/ Modified feb 15, 2022 8:15 a.m.

Pima County-funded preschool program growing slowly

COVID-19 pandemic poses challenges for the program.

Preschool Toys Children's toys.

Last year, Pima County set aside $10 million of federal COVID relief money to help low- and middle-income parents send their youngsters to preschool. Six months into the program, it is slowly catching on.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors created PEEP, the Pima Early Education Program, to give three-to-five year olds a preschool experience their parents otherwise might not be able to afford.

Monica Brinkerhoff is with the United Way, which is working to make more quality preschool programs available around the county. She says the preschool initiative faces a number of challenges, including teacher recruiting.

"Just like any other industry we are having a hard time recruiting teachers to come to this work. So sometimes, you know, that there's just a variety of factors," Brinkerhoff said.

PEEP was designed to serve up to 1,200 preschoolers. So far, it has enrolled less than half that number, but the county says it continues to grow.

Brinkerhoff says some parents are reluctant to send their kids into a group setting, and in a few cases locations, such as church facilities, have shut down due to COVID outbreaks.

But she says for those who have enrolled, it's turning out to be a great experience.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona