Community Planning about Preschool Education in Irvington

CONTACT:  Jen Fitzgerald, (848) 932-3138,

Irvington, NJ – On March 21st, the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) will launch a community planning forum, “Irvington Children Count: Together We Can Make a Difference!” This innovative interactive conference will address improving the quality of early childhood education and issues surrounding school readiness.

“The importance of early childhood education for a child’s future cannot be overstated,” said NIEER Project Coordinator Judith Alexandre, who organized the two-day forum event. “This conference intends to highlight that fact by discussing the issues that face the field locally. The saying goes that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and in Irvington we plan to gather the village to assess how best to do that.”

A diverse group of stakeholders – including Irvington Mayor Wayne Smith, Irvington Schools Superintendent Neely Hackett, and Robin Wilkins from the New Jersey Department of Education – will assemble to bring alternate perspectives to these important issues and unique contributions to long-term educational strategies for young children. Others in attendance will include leaders from businesses, faith-based organizations, and foundations as well as educators, early childhood education experts, school administrators, and parents. “It will be the first time that people from so many different perspectives will gather to discuss and plan improvements for early education in Irvington,” Alexandre said.

Together these participants will work to scrutinize Irvington’s early childhood education and care system through an analysis of the past, understanding of the present, and dialogue aimed at finding common solutions for the future of Irvington children – particularly a guarantee that all Irvington children are ready to successfully start their school career at age 5. The group will be guided by experienced facilitators using the Future Search model to help participants create and own actions steps that include meaningful measurements with follow-up monitoring.

“Nothing is more important to society's future than the proper early education of our children. That's why all people that have the future of Irvington in mind should participate in the Irvington Children Count forum,” said Mayor Wayne Smith.

The event will be held at a child care center in Irvington beginning on March 21st and re-convening on March 22nd. If interested in attending RSVP to Judith Alexandre at or 848-932-3152.


The National Institute for Early Education Research (, a unit of the Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, supports early childhood education policy by providing objective, nonpartisan information based on research.

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