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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 17, 2002

$916,000 grant to aid pre-school initiatives

By Jennifer Hiller
Advertiser Education Writer

The Good Beginnings O'ahu Council has won a $916,000 federal grant to improve early learning opportunities for O'ahu children.

Early childhood advocates from private nonprofits and the Department of Education have said the grant will help pay for new preschool initiatives and jump start new relationships among healthcare workers, early learning programs and the school system.

The one-time grant comes from the Administration for Children and Families of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services.

"In an environment of scarce state resources it brings in more federal money," said Liz Chun, executive director of the Good Beginnings Alliance.

The Good Beginnings O'ahu Council is part of the Good Beginnings Alliance, a statewide, nonprofit child advocacy organization that works with Hawai'i legislators to make sure the needs of young children are being met.

The grant is intended to help improve early literacy skills, help train parents, licensed care providers and informal caregivers, develop links between early learning programs and increase the number of licensed family child care providers through recruitment.

Some projects that will be financed through the grant include making childcare available for parents coming off the welfare system and returning to work, providing books for babies packets to new parents at hospitals, professional development for literacy trainers and the promotion of safe home environments for home childcare centers.

Hamilton McCubbin, CEO of Kamehameha Schools and co-chair of the state's School Readiness Task Force, said the grant significantly increases the amount of early learning resources in the community. "Providing quality learning opportunities for our keiki as early in their lives as possible is so important to their success as adults," McCubbin said.

Kathy Kawaguchi, assistant superintendent for the office of curriculum and student support at the state Department of Education, said the grant also will help students show up academically, physically and emotionally ready to enter kindergarten. "These efforts will facilitate the smooth transition of students from pre-school to kindergarten," Kawaguchi said.

Reach Jennifer Hiller at jhiller@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8084.