The purpose of the five-year Preschool Research and Technical Assistance Project for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has been to offer research-based technical assistance to state and local entities on how to phase in access to high-quality preschool to all children in California, beginning in the neighborhoods with the greatest need. In the midst of severe state budget challenges coupled with promising new federal opportunities to finance preschool, it has been critical to identify the areas with the highest unmet need for new and/or enhanced preschool services. The project has helped state and local planners as well as grant applicants determine priority areas for expansion as new resources become available.
The Preschool Research and Technical Assistance Project for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The project team constructed the Early Learning Systems website to serve as a repository of practical tools, resources and methodologies intended to assist policymakers and state, county, and city planners with planning, implementing, and evaluating preschool and other school readiness programs. One such resource is the needs assessment of child care in California, for which AIR has compiled early care and education data at the zip code and county level. Each county needs assessment includes demand data (e.g., births and school enrollment) and licensed supply data (e.g., enrollment in State Preschool, Head Start, General Child Care and other licensed programs). Another resource is the Preschool Cost Estimator, a user-friendly tool to assess the cost of phasing in access to preschool at the local level, as well as statewide. The Web site also provides access to policy briefs that provide syntheses of the data and information analyzed over the course of the project, such as Preschool Supply and Demand in the State of California: An Assessment of Preschool Enrollment in Publicly Contracted and Privately Operated Preschool Programs and First 5 Power of Preschool: Lessons from an Experiment in Tiered Reimbursement.