s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 5 of 15 free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read 10 of 15 free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Support local journalism and get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app, all starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
Ooops! You're out of free articles. Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading all of our products and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?

McKinley Elementary also provides a Head Start program, which has a lower income eligibility requirement of $1,838 for a family of four.

For those families who meet the income eligibility for state subsidized programs, the North Bay Children's Center, 4 C's of Sonoma County and the Petaluma Adult School offer an array of programs to provide children with early education opportunities.

The North Bay Children's Center provides state subsidized programs to low-income families at their McDowell campus in Petaluma, and additional subsidized spaces were recently added to Mary Collins School at Cherry Valley.

The Petaluma Adult School hosts programs such as Avance, Pasitos and Ready for Kindergarten, which aim to provide early childhood education to low-income Spanish-speaking families.

"There are really great programs coming out of our community," said Erin Hawkins, community outreach project manager for the Petaluma Health Care District. "We want people to be aware of those opportunities."

Local advocates of early childhood education hope next week's "Week of the Young Child" events will help shed light on the issue of access to affordable preschool in Petaluma and Sonoma County.

The Week of the Young Child, which runs April 6 to 12, is a campaign put on by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Local events next week will emphasize the importance of early childhood education, as well as provide information on affordable programs in the area.

Early education providers are hoping to partner with more local businesses to invest in affordable preschool, as it lays the foundation for the future workforce.

Right now, Gilmore and her colleagues at the North Bay Children's Center raise money to cover their full cost of childcare services, because the state's reimbursement of $744 a month per child isn't enough.

Gilmore hopes in the future that the state will raise the income eligibility cap so that more parents can afford to send their children to preschool. And she looks forward to Sen. Darrell Steinberg's pending legislation that would extend state-funded preschool services to all 4 year olds.

But until new sources of funding come through, she said events like those planned for next week will start a conversation locally about what partnerships are needed to increase access to preschool.

"We need to be very thoughtful about how we blend these funding sources and opportunities to create a seamless system," she said. "It's going to require schools, the early childhood education community and businesses to partner together."

(Contact Allison Jarrell at allison.jarrell@arguscourier.com)