Preschool Expansion Grant 

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) received a federal Preschool Expansion Grant that funds a year of free, high-quality preschool for low-income four-year-old children, through partnerships between public school districts and EEC-licensed community-based programs.  Five Massachusetts cities are participating in the Preschool Expansion Grant program: Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield.  Up to 858 four-year old children in these communities who otherwise would not have had an early education experience prior to entering Kindergarten will attend preschool each school year of the grant period (2015-2016 and 2016-2017). 

Massachusetts's Preschool Expansion Grant application requested $60 million in  funding over four years; Massachusetts received the maximum eligible amount of $15 million per year in an initial award.  Massachusetts is eligible for up to $30 million in additional funding for two more years, subject to budget appropriation.  The Preschool Expansion Grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Preschool Expansion Grant funds support high quality program offerings through required design elements such as inclusive full-day and full-year programming with low child-to-teacher ratios (10:1 or less); workforce development supports for educators, including individualized growth plans, joint professional development between the school district and community early education programs, and coaching and mentoring; and use of highly credentialed educators who are compensated at a rate comparable to public school district salaries.  The classes provide programming for the children from 8 to 10 hours per day.  A longitudinal study is a key component of the Preschool Expansion Grant and will track the implementation, impact and costs of the services provided in the participating communities.


Jocelyn Bowne
Director of Research and PEG Administration
Department of Early Education and Care

Sarah Volkenant
Workforce Development and PEG Specialist
Department of Early Education and Care

For media inquiries, please contact Kathleen Hart at or 617.988.7819

Participating Communities

The Massachusetts Preschool Expansion Grant is increasing access to full day, full year high quality preschool for 4-year old children in the cities of Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield.  Below is more information on the implementation of Preschool Expansion in each of the participating communities. 


Boston's Preschool Expansion programs are modeled on the pre-existing Boston K1DS Pre-K program. Coaching and professional development is provided to educators on curriculum that is aligned with Boston Public Schools and other program quality enhancements.

Yearly Grant Amount:$3,877,987
Number of Classrooms:15
Number of Children Served:Approximately 300
Early Learning Providers:

Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) Head Start Walnut Grove (4 classrooms)

Nurtury Learning Lab (1 classroom)

Nurtury Ruggles Center (1 classroom)

Nurtury Castle Square Center (1 classroom)

YMCA Roxbury (1 classroom)

YMCA East Boston (1 classroom)

Wesley Education Center (1 classroom)

Ellis Memorial Early Childhood Center (1 classroom)

Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester (1 classroom)

Paige Academy (1 classroom)

Catholic Charities Nazareth Childcare Center (1 classroom)

Catholic Charities Yawkey Konbit Kreyol Center (1 classroom)


TeeAra Dias
Boston Public Schools PEG Project Manager

Jason Sachs
Boston Public Schools Executive Director of Early Childhood

Abby Morales
Boston Public Schools Early Childhood Program Director


Holyoke's Preschool Expansion programs build on the existing Holyoke Early Learning Initiative (HELI). In Holyoke, all Preschool Expansion classrooms are housed in public school buildings, and the program includes concentrated attention to family needs through family access and engagement coordinators who provide a critical support system for families, especially those experiencing homelessness, social services, or need access to comprehensive services.

Yearly Grant Amount:$1,360,696.00
Number of Classrooms:4
Number of Children Served:76
Early Learning Providers:

Valley Opportunity Council (VOC)

Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield Head Start


Creative Curriculum

OWL Curriculum


Gabrielle Agron
Director of Early Childhood, Holyoke Public Schools

Alyssa McBride
PEG Program Coordinator, Holyoke Public Schools

Jen Malone
PEG Project Director, Valley Opportunity Council

Katherine Lange
PEG Director, Holyoke Chicopee Springfield  Head Start


Lawrence uses the same enrollment system for both the Preschool Expansion program and the district's Pre-K classrooms in order to ensure that families receive care through a model that best fits their needs.  The Preschool Expansion program's partnerships also extend to local organizations who have helped to improve the quality of programming that students receive. Preschool Expansion providers partners with the Raising a Reader program so that students can take home books to extend their learning beyond the classroom, and with UMass-Amherst to provide nutrition instruction for students and families.

