Integrated Pre-K

The vison of DCYF is that all Washington’s children and youth grow up safe and healthy - thriving physically, emotionally, and educationally, nurtured by family and community. To achieve this vision, DCYF has engaged in creating six strategic priorities - one relates to equity, three relate to our intention for children, youth, and families, and two relate to building necessary agency capacity to accomplish our work. These priorities are grounded in the agency’s mission, vision, values, and legislative purpose.

Within the intention priority, it is called out that as an agency, DCYF will work create a high-quality, integrated B-8 system. An area of focused work in this priority is to create a responsive and inclusive integrated pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) system.

The priority of Integrated Pre-K (IPK) is emphasized by Directive of the Governor 20-01. In this, Gov. Inslee has directed DCYF to collaborate with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to identify near-term administrative efficiencies and longer-term strategies to improve the alignment and integration of high-quality early learning programs administered by both agencies. The creation of IPK is a result the Governor’s directive.

DCYF will partner with stakeholders and bring together leaders from ECEAP, Head Start, Developmental Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and early learning advocates. This advisory committee will work toward the goal of streamlining regulatory functions across various programs. These partnerships will lead to greater access to high-quality, inclusive pre-k experiences for our state’s 3 to 5-year-old children. Our partners include: 16 School Districts, 4 Educational Service Districts, 4 advocacy groups, 3 Community ECEAP Providers, 3 OSPI Staff (Charter Schools, Government Relations and K Transitions), 1 Community College, the Head Start Region X Office, the Head Start Collaboration Office, and Child Care Aware of Washington. Within the advisory committee, a workgroup was formed to guide recruitment and enrollment practices that will create sustainable practices within communities and build ways to work together to intake families now (and in the future) to establish pathways for enrollment that supports each and every child. 

Work has begun on community engagement with our state’s tribal partners through the Indian Policy Early Learning committee and the Early Learning Advisory Council. We honor and recognize the diverse early learning systems that exist within Washington State and will work to ensure engagement opportunities exist to inform recommendations and implementation that supports diverse communities. 

Goals of IPK

In collaboration with OSPI, DCYF will work to create a sustainable and integrated approach to high-quality preschool services that:

  • Builds on existing high-quality preschool programs and framework in Washington State (i.e., ECEAP and Head Start programs, Early Achievers).
  • Ensures children with the highest needs are prioritized for enrollment.
  • Improves access to inclusive environments for children with disabilities and other complex needs.
  • Removes barriers to participation for school districts to feasibly sustain high-quality preschool programs in the K-12 space.
  • Expands access for more children to attend high-quality preschool before kindergarten entry.
  • Determines pathways to integrate existing preschool programs with Transitional Kindergarten.