By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie affirmed his commitment to early childhood education this week by outlining efforts to implement a state-funded readiness program.
He said efforts are underway to get the first phase of the program in place by the 2014-15 school year.
The project is being spearheaded by the Executive Office on Early Learning, which will utilize $32.5 million over a two year period.
The programs created are designed to support school readiness opportunities for about 3,500 4-year-olds who would not be eligible for kindergarten due to a new birthdate cutoff of July 31, starting in 2014. Eventually, the goal is a statewide early childhood education program for more 4-year-olds in Hawaii.
“Now that the action strategy is defined and we have the developmental milestones outlined in the Hawaii Early Learning and Development Standards, we have identified the best outcomes-based criteria for children to be used in the school readiness program,” said Terry Lock, the director of the Executive Office on Early Learning.
The action strategy also includes goals for health and development of children, support for families, and continuity in early childhood experiences.
“We are focusing on understanding what the current early childhood development and learning conditions are and identifying how they can be improved,” said Gov. Abercrombie.