Program Name:Lawrence Early Achievement Partnership (LEAP)
Yearly Grant Amount:$2,239,565
Number of Classrooms:10
Number of Children Served:130
Early Learning Providers:

The Community Group

Greater Lawrence Community Action Council


Splash into Pre-K

Creative Curriculum

Jessica MacLeod
Early Childhood Education Manager

Wilmary Flores
LEAP Director, The Community Group

Angeline Bombard
LEAP Director, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council


Lowell's Preschool Expansion programs are all located in one building, known as the Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy (LCPA). This partnership allows for a high level of resource sharing and facilitates collaboration among providers. With mentoring from on-site education coaches, each of LCPA’s teachers are given the opportunity to develop their practice through embedded professional development. A unique feature of Lowell’s Preschool Expansion model is its staffing of three teachers in each classroom to ensure individualized, high quality instruction and support. LCPA is working towards becoming a model school that promotes the successful implementation of Creative Curriculum and the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning approach to socio-emotional learning and development.

Program Name:Lowell Collaborative Preschool Academy
Yearly Grant Amount:$2,721,394
Number of Classrooms:8
Number of Children Served:156
Early Learning Providers:

Little Sprouts

Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI)

Curriculum:Creative Curriculum

Pat Murphy-Painchaud
ECE Program Coordinator, Lowell Public Schools

Meghan McGinley Crowe
Director of Research and Development, Little Sprouts

Meghan Siembor
Early Learning Director, Community Teamwork


Springfield's Preschool Expansion programs are known as the Springfield Cooperative Preschool (SCOOP), and are located both in the district's Early Childhood and Education Center, and in separate buildings throughout the community.  There is a common curriculum and joint professional development facilitated by the district helps ensure effective collaboration among the SCOOP partners.

Program NameSpringfield Cooperative Preschool (SCOOP)
Yearly Grant Amount:$3,393,281
Number of Classrooms:11
Number of Children Served:195
Early Learning Providers:

Square One

Holyoke-Chicopee-Springfield Head Start

YMCA of Greater Springfield

Curriculum:Scholastic Big Day for PreK

Laura Mendes
Supervisor, Pre-K, Springfield Public Schools

Cindy Recoulle
Asst. VP of Programs for Quality Assurance, Square One

Beth Janisieski
Scoop Director, YMCA

Katherine Lange
PEG Coordinator, Holyoke Chicopee Springfield Head Start

Preschool Expansion Grant Reports

The Department of Early Education and Care is contracting with Abt Associates to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of the programs funded by the Preschool Expansion Grant program.  This evaluation is designed to learn from the communities implementing the Preschool Expansion Grant grant, support quality improvement at the local level, and inform decisions about sustaining and expanding programs and policies developed through this grant.  The evaluation includes four components: 1) an implementation study, 2) a longitudinal study of children's school success in elementary school, 3) an impact evaluation, including impacts in elementary school, and 4) a cost study.  In December 2016, the Department of Early Education and Care and Abt Associates released a Preschool Expansion Grant Year One Evaluation Report of findings from the first cohort of students who attended preschool in the 2015-2016 school year.  The evaluation found that the classrooms in all five communities provided high-quality learning environments and the participating children showed positive developmental results after the first year. 

Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative

Through an appropriation in the FY16 state budget, the Department of Early Education and Care awarded $500,000 in "Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative" grants to 13 cities and towns to engage in strategic planning efforts that support expanding access to high-quality preschool for 3 to 5 year old children in their community through public private partnerships that are aligned with Massachusetts' Preschool Expansion program model.  The "Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative" grants provided funds for communities to conduct needs assessments, identify needed and available resources, and develop plans for implementing expanded access to preschool in their community.  The "Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative" grantees completed their strategic plans in June 2016.

Participating Communities' Strategic Plans