A new collaborative preschool program in Springfield, Massachusetts was announced on Tuesday that will help to expand the available classroom space in the city of Springfield and provide opportunity for low income families in Springfield to have access to preschool education for their kids.
The Obama Administration approved a $60 million grant to support the program, one of five across the state of Massachusetts that will benefit from the grant. In Springfield, $2.8 million was spent on constructing a 37,000 square foot facility that will be called the Early Childhood Education Center. The goal is to provide additional access to quality childhood education in the hopes of increasing elementary school performance and community participating.
The facility is more than just a public school. The Springfield Cooperative Preschool (SCOOP), is made up of the city’s public schools, Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start, Square One, and the YMCA of Greater Springfield. These preschools will all take advantage of classroom space in the Early Childhood Education Center.
More importantly, the SCOOP members will also take part in a variety of training and development sessions meant to enhance their teachers, and they will all share the same curriculum. Thanks to SCOOP and the Early Childhood Education center, 350 preschoolers in Springfield will have the opportunity this Fall to start their education off on the right foot.
Members of SCOOP believe that preschool programs not only improve school performance in the long term, but also reduce poverty and crime. They hope to see those same benefits in the Springfield community as a result of the Early Childhood Education Center.
The school will be open to any child that is age four as of Sept. 1 that has not attended a preschool or formal childcare program and whose family’s income falls 200 percent below the federal guidelines. This collaborative effort will hopefully make waves in the city of Springfield that will be felt in their community for years to come.