Mayor Vincent C. Gray, State Superintendent of Education Jesús Aguirre, and Deputy Mayor of Healthy and Human Services Beatriz “BB” Otero announced today the increase of 219 additional infant and toddler childcare slots at a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the District’s early childhood education expansion.
“I believe the District of Columbia has the best early childhood education program in the country,” said Mayor Gray. “This was an opportunity to continue to advocate for early childhood education and lay the foundation for our three-and-four- year olds. I’m pleased to celebrate our providers and the great moves they’ve made in just four months toward closing the gaps that exists in quality and demand in infant and toddler programs across the District.”
The announcement was made at Loving Care Day Nursery in Ward 5 where 30 additional children will be able to enroll at the new facility due to funding from the Office of the State Superintendent’s (OSSE) Fiscal Year 2014 Infant and Toddler Facilities Improvement Grant.
Earlier this year, OSSE awarded 13 applicants the improvement grant to aid in the expansion of high-quality childcare services and programs. The grants were used for new facilities development and pre-development; facilities renovations, repairs, and move-in; and start-up expenses, such as early childhood classroom materials, equipment, professional developments costs, and additional eligible activities.
“We know there is a direct link to student achievement and behavior to the conditions of educational facilities,” said State Superintendent Aguirre. “These new slots will continue our goal of ensuring all District residents – starting at birth – are prepared to achieve success in college, careers and life.”
“I hope this sets the foundation for the future to continue to expand slots. This year we expanded by 200 slots, I hope that each year we set a goal to expand to 500 additional slots.” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Beatriz “BB” Otero.
More than 3,500 District infants and toddlers in over 300 child development centers are currently served through the District’s subsidized childcare program, and the grant aimed to increase the capacity by an additional 200 slots for children ages six weeks to 36 months. Children and families living in Wards 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8 were targeted for the expansion efforts.
View the ribbon-cutting photo gallery.