What is Palmetto Pre-K?
Palmetto Pre-K is a statewide initiative to serve families of 3- and 4-year-old children and system navigators with a parent portal to check eligibility, locate and access the free public Pre-K programs in the state, support families through the transition to kindergarten and provide high-quality trainings to early childhood professionals serving 4-year-olds.
How did it come about?
In a historic collaboration, the SC Department of Education, Head Start, SC First Steps and the SC Department of Social Services envisioned, created, developed and launched the portal. The funding for the development process was provided through the Preschool Development Birth-5 Grant. The portal was officially launched in February 2020 and work continues to fully develop the site to include all locally funded Pre-K opportunities.
What are the three pillars of Palmetto Pre-K?
Palmetto Pre-K Eligibility Portal - Families are able to determine their eligibility for free preschool and locate high quality educational programs in their neighborhoods and near their workplaces. The web tool matches eligible preschoolers with an appropriate program slot.
Support for Transitions - Family-friendly, accessible guidance and navigational tools to help parents and caregivers successfully support their children’s transition from Pre-K to kindergarten. Efforts will include additions and new features on the Palmetto Pre-K and First 5 SC websites.
Palmetto Pre-K Jamboree is a top-flight professional development conference offered annually to preschool teachers and administrators throughout South Carolina. A planning committee with representatives from the four agencies that provide publicly funded preschool in South Carolina (Department of Education, First Steps 4K, Department of Social Services, and Head Start Collaboration Office) collaborate to plan the day. Past conferences have offered top-notched sessions such as, Conscious Discipline, ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Awareness, Powerful Play, Meaningful Early Learning Literacy Experiences and SC Early Learning Standards in 4K.