Early Childhood Education

One of the best ways to ensure that children succeed in school is to provide all children with access to high-quality programs for early learning. To meet this goal, we work with public and nonpublic schools, community-based organizations, and home-based child-care providers to continuously improve the quality of early-learning programs and to expand opportunities for early learning across our state.

The early childhood work in the Office of Instruction, Assessment, and Curriculum supports four primary goals:

  1. Increasing access to high-quality early childhood education programs for all children
  2. Supporting the professional development of early childhood professionals
  3. Providing information to families about supporting their child's learning
  4. Ensuring that children with developmental delays or disabilities are identified and have access to specialized services and supports

View our Public Service Announcement

RIDE seeks proposals for full-day kindergarten start-up funds 

RIDE is seeking proposals from school districts committed to moving to full-day kindergarten. The General Assembly enacted the Rhode Island Full-Day Kindergarten Accessibility Act (H 8049), which provides for one-time state start-up funding to support districts that intend to open, operate, and sustain new full-day kindergarten classrooms. Questions concerning this solicitation may be submitted to Kristen Greene (kristen.greene@ride.ri.gov) at the Rhode Island Department of Education by January 30, 2015. Responses to submitted questions will be posted on the RIDE Early Childhood Education webpage by February 5, 2015. The proposal submission deadline is February 13, 2015

Full Day Kindergarten Start-Up Grant RFP [PDF, 230KB]

Full Day Kindergarten Start-Up Grant Questions and Responses [PDF, 60KB]

Rhode Island Wins US Department of Education Preschool Expansion Grant

In response to President Obama’s call to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America, Congress appropriated $250 million for the Preschool Development/Expansion Grant Program in fiscal year 2014. In October of 2014, Rhode Island along with 34 other states submitted what is now recognized as a winning application. The Rhode Island Department of Education will receive $19 million dollars over four years to expand its high quality State Pre-Kindergarten Program (Pre-K). As one of only four state preschool programs in the country that meets or exceeds the nation’s highest quality benchmarks as measured by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), the Rhode Island State Pre-K is recognized as a national leader in the development of high-quality preschool programs. Please click here to go to the US Department of Education Preschool Development Grants webpage to learn about all the development and expansion grant winners, their awards and applications. 

RI Pre-K Expansion Grant Announcement [PDF, 40KB]

RIDE holds Pre-K Expansion Grant and RFP Competition Webinars 

The RI Department of Education (RIDE) held informational webinars on Friday, February 23 and Monday, February 26 for parties interested in applying for the state Pre-K program. For the 2015- 2016 school year, RIDE expects to fund an additional 17 classrooms in the following communities: Central Falls, East Providence, Pawtucket, Providence, Newport, West Warwick and Woonsocket.

RIDE Associate Director of Early Childhood Education Initiatives Michele Palermo and RIDE Early Childhood Education Specialist Kristen Greene presented information on the state Pre-K program, expectations of state Pre-K sub-grantees, and the RFP process and timeline. The webinar also provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions. 

Recordings of these webinars and the webinar PPT can be viewed by clicking below.

January 23 Webinar [WMV, 26MB]

January 26 Webinar [WMV, 16MB]

Pre-K Information Webinar PowerPoint [PPT, 883KB]

RIDE Requests Proposals for 2015 – 2016 State Pre-Kindergarten Program

The Rhode Island Department of Education is requesting Proposals from qualified vendors to expand the RI State Pre-Kindergarten Program. Eligible organizations or entities include licensed child care centers, Head Start programs, public schools and non-public schools able to operate a classroom in the following Rhode Island communities: Central Falls, East Providence, Providence, Pawtucket, Newport, West Warwick and Woonsocket. Please click here [PDF, 378KB] to download the RFP. 

Questions concerning this solicitation may be emailed to Kristen Greene at the Department of Education at kristen.greene@ride.ri.gov no later than noon on February 13, 2015. Send your questions in Microsoft Word format. Please reference the RFP title in the correspondence. Questions received, if any, will be posted and answered on the RIDE website as an addendum to this solicitation by February 17, 2015. It is the responsibility of all interested parties to download this information. Final proposals are due and must be delivered by 4:30 PM on Friday, February 27, 2015. Faxed or emailed responses will not be considered. 

2015 – 2016 State Pre-Kindergarten Program RFP Questions and Responses [PDF, 208KB]

Learn more about Early Childhood Education

  • Programs to help children begin school ready to learn and be ready to have success in their schooling careers
  • Early Learning Challenge - a $50 million grant to improve early learning and development opportunities for Rhode Island's young children
  • Workforce - developing a highly qualified workforce with access to a high quality professional development system
  • Early Learning Standards - what children should know and be able to do as they enter kindergarten
  • Child Outreach and Family Engagement - programs to support families as they prepare their children for school success, as well as to identify and evaluate young children with disabilities
  • Early Childhood Special Education - individualized special education preschool  programs and services for 3-5 year olds  


Early Learning
Early Learning

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