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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Awards $800,000 to 4 Kids Early Learning Center; Enhances Braddock's Early Childhood Education.

BRADDOCK, Pa., March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell today continued his quest to enhance the Commonwealth's early childhood learning network by awarding the Heritage Health Foundation, Inc. (HHFI) $800,000 in state funds at the 4 Kids Early Learning Center. The foundation received the state Department of Education grant because of the success of its 4 Kids Early Learning Center, and the funds will be used for mentoring and consulting work.

"Woodland Hills School District funneled $594,000 in block grant funding to establish a full-day kindergarten program here in Braddock," said Governor Rendell. "Now for the first time, 420 kindergartners experience full-day learning and we are helping lay the foundation for a successful early childhood education system. Programs like 4 Kids mean children in this area will get a jumpstart on their education, and experience more success as they begin to pave the way to their futures."

The 4 Kids program primarily serves children from low-income families who either currently exhibit or are at risk of developing a variety of social, cognitive, emotional and behavior challenges. The 4 Kids Learning Center works to improve the readiness of children for lifelong learning by satisfying their full range of developmental needs. They offer activities in an environment highly conducive to learning and discovery, to ensure that participating children are ready to succeed in school as they enter kindergarten. 4 Kids has served over 1500 children since it opened in 1998.

"Giving children a helping hand in their early developmental years is crucial to their lifelong success," said the Governor. "Programs like 4 Kids focus their efforts on those children most in need here in Allegheny County and across the state - children who will flourish thanks to their help."

More than 1 out of every 3 Pennsylvania children are below proficient on our state reading tests, and more than 2 in 5 students fall below the standard in math. Last year, 410 schools across the state failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind. According to a year-end report to the legislature on Block Grant funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, more than half of Pennsylvania school districts are using at least part of their Block Grant for full-day kindergarten - helping nearly 51,000 children learn in full-day kindergarten classes. For the first time ever, more than half of kindergartners will be in full-day programs this school year. At least $2 out of $3 in Block Grants funding is used for early childhood education - school districts choose how to spend their grants.

Under Pennsylvania's Block Grant Funding Program, nearly 3,000 Pennsylvania children now attend publicly funded pre-kindergarten. Combined with the $15 million Head Start funding in the 04-05 Budget, more than 5,400 children are in state-funded quality pre-school programs. This is the first year that Pennsylvania public schools have ever offered publicly funded pre- kindergarten.

To learn more about the Block Grant Funding Program please visit http://www.governor.state.pa.us/ or click onto the Pennsylvania Department of Education website at http://www.pde.state.pa.us/.

CONTACT: Kate Philips, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, +1-717-783-1116.

CONTACT: Kate Philips, Pennsylvania Office of the Governor, +1-717-783-1116

Web site: http://www.governor.state.pa.us/ http://www.pde.state.pa.us/ http://www.state.pa.us/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 8, 2005
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