The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood recently awarded 24 grants to serve 54 elementary schools in Maryland. Each of the state’s 24 jurisdictions received funding for one or more Judy Centers.
The $15.7 million in grants will help provide additional supports to children and families. The goal of the Judy Centers is that all children, regardless of income, enter kindergarten ready to learn.
According to a press release:
Maryland’s unique Judy Centers offer a variety of supports for children and their families, according to Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools.
“Early childhood development programs establish a strong foundation for learning, and are critical to improving student performance across-the-board,” Dr. Salmon said. “The Judy Centers not only provide support for our youngest learners, but important programs for their families. Their success in helping two generations is really Maryland’s success.”
In the 1990s, Judith P. Hoyer, the Early Education Coordinator for Prince George’s County Public Schools, lamented the gaps in available services for low-income families. To better support families, she created a central location in Adelphi, Maryland for important early childhood services, thus fostering cooperation of governmental and private agencies around the needs of local families.
After her untimely death in 1997, her husband, Rep. Steny Hoyer, in partnership with then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening, led a successful movement to bring her model of collaboration to other areas of Maryland. As a result, the Maryland State Legislature enacted the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program in May of 2000.
Judy Centers are early learning hubs, based primarily in Title I schools, and have become an integral part of Maryland’s early childhood system in providing greater coordination among early childhood education and support services. They are essential in focusing the services and resources of the various programs and providers on families with high needs. Judy Centers provide key aspects of development and learning that are the foundation for a child’s school readiness and life-long success.
Read the full press release for more information.