Nov. 3—HIGH POINT — Gov. Roy Cooper came to High Point on Thursday to spotlight a program providing grants to help make pre-kindergarten care more affordable and help retain pre-K teachers.
Taking part in a game of hot potato and an interactive reading of "The Three Little Pigs" was a bonus.
Cooper and several local elected officials toured Kid Appeal Learning Center on Greensboro Road, and Cooper joined children in two indoor classes and one outdoors as television camera operators jockeyed for position to film it.
During the reading of "The Three Little Pigs," the teacher let him hold a card showing the wolf because Cooper raised his hand without screaming, "ME!" as the children had been told they should. He also correctly recited the wolf's words threatening to blow down the house made of twigs.
Speaking to the media later outside the building, Kid Appeal co-owner Bruce Davis said the Child Care Stabilization Grants that Cooper came to tout kept Kid Appeal afloat during the worst of the pandemic.
"We knew that without help we would struggle to survive," he said. "The Child Care Stabilization Grants have been a blessing as they have allowed us the opportunity to keep staff working, when under normal circumstances we would cut hours and send teachers home."
Instead Kid Appeal has been able to give pay increases and bonuses regardless of the number of children in attendance, he said.
The $800 million for the grant program came from the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed in early 2021 to speed the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $655 million has been distributed to more than 4,200 child care facilities across the state.
Cooper said the program has helped not only the child care centers but businesses throughout the communities they serve.
"These child care investments are providing parents with the support they need to get back into or stay in the workforce while ensuring children get the early childhood education they need to succeed," he said.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning, D-6th, said the grants have helped support 2,000 child care jobs in Guilford County.
Cooper said he is committed to continuing the program through at least the end of 2023, and he said he will seek more funding from the federal government as well as the N.C. General Assembly.