Oregon is launching a model for a new publicly-funded, high quality preschool system now known as Preschool Promise. Gwyn Bachtle, the Early Learning Division’s coordinator for Preschool Promise, is leading this work with a strong commitment to supporting all of Oregon’s young children and families with a focus on equity and expanding opportunities to underserved populations.
Why expand public preschool?
Young children in every community across Oregon are curious and capable and eager to learn. When children have access to high-quality preschool, they are more likely to be prepared socially and academically for later learning and opportunities.
There are currently gaps in who has access to preschool. Affordable high-quality, culturally-relevant preschool options for families experiencing poverty and families of color are very limited.
There is a bright side. There are child care providers, schools, and community-based organizations that have unique capacities and knowledge that enable them to meet the needs of local families.
All families that want access to high-quality preschool in Oregon should have it. The benefits to children, their families, our communities and state are tremendous. This new model is a first step in this direction by providing free, public preschool for families experiencing poverty. The model leverages high-quality, local, culturally-relevant preschool programs. It will start small to allow the state to learn what works. It will provide a path for funding public preschool for families that couldn’t otherwise afford it.
- Oregon’s mixed-delivery model, created through legislation in 2015, will allow Oregon to fund preschool in a variety of high-quality settings.
- This model has been chosen to expand access to public preschool in Oregon. The implementation details of this model will be developed in partnership with communities. We will learn a lot in the first year and adapt and improve as we go.
- This model recognizes that high-quality learning experiences can take place in a wide variety of settings and families should be able to choose the setting that works best for them and their child.
- The state will have the opportunity to tap into rich community knowledge around how best to serve young children and families. This knowledge can be applied to early learning policies and programs across the state, in addition to refining the mixed-delivery preschool model.
- This model will connect high-quality preschool programs through their regional Early Learning Hub which will allow for shared learning among the programs and will allow the Hub to help facilitate connections to programs for families across the region.
- Participating preschool programs will demonstrate their quality by receiving a 4 or5-star rating in the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS). There is support for programs to identify their strengths and areas of improvement and work toward becoming star-rated. Support for programs that serve culturally and linguistically diverse children and families is being prioritized.
- Families up to 200% of the poverty line will be eligible for free preschool in participating programs.
- The mixed-delivery model is limited pilot and will likely fund four or five regions of the state.
- Details of how mixed-delivery will be implemented are being determined. They include: the process for Early Learning Hubs to apply to implement mixed-delivery; the standards preschool programs will have to meet to receive public funds; the type of monitoring and compliance programs will receive, etc.
- The Early Learning Council is charged with making many of these policy decisions and there will be public engagement and opportunities for input throughout the process.
- Funding for mixed-delivery preschool will be directed through selected Early Learning Hubs in order to encourage collaboration among programs and a regional approach to serving families.