The Montclair Community Pre-K - A Decade of Achievement • A Bright Future
As we reached our record milestone, we looked back at our history and also looked forward to our future serving the families of Montclair. Over 2,500 students have passed through our doors since we opened. Many of those students have gone on to receive an outstanding education from the Montclair public schools. The students from our first year of operation are now sophomores in high school. We thank all of the people who have brought us to this point in our journey.
A Look Back: An Idea, a Vision, and a Need Fulfilled
In 1996, faced with budget constraints, a loss of state aid for pre-k, and a lack of space due to increasing elementary school enrollment, the Montclair Board of Education decided it could no longer support the public Pre-K program that had existed in Montclair for two decades. The community, however, was strongly committed to quality early childhood education, and a creative solution emerged. The Township Council established the Montclair Early Childhood Corporation (MECC) as a not-for-profit organization with the mandate to continue educating the preschool children of the Township. Utilizing space leased to it by the Montclair Board of Education and funds loaned by the Township, MECC constructed the Montclair Community Pre-K (MCPK), the school that the MECC created to fulfill its mandate. It opened in September, 1998.
Our Mission and Funding: A Unique Collaboration with our Township
The mission of the Montclair Community Pre-K is to offer a high-quality early childhood education program to the entire Montclair community, regardless of a family’s ability to pay tuition. That commitment has never wavered: we have never turned away a family for financial reasons. Over the years, between 35 -50% of enrolled families have received some level of tuition assistance on a sliding-scale based on household income. Often ten to fifteen families per year (earning up to $4,999 annually) pay no tuition. Many families earning $5,000-$25,000 annually receive a substantial reduction in tuition. These working-poor families need our help, and our community has responded by providing the limitless opportunity of early-learning experiences.
The school’s budget is funded by annual support from the Township of Montclair, gifts and grants from individuals, corporations, and foundations, fundraising events throughout the year; in-kind support from local businesses, and tuition fees. The MCPK is guided by a dedicated Board of Trustees whose members reflect the diverse community of Montclair; the school itself also mirrors the multicultural and socioeconomic diversity of the greater Montclair community.
The MCPK’s administrators and faculty are recognized experts who serve as mentors, master teachers, and adjunct faculty at local colleges and universities. MCPK was fully accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) during our first year of operation and was reaccredited in 2002.
A Model Program for Strengthening Families
Supporting families and becoming a resource for other similar programs are also key goals for the MCPK. This commitment was validated in 2002 by the Doris Duke Charitable Trust and the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), which selected the MCPK as an exemplary early childhood program that supports families as well as children, with the goal of preventing child abuse and neglect. We are one of only 21 programs in the entire U.S. so chosen and the only center located in New Jersey. The MCPK is recognized as a leader by the State of New Jersey Departments of Education and Human Services. Our school serves as the mentor program for the Strengthening Families Initiative, both in New Jersey and around the country.
Click here to read about some the history of the MCPK!