Over 4,000 S.C. children eligible for free four-year-old kindergarten after $37 million state-funding allocation

South Carolina News

Teacher Ana Serrano-Stanco high-fives her student Angel Velasquez, left, while working in a study group in a kindergarten class at the Diloreto Magnet School in New Britain, Conn., Wednesday Feb. 22, 2012. As Connecticut lawmakers consider sweeping reforms intended to close the achievement gap between wealthy and poor school districts, another gap is growing: The disparity between communities that offer full-day kindergarten and those that don’t. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Thousands of children can now access state-funded, full-day, four-year-old kindergarten (4K) after South Carolina First Steps and S.C. Department of Education receives a $37 million allocation from South Carolina’s General Assembly.

This funding increase allows over 4,000 children to enroll in First Steps 4K.

Prior to this funding allocation, 41% of S.C.’s at-risk four-year-olds resided in a zip code that excludes them from full-day, state-funded 4K.

“The expansion of 4K statewide will have a transformational impact on South Carolina’s children and their parents – on the workforce of today and tomorrow.  Because of this investment, parents will be able to work full-time jobs, and their children will receive the highest quality early education in a curriculum-driven program proven to get them ready for school success,” said Georgia Mjartan, Executive Director of South Carolina First Steps.

With First Steps 4K, families can register their child in any of the 244 private, nonprofit, or faith-based care centers, or any participating schools.

First Steps 4K also offers First Steps 4K + Siblings that will guarantee care and education for the whole family. When a family enrolls with First Steps 4K, all children in the home, up to age 12, receive a full-time child care or after-school scholarship for up to 52 weeks.

Enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year is underway.

Families can apply online at Free4Ksc.org.

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