City officials celebrate 2-years of PHL Pre-K

SOUTHWEST PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The City of Philadelphia is celebrating a program to get more toddlers into pre-kindergarten.

The PHL-PreK program has been running for two years now, and Mayor Jim Kenney says the numbers prove it is a success.

Kenney met with kids enrolled in the program at Your Child's World in Southwest Philadelphia on Friday.

The meetup is part of a birthday celebration for the city-funded program.

As of Friday, PHL-PreK funded tuition slots for 2,250 children citywide.

The program is funded by the controversial Sweetened Beverage Tax.

The job for the little people visited by the mayor is to learn their numbers, colors, and letters. They also learn to socialize and play well with others.

The goal is to be ready for kindergarten and beyond.

"It's critical because if children are not reading by third or fourth grade at grade level, the odds of them graduating high school are slim to none. If we can change that around, we can change this generation of children into earners and learners and taxpayers and parents, and things we all want for our kids," Kenney said.

There are other Pre-K programs in the city, including the federally-funded Head Start and a state-funded program.

Both of those programs are means-tested, which means parents can make too much money to enroll their children.

PHL Pre-K has no such financial requirement.

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