Early childhood education experts from throughout Long Island have joined together to consider a regional model for Pre-K. These efforts are being led by Long Island’s three BOCES – Nassau, Eastern Suffolk and Western Suffolk – and the Child Care Councils of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Called the Long Island Pre-K Initiative, the group is already providing professional development to teachers and administrators from both public and community-based Pre-K programs.
In October, the initiative held an island-wide conference to discuss policies, best practices, current resources and possible funding streams. In addition to education leaders from Long Island, Regent Roger Tilles and representatives from the New York State Education Department participated.
“We have spent the last year building partnerships and learning what the real needs are on Long Island,” said Lucinda Hurley, a founder of the initiative and Nassau BOCES’ Executive Director for Strategic Planning. “The work that we do in the next year will be critical for deciding whether a regional Pre-K model is needed and workable.”Grant funding for the Long Island Pre-K Initiative is provided by the Rauch and Hagedorn foundations. Both groups support organizations dedicated to promoting social equity and finding solutions through the exchange of ideas.
The partnership of the BOCES and child care councils is critical, according to Hurley. The BOCES have strong relationships with the public schools and the child care councils are just as connected to the community-based organizations providing Pre-K throughout the island. Other important organizations have links to these main groups, including Long Island’s colleges and universities, public libraries, PTAs and the Parent-Child Home Program.
“We are bringing together the island’s best thinkers on this topic to ensure that what we recommend is not only the most appropriate solution for our children but is also achievable,” said Hurley.
For more information, visit www.nassauboces.org/pre-k.