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Pre-K programs important to the welfare of West Virginia


The Journal

Pre K kids Brantley Nichols, and Noa Brennian jump and dance along with Kimberly Kaufmann, Pre-K teacher, as they follow along with a YouTube Video “Koo Koo Kanga Roo-Brrrr!” at Step Ahead PreSchool in Martinsburg. (Journal photo by Ron Agnir)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — West Virginia has recently become one of the few states leading the charge in education by helping more children attend Pre-Kindergarten.

Last year, West Virginia’s Pre-K program cost $142 million — nearly a third of which was covered through federal funding — to educate 14,940 children, including 3-year-olds with special needs and all 4-year-olds, according to a recent report by the Associated Press. AP states the program was built up slowly over the past decade through layers of legislative wins that strengthened accessibility, partnerships, and most critically, funding. Access to preschool is also widely available in Washington, D.C., Vermont and Florida.

“We have some very dedicated champions at the Legislature who really felt the need to look at the welfare of the children in our state,” Monica DellaMea, told the AP. DellaMea oversees early learning at the state education department.

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