New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics Signs on as Pre-K Our Way Advocate

The New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP), which represents more than 1,700 pediatricians throughout New Jersey, announced today their advocacy-level support for Pre-K Our Way and the expansion of high-quality, preschool to more New Jersey three- and four-year olds.

“Quality pre-kindergarten education is one of the wisest investments in the future health and education of all children,” said Fran Gallagher, MEd, Executive Director of NJAAP. “The New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, representing over 1,700 pediatricians across the state, enthusiastically supports the Pre-K Our Way initiative to expand access to New Jersey’s existing high-quality preschool program to more, if not all, of New Jersey’s three- to four-year-olds. Pre-K Our Way links the data and scientific findings with an exceptional intervention plan for young children across NJ – an investment to help ensure todays’ youth are ready for tomorrow’s work force.” 

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University, 90 percent of physical brain development occurs in the first three years of life.  Early interactions between children and adults build a foundation for our kids’ ability to learn, interact with people and apply knowledge. Skills developed in early childhood drive a host of adult outcomes including higher education, higher wages, healthier lifestyles, better health, greater productivity and stronger families according to research by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman.

“Pediatricians know that education begins at birth not at age five when many New Jersey kids enter kindergarten,” said Sam Crane of Pre-K Our Way. “The medical community understands the importance that early learning and socialization provided by high-quality preschool can have on the long-term developmental outcomes for our children. That is why it is so important to Pre-K Our Way that the New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics has announced their support for the expansion of high-quality, preschool to more New Jersey children.”

Pre-K Our Way is a community-driven, nonpartisan, nonprofit effort to bring New Jersey’s effective, high-quality preschool program to each of our communities. Existing state law calls for the expansion of New Jersey’s proven, high-quality preschool programs from fewer than its current 40 towns to 90 more communities across New Jersey. Pre-K Our Way wants to expand the quality preschool model for three- to four-year-olds that New Jersey already has by fully implementing the law.

The New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is a statewide advocacy organization, representing more than 1,700 pediatricians, dedicated to improving the health, safety and well-being of children, from infants to young adults, throughout New Jersey. It works to promote pediatricians as the best-qualified health professionals to provide health care to children. With this announcement of support, NJAAP joins more than 50 community-based and statewide organizations supporting the expansion of New Jersey’s existing preschool program to more communities across the state.