Launched in 2005, New Mexico’s prekindergarten program served 11% of 3-year-olds and 42% of 4-year-olds in the 2021-2022 school year. The program enrolled 12,567 children in 2021-2022, an increase of 2,179 from the prior year. While eligibility is not determined by income, two-thirds of children enrolled at each program must live in the attendance zone of a Title I elementary school. Programs are funded through an application and grant process.
New Mexico PreK is funded by a competitive application and grant process. Funds are supported by a constitutional amendment, which New Mexico voters approved in 2022, that increased the distribution from the Land Grant Permanent Fund by 1.25%. Sixty percent of this increase provides $140 million annually to the Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD). In FY 2024, New Mexico will spend $98 million on preschool expansion. Through this investment, over 3,000 more slots for children will be created, including 554 new slots in tribal pre-K programs as part of the White House’s efforts to expand pre-K programs through intergovernmental agreements.
In December 2022, New Mexico was awarded a federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) renewal grant for $10 million. Funds from this award will be used to support continued expansion across the state.
At White House, governor highlights New Mexico’s early childhood education improvements. (2023). NM Political Report.
NIEER Declares New Mexico a National Leader in PreK (2023). National Institute for Early Education Research.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn more about ELS@H Findings
High-quality, affordable early education and care supports children’s healthy development and allows families to work, engage in their own educational pursuits, and/or participate in other aspects of community life. To support children and families in these instrumental ways, research suggests there is a need to expand the availability of early education opportunities across the mixed-delivery system.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
- But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.