Last spring, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh launched the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee to help the city plan how to double the number of 4-year-olds in high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten programs by 2018.
Now the committee is inviting Boston parents who have young children to help by filling out a Universal Pre-K survey about “their experiences and hopes” and their opinions about the city’s preschool programs, according to the Boston Public Schools’ Early Childhood website.
Supporting this effort, Thrive in 5 — a partnership between the Mayor’s Office and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley — is working with other community partners to “conduct a series of stakeholder focus groups across Boston, and offer online surveys to gather input about the strengths and needs of all of the City’s neighborhoods for high-quality pre-kindergarten.”
Please help spread the word by sharing the link to the survey via email and social media. There are thousands of parents who could fill out the survey, and their input could help shape early education in Boston.
Parents can respond to the survey throughout October. The Advisory Committee is slated to give Walsh its recommendations for a mixed-delivery, early education system in November 2014.
The Survey Questions
The survey is available in English and nine other languages. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to fill out and responses are made anonymously and kept completely confidential.
The Advisory Committee is looking at a number of factors including: “class space requirements, teacher qualifications, funding requirements, and potential partnerships for before school, after school, and summer wrap-around services,” according to a City of Boston press release.
Specifically, the survey “asks parents of children from infancy through elementary school to comment on their past experiences with, or their future hopes for, pre-Kindergarten care for their children.”
– children’s early learning and program experiences
– parent-staff communication
– costs and logistics
– interaction with the Boston Public Schools, and
– parent engagement
Some survey questions ask for open-ended responses; and the survey includes links to citywide resources for parents and families.
The numbers show how much pre-K growth Boston needs.
As the city’s press release explains, “There are approximately 6,000 four-year-olds living in Boston, and the population of four-year-olds is projected to grow to as many as 8,000 by 2030. Currently, approximately one-third of all four-year-olds (2,200) are in the nationally-recognized Boston Public School Pre-Kindergarten (K1) Program, while others attend community-based private programs.”
However: “An estimated 25 percent of all Boston four-year-olds do not attend a pre-kindergarten program.”
Together, these thousands of children have thousands of parents who can seize the opportunity to help craft early education policy in Boston.