Continued federal funding for preschool expansion grant

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce 12 school districts have joined the Department to open or expand high-quality public preschool programs in their communities. Over $4.2 million will be distributed to the districts during the 2016-17 school year as part of the continued funding of the U.S. Department of Education’s Preschool Expansion Grant. The funds are in addition to $6.5 million that are being distributed during 2015-16 to Preschool Expansion Grant subgrantees.

The Preschool Expansion Grant is a U.S. Department of Education Grant authorized to provide high-quality preschool programs to low and moderate- income Maine families with a primary goal of providing teacher and administrator early childhood education training and professional development.

The new or expanded preschool programs must provide a six-hour school day and 175-day program grounded in research-based curriculum and vocabulary programs that engage students from diverse needs.

Last month, 34 preschool classrooms opened or expanded under the grant to provide over 500 children access to a quality public preschool program. By 2018-19, over 750 children will be served in public preschool programs funded, in part, by the grant.

In October, nearly 100 preschool teachers and instructional coaches attended research-based curriculum training. The curriculum training was the second session in a series of four 6-hour trainings to implement research-based preschool curriculum.

In November, 12 district representatives will become certified trainers in a proven language and literacy program. As part of the grant, district representatives will become certified trainers in Hanen’s Learning Language and Loving It™(LLLI™). The LLLI trainers will then provide language and literacy sessions to early childhood practitioners in their local communities, including public educators, family child care providers, Head Start staff, special educators, and families.

For more information about Maine’s Preschool Expansion Grant, contact Preschool Expansion Grant Manager Deb Lajoie at 624-6613 or Deborah.J.Lajoie@maine.gov.