In 2006, a collaboration that included Pottstown School District, community childcare providers and area funders began discussions related to improving the readiness of children entering kindergarten. Working together during a year-long planning process, the collaboration created the outline for the Pottstown Early Action for Kindergarten Readiness (PEAK) initiative with the ultimate goal of ensuring that every child in Pottstown has access to early childhood learning opportunities that prepare them to be successful in kindergarten.
Beginning with the original five community partner sites which had 13 classes serving 204 three and four year old children, PEAK started implementing the key strategy areas of community outreach, family engagement, quality improvement, health/wellness and kindergarten transition. With a goal of impacting all young children and families in the community, PEAK reached out to other settings serving children in the subsequent years.
In 2007-2008, PEAK expanded from working with five sites with 13 classrooms serving three and four year old children to working with 35 classrooms in 11 community sites. Significant funding resources were added to the PEAK initiative in 2007-2008 through Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, Montgomery County Foundation and the continued funding from Pre-K Counts Public-Private Partnership and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Since that time, funding has increased through the state-funded classrooms of Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts which now serve 123 community children in free full-day classrooms located at the community partner programs. New partners have been added by working with the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce to emphasize the importance of quality early education to the business community.
In 2009-2010, the PEAK initiative served as the video case study for the Early Childhood Leadership Development curriculum developed by the National Institute for School Leadership. The curriculum will be used throughout the Commonwealth and other states to improve local collaboration and practices related to quality early education.
With a mission that all children entering kindergarten will be ready to learn and achieve, PEAK works to raise the quality of early education provided to all of the children in the community, whether in formal or informal settings and to provide support to the families to be the child’s first teacher. PEAK continues to expand and deepen the impact of the initiative in the Pottstown to revitalize the community through a comprehensive early learning system.
PEAK Managing Partners
Pottstown School District
Maternity Care Coalition
Montgomery Early Learning Centers
Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation
Pottstown Family Center
Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA – Pottstown
United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
YWCA Tri-County Area