What is Pre-K Our Way?

NJ’s pre-k is a statewide priority – let’s keep the momentum!

Who We Are

Pre-K Our Way is a nonprofit, nonpartisan effort that helps communities bring New Jersey’s existing high-quality pre-k to hundreds more communities – and the tens of thousands of our state’s 3- and 4-year-olds. Created only a few years ago, Pre-K Our Way has worked to establish pre-k expansion as a NJ priority – and to secure funding for pre-k expansion in the state budget. Our state has one of the best, most successful, high-quality public preschool programs in the country; until the 2017-2018 school year, NJ’s state-funded, full-day pre-k was available in only 35 communities. For the 2020-2021 school year, NJ’s pre-k is in nearly 150 communities! Thanks to Governor Murphy and the Legislature, there’s $10 million in new funding for more districts – and continued expansion in already existing ones!

Pre-K Our Way’s targeted community outreach efforts and Campaign for Pre-K Expansion led the way in making pre-k expansion – and funding for it – a priority in NJ. Our continued focus is advocacy to maintain the priority for pre-k expansion and fund more than 200 school districts for the 2021-2022 school year. Let’s maintain momentum!

Pre-K Our Way Ads and Videos

Pre-K Our Way consistently uses targeted ads and short videos to communicate – and illustrate – the importance of expanding NJ’s existing high-quality, state-funded pre-k. A late-August and September 2020 internet ad campaign paced the review of an unusual 9-month state budget during a challenging time – COVID-19. Pre-K Our Way’s advocacy underscored an important message in the midst of many challenges for our state and its working families: Let’s maintain momentum for pre-k expansion! Watch the fall 2020 ad here.

In preparation for the COVID-19 revised 2020-2021 state budget process, Governor Murphy and the Legislature ended June 2020 with funding through September 30 for already planned, approved pre-k expansion for NJ’s 3- and 4-year-olds – and their working families! Through August and September 2020, Pre-K Our Way returned to the internet with advocacy to underscore an important message: continue the already planned, approved pre-k expansion funding for the entire school year. Let’s keep the momentum! Watch the late summer 2020 ad here.

Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, our early spring 2020 ad campaign ended after only one week. For that week, and what had been planned throughout the spring, the abbreviated campaign recognized Governor Murphy’s proposed FY2021 budget in which there was funding for NJ’s pre-k in nearly 180 school districts – including approximately 30 new ones. Watch the spring 2020 ad.

Beginning in early in January 2020, the message was direct: Keep the momentum for NJ’s pre-k expansion! Watch our earlier ad. 

Pre-K Our Way’s message in spring 2019 was direct: It’s time to SIGNIFICANTLY fund pre-k expansion – NOW! Governor Murphy and legislative leaders support funding for NJ’s state-funded, full-day pre-k. Thanks to them, there are 110+ communities with state-funded, full-day pre-k – but tens of thousands of 3- and 4-year-olds still wait. Pre-k expansion is NJ priority!

Watch some of our earlier ads that delivered a simple, direct message from representative NJ children and families. The ads and related communication appeared across dozens of websites and other outlets at the start of the Murphy administration and later to legislators and legislative leaders throughout the budget season: Fund Pre-K NOW! 

Previous ads showcase independent New Jersey voices – in business, health, public opinion and law enforcement. These individual ads highlight the benefits of NJ’s pre-k – for working parents and for the future health, educational achievement and successful lives of our state’s 3- and 4-year-olds.

Earlier in 2017, we featured representative communities selected from the hundreds waiting for NJ’s pre-k—like yours. Other videos include a 2017 post-election congratulations message to the Governor-elect and newly elected legislators, and the September 2016 ‘empty classroom’ just waiting for the 50,000 kids promised NJ’s pre-k each year since 2008. In addition, we’ve used video throughout 2015 and 2016 with information about our organization, Leadership Group, schools with – and without – NJ’s full-day state-funded pre-k. Learn what you can do to ensure that pre-k is available to more communities – as promised!

