State Representatives Larry B. Butler (D-Waterbury) and Jeffrey Berger (D-Waterbury) applauded Governor Dannel Malloy’s announcement that new early childhood education slots have been identified for Waterbury, meaning that state funding will be provided for preschool opportunities for 51 additional young people.

The new slots are part of the education reform bill backed by both lawmakers and passed by the legislature this spring.    Studies have shown that children having access to high quality early education are more likely to succeed in grades K-12.

“Increasing access to preschool is the foundation of our education reform initiatives,” said Rep. Butler. “Closing the achievement gap is our ultimate goal. We cannot remain last in the country.  I’m happy for Reed School in my district.”

“It is our continuing commitment in Hartford to build on the foundation of education reform by focusing on the pre-school building block,” Rep. Berger said. “This prepares our youth for educational success by re-affirming the importance of the preschool model from 3rd grade on and further reinforces the importance of these early years. There is still more to do but this is, once again, a positive step.”

According to the state Department of Education, grants for the new slots in Waterbury will be as follows:
Children’s Center GWHN- 3 full day
Easter Seals All Kids- 20 full day
Board of Education (Reed School)- 28 school day

Statewide, the sweeping education reform package (SB458) targets almost $6.8 million in new funding for increased access to high quality early childhood education.  With the funding, 1,000 additional slots in 36 municipalities will be administered through the Connecticut School Readiness program, a state Department of Education initiative designed to provide access to high quality preschool for children ages three and four.

The education reform package also creates a pilot program to enhance literacy for students in kindergarten through third grade. It also requires the state Department of Education to develop reading assessments so children that are reading deficient are identified early so they may get the help they need quickly.