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Early childhood education programs can play an extremely supportive role in early childhood learning and development. However, programs vary greatly in quality, from environments where children have few resources and caregivers with limited educational levels, to environments where highly informed and trained professionals engage children in vocabulary-rich, socially interactive activities. . and kinesthetics that prepare them for kindergarten. We strive to increase Philadelphia children’s access to these high-quality programs. Our approach focuses on strengthening the area itself: supporting the childcare business to improve the quality of their services, maintaining high quality and maintaining a sound financial position, allowing them to serve families every year. We also support efforts to create higher quality early childhood education (ECE) programs in underdeveloped neighborhoods, as well as efforts to protect more public support from ECE and ways for ECE professionals to improve their skills.
Since 2014, more than 11,000 more children can be served in high-quality ECE centers in Philadelphia each year. The joint and ongoing commitment to supporting the childcare sector has helped to achieve the improvement we see throughout the city. Today, 37% of Philadelphia’s total childcare seats are rated high by the state-run Keystone STARS rating system – up from 25% in 2014 – and work continues to increase the share of high-quality ECE seats as they still there are many families – and in particular low-income families – that do not have access to high-quality educational opportunities for their children.
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Our approach to expanding access to high-quality ECE options began with research. To understand the existence of high-quality ECE in Philadelphia, as well as the barriers to enlargement, some key questions need to be answered:
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The first was an analysis by the Reinvestment Fund, which produced a first-of-its-kind report on supply, demand and the number of available places in programs of any quality level in each neighborhood of Philadelphia. The report shows that supply and demand generally match relatively well, which means that there are enough places for children whose families need some childcare. However, the delivery of
Programming, or ECE, was a small minority compared to offering low-quality or unfamiliar software. Clearly, something needs to be done if we are to provide more early childhood opportunities for children. This childcare analysis is updated annually – it tracks progress in overall quality improvement and changes in neighborhood absences – and the data is provided through the Childcare Map, an interactive digital tool where anyone can access childcare records. children in every area of the city. .
The second was a study by the Non-Profit Finance Fund. Among some key findings, the report highlights the fact that most ECE centers, despite their quality, operate very close to the profit point in terms of their finances. He also noted the fact that the public subsidy does not cover the full cost of high-quality childcare. These findings make it clear that the centers need access to another source of revenue if they want to invest in quality improvement, expand to serve more children or even successfully deal with the one-off unexpected costs that often arise, while doing business.
Finally, Child Trends completed an evaluation of one of the city’s key programs for improving the quality of child care. This assessment highlights the need for strategic deployment of technical assistance, monitoring service delivery and its effects, and designing services in a way that meets the needs of a number of childcare centers, educators and technical assistance providers. The study also provided a plan for future efforts to improve quality. This study laid the groundwork for countries and communities across the country to design or improve ECE quality improvement initiatives and has already been used to improve support in Philadelphia.
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With more information on where the gaps in high-quality ECE are most noticeable, how the strongest efforts to improve the quality and financial constraints faced by ECE suppliers can be designed, we were ready to support efforts to strategically improve quality.
Through investment in Success by 6, a program previously led by the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, more than 230 centers in the region have been upgraded from STAR 2 to STAR 3, a quality programming threshold measured by Pennsylvania Keystone since STARS System.First Up has taken on this role and is expanding and improving its efforts to help centers achieve high levels of quality, including the Early Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP). The William Penn Foundation supported the launch of EQUIP in 2019 and supported its continuation at the end of 2021. In the first two years, EQUIP supported 75% of the participating early learning programs to achieve a high quality rating.
We also supported a program known as Aspire to Inspire, which focuses on centers that have not been involved with Keystone STARS, a quality assessment and improvement system, and helps them understand the value of using STARS development guidelines. of a more educational environment. This is done under the auspices of the Coalition for Urban Affairs with the partner agency The Kimble Group. Through this work, more centers have become part of the STARS system and are ready to take the next step in high quality. The William Penn Foundation continues to support the Kimble Group’s work with STAR 1 suppliers, thus building a pipeline to the highest level of quality.
Enlargement is another way to provide better quality early learning opportunities in neighborhoods where data shows they are most needed. In response to research showing the very limited tools of ECE providers to cover the large initial costs associated with enlargement, the Reinvestment Fund and the Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) collaborated to establish and manage the Quality Fund.
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Since 2014, the Quality Fund has been a source of capital for high-quality ECE suppliers. The Quality Fund provides support for business planning and facility-related financing to help high-quality providers expand their services to reach more low-income families by creating new locations or expanding facilities. The Quality Fund has supported the creation of around 3,000 new places in high-quality ECE programs. More than 100 full-time and part-time jobs have been created through these expansion projects. By working with ECE providers who have a successful history, the Quality Fund is helping to create a new space that will serve thousands of children each year for the foreseeable future.
In addition to the Quality Fund, we also supported the creation of a revolving credit fund that offers very low-interest loans to high-quality suppliers to help them support their programming. Based in part on a study by the Non-Profit Financial Fund showing the low financial margins of ECE suppliers, as well as the closure of a number of high-quality suppliers due to unexpected costs, it became clear that simply maintaining the high quality of existing quality centers is necessary to maintain of sufficient supply. Without a flexible and accessible source of capital, such as the new revolving credit fund, there is a real risk that talented and skilled professionals will leave the sector at unexpected costs, such as repairing facilities.
As we move toward our goal of providing access to high-quality early childhood education for all children in Philadelphia, our support for improving the quality of child care and expanding high quality is designed to promote meaningful and sustainable benefits. .
Assessing changes in the supply and demand for childcare in … A recent analysis of the Child Care Reinvestment Fund tracks changes over time in the supply, demand and shortage of childcare.
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Improving the Quality of Child Care Centers in Greater Philadelphia The Success By 6® (SB6) initiative is designed to help early care and education centers improve and maintain quality in Pennsylvania’s Keystone STARS quality assessment and improvement system (QRIS). ). Keystone STARS is a national QRIS consisting of four levels, STAR 1 to 4. Achieving high quality early care and education is a critical activity to promote the positive development of children in Philadelphia and the country, especially for children from low-income families. SB6 was launched in 2007 by United Way (UW) in Greater Philadelphia and New Jersey with funding from the William Penn Foundation, United Way and other community partners. The centers participating in the 18-24 month initiative receive intensive technical assistance, funding to upgrade the program and other resources aimed at moving Keystone STARS from STAR 2 to STAR 3. In addition, SB6 supports sustainability in the centers by providing leadership in development, as well as financial awards for centers that have achieved STAR 3 or 4. SB6 is at a point of implementation that is ideal for reflection and evaluation. In the last eight years, SB6 has hired 368 centers to participate in the initiative and has achieved overall success (moving the center to STAR 3 or
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