Pre-K Our Way Leadership Group:

  • Governor Thomas H. Kean, former Governor of New Jersey
  • Governor James J. Florio, former Governor of New Jersey
  • Lucinda Florio, former First Lady of New Jersey
  • Cecilia Zalkind, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey
  • M. Brian Maher, former Chairman of Maher Terminals LLC
  • William J. Marino, former Chairman and CEO of Horizon BlueCrossBlueShield of New Jersey
  • Douglas L. Kennedy, President and CEO of Peapack-Gladstone Bank
  • Lynda Anderson-Towns, retired Principal and Superintendent of the Woodbine School District
  • Sue Dyer, 2014 Salem County Teacher of the Year and Pre-K Teacher at Woodstown/Pilesgrove School District

Pre-K Our Way Partners:

  • Maher Charitable Foundation
  • The Nicholson Foundation
  • The Schumann Fund for New Jersey
  • The Henry and Marilyn Taub Foundation
  • The Turrell Fund
  • Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
  • The Fund for New Jersey
  • F. M. Kirby Foundation
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Pre-K Our Way Advocates:

The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce supports the expansion of New Jersey’s high-quality pre-k education. Amy B. Mansue, past-chair of the New Jersey Chamber’s Board of Directors said, “New Jersey has one of the most successful, public preschool programs in the country. However, only 35 communities have access to one of these programs, even though access to full-day pre-k is essential to our current workforce – the working parents of New Jersey’s 3- and 4-year-olds.”

In addition, the following organizations have made a public commitment to Pre-K Our Way, and actively encourage their members and other individuals to support Pre-K Our Way.

  • Advocates for Children of New Jersey
  • Education Law Center
  • Hulafrog – Bergen County South
  • Hulafrog – Cape May County
  • Jersey CAN
  • New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
  • New Jersey Teachers of English Speakers of Other Languages and New Jersey Bilingual Educators  (NJTESOL/NJBE)
  • United Way of Central Jersey
  • United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey
  • United Way of Hunterdon County
  • United Way of Monmouth County
  • United Way of Northern New Jersey
  • United Way of Greater Mercer County
  • United Ways of New Jersey
  • YMCA Alliance in New Jersey
  • Westfield Area YMCA
  • Meadowlands Area YMCA
  • The Community YMCA
  • Garfield YMCA
  • The Gateway Family YMCA
  • Summit Area YMCA
  • Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges
  • Hunterdon County YMCA
  • Cumberland/Cape Atlantic YMCA
  • YMCA of Greater Bergen County
  • Somerset County YMCA
  • Metuchen Edison YMCA
  • Greater Trenton Area YMCA
  • Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA
  • YMCA of Montclair
  • Madison Area YMCA
  • YMCA of Salem County
  • YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties
  • Hamilton Area YMCA
  • Lakeland Hills Family YMCA
  • Plainfield YMCA
  • Randolph YMCA
  • Gloucester County YMCA
  • Greater Morristown YMCA
  • Raritan Bay Area YMCA
  • Ridgewood YMCA
  • YM/WCA of Newark and Vicinity
  • Princeton Family YMCA
  • Camp Ockanickon YMCA
  • Wyckoff Family YMCA
  • Ocean County YMCA
  • YMCA of Western Monmouth
  • YWCA Northern New Jersey
  • And more coming…

Pre-K Our Way Ambassadors:

Ambassadors are educators, business leaders, community leaders and others committed to the expansion of high-quality preschool in communities throughout New Jersey, and to supporting Pre-K Our Way in that effort.

  • Cynthia Rice, Chair of the Ambassador Group, Senior Policy Analyst, Advocates for Children of New Jersey
  • Michelle Barnea, Early Childhood Consultant and Vice President of Professional Development, NJ Association for the Education of Young Children
  • Grace Blanco, Ironbound Early Learning Center Director, Ironbound Community Corporation
  • Susan A. deBrigard, Director and Child Advocate, Tower Hill School
  • Gail Fazio, Early Childhood Supervisor and Educational Consultant, Linden Public Schools (retired)
  • Joseph Jones, III, Superintendent, Woodbury City Public Schools (retired)
  • Beverly Lynn, CEO, Affiliation Programs for Parents, Inc.
  • Susan O’Donnell, Executive Director, Head Start Community Program of Morris County, Inc.
  • Teresa Rafferty, Superintendent, Piscataway School District
  • Mary M. Reece, Ed.D., Director of Special Projects, NJ Principals and Supervisors Association/FEA
  • Lisa Stein, Associate Professor Early Childhood, Atlantic Cape Community College
  • Lindy Wilson, Education Policy Advisor for Assemblywoman Mila Jasey
  • Rebekka Zydel, President, New Jersey Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and Executive Director, Child and Family Resources Inc.
  • And more coming…

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