Early Childhood

Contact Info
Samantha Lott-Velez
Executive Director

Office Location
765 Broad Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Phone: 973-733-6234
Fax: 973-424-4372
The Newark Public Schools’ Office of Early Childhood is committed to providing every 3- and 4-year old child, regardless of individual needs, with a high-quality Pre-K Education that also puts the health of children and the engagement of families at its core, by ensuring equal access to the opportunity to learn and by providing developmentally-appropriate resources and services that promote children’s learning and development to ensure readiness for Kindergarten and beyond.

All 4-year olds leave Pre-K ready for Kindergarten, and with a love of learning. Parents and Families who experience Pre-K in Newark have the knowledge and skills to support and advocate for their children’s education and health for the long haul.

It is our pre-k programs that make this happen with the support of a high-impact, high-performance Team OEC.

Core Beliefs
We believe that:

  1. When families do better, children do better. This means that we must provide all the key tenants of a high-quality comprehensive pre-k program, inclusive of engaging families by understanding their needs and providing them with critical information, services and supports so they may positively thrive and become stronger advocates for their children during and after pre-k.
  2. All children, regardless of individual needs, can learn, will learn, and will make progress. We have high-expectations of our children and believe that in addition to rigorous standards-based developmentally appropriate teaching and learning in our classrooms, our health supports, preschool interventions, special education services and family extended learning options, will prepare children for kindergarten and beyond.
  3. Children must not only enroll in pre-k but must attend consistently, and with effective school-level systems around attendance as well as the right supports for families, children will make the gains needed for to be ready for kindergarten.
  4. Our Pre-K Programs, in schools, provider preschools, Head Start programs, are at the frontline in ensuring positive outcomes for children and families. OEC can effectively continue to build relationships, motivation and capacity with our Pre-K Leaders, Teaching Teams, Family Engagement and Fiscal/Operations staff members because together, we make it happen.
  5. Continuously building OEC staff capacity and implementing the needed organizational structures, systems and development plans will allow for all OEC Staff to not only be effective in their work but thrive.

OEC Priorities Aligned with NPS’

  1. Stronger Academics and Student Supports
    Health Services, Student Supports and Academic Experiences
  2. Great Leadership and Educators in Every School and Classroom
    Supports for Leaders, Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Quality and Accountability
  3. Community-Centered Decision-Making: Parent Choice and Parent Voice in Schools
    Family & Community Engagement frameworks and supports, Communications
  4. Efficient Operations, Sustainable Budgets, and Skilled Governance
    NJPK and Head Start funding, general operations, and Governance through ECAC, Head Start Policy Council, Head Start Governing Body
  5. Expand Pre-K Options and Achieve Stronger Participation in Pre-K through Improved Enrollment and Attendance
    OEC-Specific Priority
  6. OEC Organizational Planning and Development
    OEC-Specific Priority – Organizational self-knowledge, empowerment, and alignment