Preschool blending

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WHAT IT MEANS: Early childhood centers draw funding from multiple sources, including state-subsidized child care, Head Start and state pre-kindergarten.

WHAT IT ACCOMPLISHES: The centers can improve their offerings by taking advantage of the particular benefits of each source, for example, the social workers required by Head Start and the certified teachers required by state pre-k. Also, half-day programs can be combined to create full-day programs.

HOW IT WORKS: To confirm eligibility for each type of funding, center staff must document such things as children’s age and academic risk factors, family income and parents’ work schedules. They must follow all program requirements, too.

WHO’S WHO: Not all children are eligible for every program, but the services they receive typically are all but indistinguishable. “The only way to tell the Head Start kids from the pre-k kids is that the Head Start kids brush their teeth after lunch,” quips Paula Cottone from CPS.