School districts get funding for pre-K for 4-year-olds

WATERVLIET — Bright young faces are in the Watervliet school district’s four classrooms for four-year-olds. There’s also one for three year olds. They’re having fun and playing, but they’re also learning.

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Governor Kathy Hochul announced almost $11.7 million for pre-K for four-year-olds across New York State.

Watervliet is getting $233,806. School leaders say pre-K is important for development and growth.

“This is allowing us to continue funding full-day learning for our earliest learners,” said Dr. Donald Stevens, Watervliet School Superintendent.

Watervliet is one of 5 districts in the Capital Region getting funding in this round of grants.
Cohoes is getting $180,000.
Duanesburg: $180,000
Northville: $150,000
Canajoharie: $83,967

The expansion grants are part of $125 million in the state budget to expand access to full-day pre-K, helping little learners.

“We know that when students come in to kindergarten, the more robust their vocabulary and literacy skills and alphabet and numbers, all of that development that they have makes them more successful as elementary school students. And in our community, that’s something that we need,” said Dr. Stevens.

Watervliet has had pre-K programming for about 15 years. They were fortunate to have the available space.

School leaders apply for every funding opportunity they can.

The city now has 72 four-year-olds getting early opportunities. The program is helping families, as well.

“We have a hard-working community and some of them need child care,” said Stevens. “This is an opportunity for them to have their kids in a safe, healthy place for up to six hours a day and that’s important to everybody in the city of Watervliet.”

Governor Hochul’s office says more pre-K funding will be available later this fiscal year. School districts are encouraged to apply.