2023 Ideas Challenge Entry
Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones led the Council adoption of the city’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan with the objective of ensuring that children enter school ready to learn and be successful. A strategy to support this objective is to increase the availability of and strengthen early education in pre-kindergarten programs, particularly for low-income children. To fulfill this strategy, the city is partnering with the Peake Childhood Center to develop and operate a fully accredited and licensed early childhood center. The joint facility in partnership with PEAKE and Virginia Peninsula Community College (VPCC), will provide a sliding scale tuition for up to 200 youth, from infant to 4 years old. Additionally, VPCC will train the next generation of childcare professionals through its onsite training program.
Newport News also allocated over 20% of their ARPA funding to establish a new Early Childhood Education Center. This center will ensure that pre-Kindergarten programs are universally available — particularly for low-income families — increasing options for our working families who need safe places for their children to learn and grow and empowering parents to become actively involved in their child’s learning and also remain in the workforce.
The Peake Early Childhood Center will ensure that families, who struggle financially, have access to a center that addresses the early educational needs of their children and supports the needs of the family. Data reveals how important high quality and affordable early learning and childcare is for the economy. The availability of early education programs attracts home buyers and increases property values by $13 dollars for every dollar invested. Also, a lack of childcare costs businesses $4.4 billion annually because parents/guardians must be absent from work to take care of their children.