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Hawaii Application Period for “Preschool Open Doors” Program

The Department of Human Services (DHS) will be accepting applications for its Preschool Open Doors (POD) program between March 1 and April 30, 2014.  Applications received during this period will be considered for preschool participation between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.

Montessori Country School at the Pahoa Aquatic Center

Montessori Country School at the Pahoa Aquatic Center

POD is a DHS child care subsidy program that provides statewide services to eligible low- and moderate-income families sending their children to a licensed preschool, prior to kindergarten entry. The goal of POD is to promote school readiness and to help children develop a life-long love for learning.  The DHS POD program is a collaboration with the Governor’s Executive Office of Early Learning.

Effective August 2014, a child must be five years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten.  Families affected by the new 2014-15 entry age, and families with children who will be enrolling in kindergarten during the 2015-16 school year, are encouraged to apply for the POD program.  Underserved or at-risk children born between August 1 and December 31, 2009 will receive priority consideration for the 2014-2015 school year.

POD applications will be available from the DHS contractor, PATCH, beginning March 1, 2014.  To reserve your packet on Oahu call 791-2130; on the Neighbor Islands call 1-800-746-5620.  Applications also can be downloaded from the PATCH website http://www.patchHawaii.org.

Applications must be received by April 30, 2014 to be considered for the 2014-2015 program year.  Return the completed POD application to:

PATCH – POD
560 North Nimitz Highway, Suite 218
Honolulu, HI  96817

POD subsidies help Hawaii families pay tuition at any of the State’s 627 licensed group child care facilities (i.e. preschools).  Eligible families may select the preschool of their choice. Contact the PATCH office to find a facility in your area.

Priorities for POD program selection are detailed in HAR 17-799 posted on the DHS website at http://humanservices.hawaii.gov/admin-rules-2/admin-rules-for-programs/.

State Expands Opportunities for Hawai’i Children to Attend Preschool

The state Department of Education (DOE) is committing $6 million over the next three years for early childhood education as a part of its Race to the Top initiatives, Governor Neil Abercrombie announced today. As a result, about 800 additional Hawai’i children in low-income areas will be subsidized to attend preschool.

Recipient Ming Aila

The subsidies will benefit pre-K students living in the “Zones of School Innovation,” which are the Nanakuli/Wai’anae and Ka’u/Kea’au/Pahoa areas. The DOE is implementing many school improvement initiatives in these “Zones,” which will provide the public with a preview of the transformation that will be possible in all of Hawai’i’s schools.

At a press conference this morning at Wai’anae Early Learning Center – where 14 students are already receiving state subsidies this year – Governor Abercrombie reiterated the importance of investing in Hawai’i’s youngest children.

“The New Day Plan is about investing in the strength of Hawai’i’s people, and supporting our youngest children is one of the best investments we can make,” said Governor Abercrombie. “We are giving more students the opportunity to go to preschool and establishing the foundation for learning.”

About 75 children in the Zones of School Innovation are enrolled in preschools through the Preschool Open Doors, a statewide program administered by PATCH for the state Department of Human Services. With this additional funding, more children in the Zones of School Innovation will be able to participate in the program this year.

Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Matayoshi announced that PATCH is accepting applications for children to receive preschool subsidies.  Participating in early childhood programs, such as preschool, helps young children prepare to enter kindergarten.

“Providing our keiki with a seamless transition from pre-K to kindergarten is an invaluable first step in setting the foundation for future academic success,” Superintendent Matayoshi said.

“This is an example of the kind of investment our state needs to ensure our families can afford to send their child to preschool,” said Terry Lock, the Governor’s Coordinator on Early Childhood. “We will be continuing to look for partnerships among government agencies, nonprofits, businesses and other community programs to help our youngest children.”

Families can apply for subsidies for their three- and four-year-old via PATCH’s website, www.patchhawaii.org, or by calling 808-791-2130 or 1-800-746-5620.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/VH9HtvVwmzY]

Governor Abercrombie visits Wai’anae Early Education Center to announce that The state Department of Education (DOE) is committing $6 million over the next three years for early childhood education as a part of its Race to the Top initiatives. As a result, about 800 additional Hawai’i children in low-income areas will be subsidized to attend preschool.