In November 2022, the Early Childhood Alliance stated that, “The Wasatch Back is a childcare desert.” Within PCSD boundaries, there are about 1800 children under age 5 (600 preschool-aged at last count).
In Park City’s childcare desert, the promise of affordable Preschool for all 4-year-olds and many 3-year-olds is a welcome relief. Thanks to the community’s overwhelming support for the school projects bond, which passed in 2021, those critical seats are being created in current construction projects at each elementary school.
PCEF’S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE PRESCHOOL SUPPORT
“Thanks to $100,000+ in Park City Education Foundation funding each year, made possible with support from critical partners like Park City Mountain, Vail Resorts EpicPromise, and Westgate Foundation; PCSD is able to provide affordable, high-quality preschool for up to 190 three- and four-year-olds,” said Abby McNulty, President and CEO of PCEF. “We have always made Preschool a major priority; in fact, the program started in 2010 with seed funding from PCEF donors.”
More than 2,000 students have gone through the program since its inception.
“I don’t know how we would do our program without the Education Foundation,” said PCSD Preschool Director Kathy Anderson. “All of our opportunities are because of them. PCEF is always there. If we don’t get a state grant - they figure out a way for funding. They are always there to help out, our biggest cheerleader, and always supportive and helpful.”
Initially, preschool registration was first-come, first-served: the first families to sign up were admitted to the program. However, when people started camping overnight in their cars in the district office parking lot to ensure their children could get access – the process was switched to a lottery, and the need to increase capacity became even more urgent.
Because preschool is not funded by the state, PCEF will continue to support it as one of its 8 signature initiatives, and expand that support when the 600 seats become available.
PCSD Preschool By The Numbers:
- Current Preschool Seats → 190
- Projected Preschool Seats → 600
- Target for JRES/MPES Preschool Expansions → Fall 2024
- Target for PPES/TSES Preschool Expansions → Fall 2025
PRESCHOOL’S COMMUNITY IMPACT
“When PCSD’s expanded Preschool comes online, it will have a profound impact on our community,” said McNulty. “Parents and caregivers of our community’s 4-year-olds, as well as many 3-year-olds, will have a solution - and the program will provide far-reaching future benefits for our community.”
A few examples…
- Consistent, safe, nurturing, academically enriching, developmentally appropriate environment.
- Prepares 4-year-olds for kindergarten with early literacy, numeracy, and social skill building.
- Creates positive connections to school
- Increases high school graduation rates.
- Improves years of college completed.
- Augments lifetime earned income.
Plus, every dollar invested in preschool provides a $13 dollar return for our community. This is because, when the education gap is addressed before kindergarten, it cuts down on expensive interventions in early elementary years.
Early childhood care and education, Anderson said, are critical for our littlest community members as they begin the journey to reach their academic and lifelong potential…
“Quality child care is so important for children to be successful as they enter kindergarten - and for years to come. To have the ability to provide safe places for our children to learn and grow so their parents can go to work will be transformational,” said Anderson. “Of course, this requires a dedicated staff who are paid competitively for their work in the early childhood field.”
2023/2024 PRESCHOOL LOTTERY
Preschool Lottery Registration is open until February 24, 2023.
Click here for more information.
When you lower the cost of preschool - you raise the odds of success.
DONATIONS to PCEF support Preschool and educator-powered initiatives that inspire all Park City students to reach their academic and lifelong potential.