PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Smart Start, a program that helps families access early childhood education, is getting more funding.
The Smart Start program began as a $250 million investment from the State of Illinois to help families access early childhood intervention, home visits, and education for their children.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker visited a classroom at Peoria Heights Elementary School and held a meeting to discuss the issue in more detail. “The impact that investing in your youngest child has on all the other issues that I care about. Yes, the health care of people later in life, whether they have preschool, early childhood education, etc. . Your health is improving.”
Illinois just passed its state fiscal year 2024 budget, allocating an additional $175 million in Smart Start funds. It has been reported that some areas are considered “preschool deserts.” If your family cannot attend a kindergarten, or even if there is a kindergarten, it is too booked and you cannot take your child there.
“The fact is that children who receive preschool and early intervention are more likely to end up graduating from high school, more likely to get a job, and less likely to end up in prison. We're going to continue,” Pritzker said during a speech about the importance of early childhood education.
Pritzker said the overall goal of the program is to eliminate preschool deserts in Illinois and ensure that all children have access to public preschool.