CONCORD, NH — The State of New Hampshire this week formally applied to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a three-year, $30 million Pre-School Development Grant. The federal funds would implement the recommendations developed under a $3.8 million federal planning grant awarded to the Granite State in January 2018. The project is a joint effort from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the New Hampshire Department of Education, the University of New Hampshire, and several community stakeholder groups.
“New Hampshire takes pride in its progress toward building a robust early childhood care and education mixed delivery system of high quality that reaches all families, especially those with the most need, such as those children who live with disabilities, are experiencing housing instability, food insecurity, or living with a caregiver with a substance abuse disorder,” writes Gov. Chris Sununu in a letter accompanying the grant application.
Sununu has designated UNH as the lead administrator for this project. If awarded, the $30 million federal grant would fund programs to build capacities for children learning at home, in childcare, and in formal pre-school programs. This would include a Welcome Families Website to give families up-to-date information on available resources, support for New Hampshire’s 18 Family Resource Centers, and expanded coaching of Play-Based Kindergarten techniques.
“Not all children are enrolled in formal pre-school programs. Some are in childcare. Some are home with their parents, or other caregivers. But they are all learning, because the developing human brain is an unparalleled learning machine. We must take advantage of this short window when children are capable of unmatched levels of learning. This child-centered focus is the key to New Hampshire’s early childhood education strategy,” writes Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut in a column outlining New Hampshire’s early childhood education strategy.
“What is encouraging is that everyone, every parent, grandparent, neighbor, friend, caregiver, and educator has the capacity – or can build the capacity – to engage in child-building activities. Rather than focusing on putting all children in the same pre-school environment, New Hampshire’s approach is to build supports for homes, childcare, and preschools,” wrote Edelblut.
The complete Pre-School Development Grant application is below.