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Expect More Arizona Excellence Tour: Tempe invests in early learning, creates preschool classes for low-income residents

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  • Marie Raymond/City of Tempe

Tempe Students Listen To Their Preschool Teacher. Photo Courtesy City Of Tempe And Tempe Elementary School District

Despite the fact that quality early learning experiences have big benefits, few Arizona youth have the chance to prepare adequately for kindergarten.

The early years of a child’s learning are some of the most formative, and the City of Tempe is taking big steps toward helping all of their children succeed.

A pilot project that was two years in the making will launch this fall and will create as many as 20 preschool classrooms for hundreds of children who would otherwise be unable to afford a high-quality preschool experience.

Working in conjunction with Tempe Elementary School District and Kyrene Unified School District, the city of Tempe is the first Arizona city to make a commitment this sizable to early learning.

When the topic was first broached and a feasibility/needs study commissioned, city leaders were surprised to learn how many children in their city are living in poverty, and how many enter kindergarten unprepared. Tempe is not alone, statewide just over one-third of 3 and 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool.

With an eye to increasing school readiness and giving these students a leg up on academics, class sizes are limited to 18 youth. With classes taught by experienced educators, students are sure to grow by leaps and bounds.
And the initiative isn’t just good for the families involved.

Access to high-quality early learning is good for business and can be a significant determinant when companies are looking to relocate. This is just one piece of Tempe’s education initiatives, which encompass the entire cradle-to-career continuum.

Learn more at

Tempe preschool video: Tempe PRE promo