Half the young children in southeastern Pennsylvania live in Philadelphia. The majority of them are considered “at risk” because of economic circumstances and many enter kindergarten without the basic skills they need to become proficient readers by 4th grade.

Eighty percent of Philadelphia voters passed a small tax on sweetened beverages, like soda, that funds free, high-quality pre-k in 2015. Thanks to funding from the city’s “soda tax,” PHLpreK has served over 13,000 children since 2017.  In 2023, 4,300 Philadelphia children currently attend pre-k at over 180 centers thanks to the PHLpreK program.

Children First is advocating for an additional 1,700 PHLpreK seats to open so more young children have access to early learning, which builds their social and intellectual development. But some leaders in the city want to abolish the soda tax and dismantle a valuable resource for small business owners who are child care providers and the children they serve.

Contact Symbol Lai at symboll at to get involved in speaking out for early education in Philadelphia.


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