Early Care and Education 740

Children have access to high quality preschool

little boy playingWhat We Do

We fund preschool scholarships and efforts to increase the number of preschool slots in the county so that more low-income children can attend preschool. We engage community leaders to build awareness about the importance of quality early care and education, and the need to create access for all.

Why We Do It

Only half of Sonoma County’s preschool-age population is enrolled in preschool, and only 39% of Latino children. Economists have calculated that every dollar invested in high quality preschool returns $7 for the community. Children who attend a high quality preschool program are better prepared with the social and academic skills they need to succeed in school, college, career, and life.

Our Results

Our advocacy efforts and financial support have helped increase the availability of high-quality preschool in high-need areas across the County

Preschool Facilities Fund

Our staff presented to the Board of Supervisors on the need to expand preschool programs to accommodate the County’s 11,000 preschool-age children.

As a result, we are partnering with the Board to create a $655,000 fund to renovate preschool facilities. Our funds have helped to leverage additional state and federal dollars supporting expansion of facilities across the County, including an unprecedented $2.9 million in state and federal contracts that will help to save 264 subsidized preschool slots at risk of being lost.

The Fund will also support creation of 48 new slots, totaling 312 slots available in the County.

Slots Map of Sonoma CountyThe Facilities Fund will ensure 312 available slots in ECE Programs across the County:

  • 240 slots in Santa Rosa
  • 48 slots in Rohnert Park
  • 24 slots in Petaluma

$12 million return for the County in next five years

If we’re serious about making universal preschool one of our highest priorities, we cannot afford to lose one slot.

Supervisor Shirlee Zane

There could be no more important investment than this.

Supervisor James Gore

Value in Preschool (VIP) Scholarship Program

We fund VIP to provide eligible low-income children in the Santa Rosa area with scholarships to early care programs that have demonstrated a standard level of quality.

  • 28 early care programs meet the quality standards of a VIP-approved site and are currently offering slots for VIP scholars
  • 164 children whose families could otherwise not afford preschool received a VIP scholarship to a VIP-approved program and now have an opportunity to receive a high quality early education  

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