Stories from the NFCCA Newsletter, the “Northwood News”

Northwood News ♦ April 2019

Second in a Series on Local Child Care

Local Pre-Kindergarten Options

By Frances Spiegel

In Maryland, children are not required to attend school until kindergarten (age five by September 1st) and, even then, the kindergarten requirement can be waived if a child is in full-time daycare or if a parent feels that the child is not mature enough to attend.  However, by the time children turn four, many parents are looking for a structured pre-kindergarten (pre-K) program to ease kids socially and academically into full-day kindergarten.

Public Programs

Private Pre-K Programs

Update on Universal Pre-K

During the 2018 election, many local candidates proclaimed support for “universal pre-K.” As it turns out, “universal pre-K” in our context does not refer to publicly funded pre-K for all children, regardless of family income, as it does in some other states.  The Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education recommended in its January 2019 Interim Report that pre-K in Maryland be free to families with incomes up to 300 percent of the FPL (approximately $75,000 for a family of four), with some public funding provided to families on a sliding scale between 300 percent and 600 percent of the FPL.  Families with incomes more than 600 percent of the FPL would have to pay the full cost to attend a public pre-K program.

These recommendations still need to be finalized, converted into legislation, voted on, and funded.  The bottom line:  we are still several years away from state-wide “universal pre-K,” which, even when fully implemented, is unlikely to result in free public pre-K for all students.

[Frances Spiegel lives on Margate Road.  She attended pre-K at the Northwood High School Child Development Lab in 1982 and turned out okay.]    ■

Part 1: Local Child Care Options for Babies, Young Children

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