Jackie Hendry

The Head Start program serves pre-school kids and their families across the country. It’s often one of the only preschool options in rural areas. The goal? To help get kids from low-income households ready for school. However, in one central South Dakota town, a partnership between Head Start and the local school district is providing  preschool for any child.

Steve Munsen

In The Moment ... October 1, 2019 Show 670 Hour 2

SDPB has been talking preschool education for more than a month now, looking into funding, standards of excellence, and accessibility. You can find all our coverage on our website at

Today we're visiting with parents like Dyanis Conrad Popova who have had to navigate preschool and early learning in South Dakota.

  Education and healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Regional Health, helping patients and communities live well


In The Moment ... October 1, 2019 Show 670 Hour 2

SDPB has been discussing preschool education for more than a month. In The Moment has been looking into funding, standards of excellence, and accessibility. You can find all of our coverage on our website,

Jennifer Keintz is a preschool parent. She talks about navigating preschool and early learning.

  Education and healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Regional Health, helping patients and communities live well

Josh Haiar

In The Moment ... September 24, 2019 Show 665 Hour 1

South Dakota does not publicly fund preschool education, but there are efforts to ensure excellence in early learning throughout the state. 

Today, we talk about the Preschool Levels of Excellence

Rob Monson is the executive director of School Administrators of South Dakota, Eric Knight is the Superintendent of Centerville School District, and Kevin Nelson is an education consultant and former Principal at Beresford Elementary.

Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... September 25, 2019 Show 666 Hour 2

This month we've been investigating the state of preschool education in South Dakota. We've visited with educators and administrators, lawmakers and parents. Today, we have a little fun with SDPB's Science Steve. He brings science lessons for early learning to spark the mind and the imagination.

Education and healthcare reporting on SDPB is supported by Regional Health, helping patients and communities live well

An estimate from the Sioux Falls School District shows about 350 children per year exceed federal poverty limits to attend Head Start, but preschool is too expensive for their families. The Sioux Falls Hope Coalition is a non-profit that partners with pre-schools and local businesses to provide that opportunity. With 150 students enrolled in pre-k in its third year, the Coalition’s leadership believes it won’t be long before it can give all Sioux Falls students a chance to prepare for kindergarten.

Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... September 23, 2019 Show 664 Hour 2

Now in its second year, the Hope Coalition is a collaborative effort to help families in need afford quality preschool education.

Sioux Falls Hope Coalition executive director Randell Beck, Sioux Falls Boys and Girls Club executive director Rebecca Wimmer, and Hope Coalition Board Chair Rich Merkouris, discuss potential solutions to Pre-K education in South Dakota where it doesn't receive state funding. 

News: Sep 14 - 20

Sep 20, 2019

Welcome to this week’s news podcast. This week you’ll hear about The Oglala Lakota Tribe becoming the first in the region to pass laws adding protections for LGBT people, House Minority Whip Erin Healy and House Speaker Steve Haugaard join us to talk pre-k, the Political Junkies discuss STAR Academy and more.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Research related to early childhood development is expanding quickly. While specialists agree on the importance of play, the benefits of preschool can vary depending on the program. 

SDSU Professor Mary Bowne specializes in early childhood learning and development. She says preschool is meant to help children develop emotional and academic skills. But she says the best early learning environments are based on play.

Jackie Hendry

South Dakota is one of only five states in the country with no state-supported preschool program. The Sioux Falls Hope Coalition is a non-profit dedicated to giving all children access to preschool. Wednesday it announced the Boys and Girls Club of the Sioux Empire is joining a partnership to offer free preschool for 20 local students.

South Dakota LRC

The Senate Education Committee is sending a bill creating an early learning advisory council to the 41st day. South Dakota is one of seven states without state funded preschools.

The twelve members of the council outlined in Senate Bill 132 include governor-appointed representatives from multiple government agencies--including the departments of education, health, social services, and the legislature. Other members include Head Start providers, parents, and the business community.

In The Moment ... December 19, 2017 Show 243 Hour 1

South Dakota is one of nine state with no government-funded preschool. Private preschool education can be pricey. The Sioux Falls Hope Coalition thinks we can begin to address the problem with resources that exist right now.

We're joined by Randell Beck, president of the board for the Sioux Falls Hope Coalition.

The State Moves Toward Greater Child Well-Being

Jun 29, 2016

South Dakota ranks 14 in child well-being. That's up from last year according to the annual Kids Count survey. One expert suggests improvements in areas that the state is lagging behind.

Like other Midwest states, South Dakota ranks high in overall measures released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to compare well-being across states over time. The survey looks at areas of economy, education, health and community.

Report Finds Gap In Pay For Pre-K Teachers

Jun 16, 2016
US Department of Education

  A report from the US Department of Education shows that preschool teachers earn significantly less than kindergarten and elementary educators—even in states that provide funding for early childhood programs. 

In South Dakota the median preschool teacher earnings are about $10,000 less than the wages of kindergarten teachers. The report found that even with the same level of education, the wages of preschool teachers fluctuate depending on their work setting.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Preschool teachers in Sioux Falls are learning about a program that helps students recognize gender differences and build relationships. It’s called the Sanford Harmony Program, and its champion says it started when he read the famous book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Tuesday the project’s namesake talks with teachers in Sioux Falls on their first day of Harmony training.