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Preschool/childcare center coming to Calif.

Posted: September 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 19, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

A multimillion-dollar preschool and child-care center that education leaders say will help close achievement gaps between low-income and wealthier students is coming to California.

The center is part of a national network of independently run early education centers operated under an umbrella organization known as Educare. The Educare model calls for public-private partnerships to provide funding; professional development for center staff; full-day, year-round services for families; and a focus on research-based practices that help children learn through exploration and play.

“It’s taking all the research and making it real,” said John Porter, superintendent of the Franklin-McKinley School District in San Jose, where the new center will be located next to Santee Elementary School.

Research on early childhood education shows that year-round care from highly qualified teachers is crucial to academic success. Because publicly funded programs generally don’t have enough money to make that level of care a reality for low-income children, Educare centers — there are 18 others in the country — supplement public funding with privately raised funds.

The San Jose center will be the first Educare center in California. There is also one in development in Los Angeles, according to Educare’s website.

Nearly 200 students from infancy to age 5 who are enrolled in federally funded Head Start, state-funded preschool or a local childcare program for children of teen parents will be eligible to attend classes at the center when it opens next fall. The staff at these programs will also relocate to the new center and will begin receiving additional training this year and next year to make sure the San Jose center is meeting the Educare standards. The long-term vision includes a professional development institute where early child-care educators from around the state can take classes and observe model classrooms.

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