City-Funded Tempe Preschool Program Helps Children Grow In Its First Year

By Mariana Dale
Published: Monday, June 25, 2018 - 12:02pm
Updated: Monday, June 25, 2018 - 2:33pm

Thew Elementary School
Carrie Jung/KJZZ
Thew Elementary School kindergartners play an educational game in 2017.

The city of Tempe has reported that a pilot program offering free pre-school to low-income children in the city is already making a positive change for kids and their families.

By the end of its first year Tempe Preschool Resource Expansion, pre-enrolled 360 3 and 4-year-olds in classrooms at Kyrene and Tempe Elementary School Districts.

An analysis from the city shows the majority of these kids improved their literacy, social and emotional skills.

Tempe Preschool developmental goals
City of Tempe
By the end of the first year students enrolled in Tempe's free preschool grew in a variety of areas.

RELATED: Why Tempe Created A Free Preschool Program

Marie Raymond oversees the city’s collaboration with local public schools. She says it wasn’t just the children who benefited from the program.

“Part of this was really to improve the overall economic well-being of our families,” Raymond said. “In fact, 91 percent of those who responded to our surveys indicated that they either went back to work or increased work hours, which is huge.”

The average income for families using the program is $26,500. 

The program garnered several grants in its first year. 

For example, the Virginia G. Piper Trust awarded the program $510,400 to provide professional development and the Helios Education Foundation committed $1.3 million to research the impact of the program on students over four years. 

 The program will continue through at least the next year and the city has convened a working group to help determine its future.

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