The September meeting of the Early Childhood Education Task Force focused a large portion of its time gaining an understanding of the options for mixed-delivery preschool, which is a model defined as mixing two or more of the three major types of early childhood education:

  • Private Child Care
  • State-Funded Public Preschool
  • Head start (for 3 to 5 year olds) or Early Head Start (for infants up to 3 years)

This blending is an optional model that can be done in a single classroom or in an entire program by following the standards of the highest quality program. The reasons for blending the programs include:

  1. Being able to use two to three funding streams at once to increase classroom quality and staff wages
  2. Increasing access for families through increasing hours of operation, resources, and availability of openings for children.

Mixed delivery preschool models can look very different depending on the types of programs being blended and the needs of the community. All of the following are options for partnerships within communities:

  • A public preschool classroom, complete with teaching staff, in a private child care facility
  • A public school and a private childcare program where children attend three hours of public school preschool and are then transported to a private childcare program for the remainder of the day
  • A classroom with public school preschool students and Head Start students that is funded by state funds and federal funds
  • A private child care program that reserves a standing number of slots for Head Start students at all times and receives additional federal funding from the local Head Start grantee

 The Task Force heard examples from Dr. Whitney Stevenson from Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) on how Fayette County has been utilizing several mixed delivery classrooms since 1992. Some FCPS preschool students have a full-day slot in a high-quality private child care program as a part of the district’s partnership program, while others have transportation between the public preschool sites and the private child care programs that the children attend the remainder of the school day.  These partnerships have many benefits for both students and families, including full-day hours of care for working families.  

When the district implements these blended programs, it is essential to follow the requirements of each separate funding stream:

  • Federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Funds funds distributed through the state to subsidize child care for low-income families
  • Federal Head Start and Early Head Start funds for families living in poverty
  • State preschool funds for children with disabilities and children living at 160% of the Federal Poverty Level or lower

Any breach in protocol on spending the funding streams correctly or not meeting the policies and procedures of private child care, Head Start, or State-funded Pre-K could limit state and federal funds that Kentucky receives to support early care and education.

The Task Force also looked at the importance of family child care homes, especially in rural areas of Kentucky. A family child care home is a home where the resident obtains a license or certification from the state to care for a small number of children in a personal residence, often offering more flexible hours for child care in an in-home environment. Kentucky’s newly established Family Child Care Network is a group of technical assistance sites spaced throughout the state to support family child care homes with professional development, business training, and regulatory support.

If you missed the September Early Childhood Education Task Force meeting, view the recording HERE and meeting presentation and materials HERE.