Our History

An Idea, a Vision, and a Need Fulfilled

In 1996, faced with budget constraints, a loss of state aid for pre-k, and a lack of space due to increasing elementary school enrollment, the Montclair Board of Education decided it could no longer support the public pre-k program that had existed in Montclair for two decades. The community, however, was strongly committed to providing quality early childhood education, and a creative solution emerged. The Township Council established the Montclair Early Childhood Corporation (MECC) as a not-for-profit organization with the mandate to continue educating the preschool children of the Township. Thus, MECC created the Montclair Community Pre-K (MCPK). Utilizing space provided by the Montclair Board of Education and funds loaned by the Township, MCPK opened its doors in September 1998.

Our Mission and Funding: A Unique Collaboration with our Township

This exceptional preschool is available to all families in Montclair, regardless of their ability to pay. That commitment has never wavered: we have never turned away a family for financial reasons. Over the years, approximately 35% of enrolled families have received some level of tuition assistance on a sliding-scale based on household income. Often approximately twenty-five families per year (earning less than $20,000 annually) pay $50 per month. This school year, sixty families are able to attend MCPK because of our Scholarship Program.

The school's budget is funded by annual support from the Township of Montclair; gifts and grants from individuals, corporations, and foundations; fundraising events throughout the year; in-kind support from local businesses; and tuition fees.

In 2002, MCPK was acknowledged by the Doris Duke Charitable Trust and the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), which selected MCPK as an exemplary early childhood program that supports families as well as children, with the goal of preventing child abuse and neglect. We are one of only twenty-one programs in the entire United States to receive this recognition, and the only center located in New Jersey. Our school serves as the mentor program for the Strengthening Families Initiative, both in New Jersey and around the country.

Click HERE to learn more about the history of MCPK!