PROVIDENCE, RI- Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced today that kids.ri.gov has been redesigned as a parent-focused website, providing resources on early childhood education and development from prenatal to Pre-K. Raimondo made the announcement at the Children's Workshop in Warren, RI, a new RI Pre-K site.
The enhanced website was made possible through a one-year federal preschool development grant. The entire grant provided more than $4.19 million this year to strengthen Rhode Island's birth–5 system. Grant funds have been used to support the state's efforts to develop early childhood education and family-centered support programs.
"This grant has laid important groundwork as we look to continue to increase investments in early childhood education and development," said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. "Every child, regardless of their zip code, deserves a shot at a bright future."
"We are working together across state government to enhance our birth–5 system because it's the right thing to do," said Department of Human Services Director Courtney Hawkins. "These kids are the future of our state and deserve access to high-quality services from the moment they are born. I'm proud to work alongside my colleagues in government to make impactful changes that will shape the lives of our littlest citizens."
"Last week, we released our RICAS results, and I was asked the question, 'why are students performing better in the earlier grades?' The answer is that we are seeing the early impact of investments in high-quality early education, especially through the expansion of RI Pre-K," said Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. "Establishing that strong foundation for all students is an investment that pays dividends and sets students on a path to success. Engaging families in this work is a critical part of the process."
"Being a parent is arguably the most important job there is," said Jon Tyler, whose daughter attends state Pre-K in Warren. "That's why when my wife and I learned about a potential opportunity for our daughter Elyse to take part in high-quality Pre-K in Warren, we were thrilled. My sincere hope is that every family in Rhode Island, across every city and town, will have access to the same opportunity for free high-quality Pre-K that my family has enjoyed."
"Research demonstrates that 90% of brain development occurs within the first 5 years of life, and that high-quality early learning environments contribute positively to children's growth and development," said Bailey Kent, President & CEO of the Children's Workshop. "We are so fortunate to live and work in a state that understands that investments made during early childhood pay dividends for the rest of children's lives."
"Children's early learning, healthy development, and school readiness depend on ensuring that families have access to high-quality programs and resources from prenatal through age five, including high-quality child care, Head Start, RI Pre-K, early intervention, immunizations, early oral health care and early literacy," said Elizabeth Burke Bryant, Executive Director, Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and co-chair of the RI Early Learning Council. "The architecture of children's brains develops rapidly in the early years and this new website has all of the information for parents in one place that will help to ensure that young children have what they need to thrive."