Since the induction of West Virginia Universal Pre-K in 2002, West Virginia has been a national pioneer in developing and maintaining a statewide pre-k program for all four-year-olds and three-year-olds with special needs. Conception of pre-k in the state began as early as 1983 with legislation that provided local school boards the ability to offer preschool. Following this initial legislation, localized efforts were made to support pre-k during the 1980’s and 1990’s. State lawmakers solidified the state’s commitment to pre-k with the passage of an early childhood education programs bill at the conclusion of the 2002 legislative session.
From that point forward, W.Va. Code §18-5-44 has mandated that the West Virginia Board of Education, in collaboration with the Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, ensure that every eligible child have access to high quality pre-k by the 2012-2013 school year. County boards of education were, at that time, required to develop pre-k programs with existing community programs, including Head Start and licensed child care centers.
With state law and research illustrating a positive growth for young children and return on investment, West Virginia continues to strengthen its efforts in early childhood education. In light of research that continues to show how high quality early education experiences, teacher continuity, and other social and health services can support children’s optimal development and well-being, West Virginia maintains its commitment to high-quality early childhood education. Today, WV Universal Pre-K is available in all 55 counties.
Find My WV Pre-K is an application that includes program information for each WV Universal Pre-K classroom by city and county. To find a WV Universal Pre-K Program near you, visit Find My WV Pre-K.