Delaware lands early childhood grant, misses on preschool bucks

Delaware earned a five-year, $5.5-million federal grant to enhance care for infants and toddlers, but fell short in its bid for preschool expansion funds.

Starting next month, Delaware will add 24 slots to early childhood programs in Kent and Sussex Counties while expanding existing services for another 48 children across the three counties. The grant focuses on children aged three or younger and will be administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We know children begin to learn the day they are born, and progress made in the first months and years is vital to their life-long success,” said Governor Jack Markell in a statement.

The announcement came during a White House Summit on Early Education held Wednesday. At that event, the administration pledged up to $750 million for early childhood education, including more than $226 million to establish or expand preschool programs in 18 states. Delaware was one of 36 states to bid for the preschool expansion, but was not among those chosen.

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The state did win a Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant in 2011 worth just under $50 million.

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