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PA Pediatricians Call for Stronger Pre-k Investments

A group of pediatricians from across Pennsylvania visited the Capitol this week calling for stronger investments in high-quality pre-k. Their visit coincided with the release of a new report from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) that details the role high-quality pre-k can have in a child's healthy development.

These medical professionals know the years before a child enters kindergarten are a critical window for healthy cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. They also know too many of Pennsylvania's at-risk children - young learners who could benefit from the supportive, nurturing environment of a quality pre-k classroom - miss out on pre-k because we aren't investing enough in it.

Dr. Susan Kressly, president of the PA AAP, notes adverse social or economic conditions can be detrimental to a child's healthy development and lead to "toxic stress" - the type of extreme, frequent and persistent stress that can actually alter a child's brain development. One way to mitigate the impact of toxic stress is to provide young children with caring relationships and stable, supportive environments. "Those are exactly the kinds of positive relationships and environments found in Pennsylvania's high-quality pre-k programs," Dr. Kressly says.

That's why the PA AAP supports Pre-K for PA's request for a $90 million increase in high-quality pre-k funding for fiscal 2016-17. It's a common-sense investment that can help more young learners be healthier and better prepared for success in school and beyond.

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