Universal Pre-Kindergarten

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) provides funding to improve the quality of preschool programs for children from the age of two years nine months until they are kindergarten eligible.

Preschool classrooms in towns and cities with schools and districts at risk of or determined to be under-performing are given funding preference. These schools and districts include those which have been identified for improvement, corrective action, or districts with a high percentage of students scoring in levels 1 and 2 on the MCAS exams. Low-income communities are also given preference.

Funding for UPK services may be used to: increase teacher salaries and benefits, strengthen and improve teacher skills and practice, support accreditation activities, provide or facilitate access to full day - full year services for working families, provide additional services to meet children's physical, social, and emotional needs and support the engagement of children's families. Child and program assessment tools used to improve practice are also supported by the grant.

Program types vary and include public, private, non-profit and for-profit preschools, child care centers, nursery schools, preschools operating within public and private schools and school districts, head start programs and independent and system-affiliated family child care homes. A few programs are able to serve families with various work schedules.

UPK funding decreased significantly between FY 2009 and FY 2016. Reductions in funding reduce the size of the grant eligible programs receive potentially affecting the overall quality of the programs for children and families.

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