessment of early care and education needs in the state of Alabama and constructed a strategic plan to meet these needs. The PDG B-5 renewal grant will ensure Alabama continues to deliver high quality early childhood care and education while expanding access to programs that support all children, especially low-income, rural, disadvantaged children.
Alabama received a $10.6 million PDG B-5 award in December 2018.