NC Pre-K is a state-funded pre-kindergarten program administered by the Division of Child Development and Early Education within the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The program serves eligible four-year-olds via classroom-based education in a variety of public and private settings governed by NC Child Care Rules. The state generally limits eligibility for NC Pre-K to children from families whose gross income is at or below 75 percent of North Carolina’s median income. In addition, up to 20 percent of the program can consist of children from families above the income ceiling who exhibit certain risk factors, such as limited English proficiency or a developmental disability. A later blog post will discuss the NC Pre-K program in more detail.
I’d like to focus this post on one of the most interesting aspects of NC Pre-K, which is the various types of settings used to deliver the program in each county. These settings include public schools, private child care centers (both for-profit and nonprofit), and Head Start sites (in both public and nonpublic facilities). Because the program is managed at the county or regional (multi-county) level, each county’s mix of settings is unique and reflects local decisions that account for local conditions — for example, the presence or absence of sufficient capacity in public elementary schools and private preschools. According to UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, which conducts an annual evaluation of NC Pre-K, the 28,757 children served during the 2015-16 school year were taught in 1,962 classrooms located in 1,157 sites across the state. Clicking the screenshot below will take you to a series of maps, adapted from the institute’s most recent report, which give an overview of the settings used to deliver NC Pre-K in each county. (If you’d prefer to view the map on the ncIMPACT website, click here.)