By Margaret O’Hara, Santa Fe New Mexican
Apr. 18, 2023
Story time was in full swing in Anjelica Roybal’s early pre-K classroom Friday morning.
She gathered her students on a rug and held up Dr. Seuss’s Book of Colors, ensuring everyone could see the pages. The 3- and 4-year-olds occasionally interrupted, admiring Dr. Seuss’ colorful illustrations — the purple jelly, the pink mat.
Roybal’s classroom is just one of four pre-K programs — and 10 classrooms — at Kids Campus, Santa Fe Community College’s on-site child care center. All four, said Kids Campus Director Deyanira Contreras, are funded through the New Mexico Pre-K program, a statewide initiative that began in 2005 to expand access to high-quality early childhood education and better prepare children for school.
And New Mexico Pre-K is about to receive an enormous infusion of state funding, a nearly $100 million investment anticipated to provide more hours of child care throughout the year and expand access to the program by 40%. The latest New Mexico Pre-K enrollment data indicates a 40% expansion could open up more than 5,000 new student slots in publicly-, privately-, tribally- and federally-run pre-K programs across the state.
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