California’s approach to early childhood education is guided by principles designed to help students thrive in preschool and be prepared for kindergarten—a quality early learning program, an early learning program connected to the K-12 system, access to quality early education, and providing children with comprehensive developmental support. California intends to accomplish these goals with a comprehensive system of supports for children and Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). California increased early childhood education and development funds by about $273 million in 2014. A portion of these funds will expand service capacity in the California State Preschool Program to serve an additional 11,500 children in full-day, full-year programs and increase capacity in other child care programs to 1,500 children. The budget allocates $68 million to raise reimbursement rates for child care and $15 million to eliminate family fees for part-day preschool.
California has committed to provide all low-income four-year-olds with preschool programs in future years. The state also provided one-time funding of $25 million to train preschool and transitional kindergarten educators in early childhood development, as well as one-time funding of $10 million to provide loans for state preschool facility expansion. The budget increases Early Start and Black Infant Health services by $8 million for infants and toddlers and allocates $50 million in ongoing funds for Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). California is also working to improve pre- and in-service training for early childhood educators, supporting innovative funding models, and funding increased access to quality early learning programs, and professional development.