Philly's universal pre-K expands, due to soda tax

It's an important day for Philadelphia youngsters, more than they probably realize.

Wednesday is the first day for the expansion of the city's universal pre-K program, so no more sitting at home waiting to turn 5.

Philadelphia got more than $10 million to get 2,000 students enrolled in tuition-free pre-K programs.

There are 135 operating sites throughout the city. FOX 29 News was at the SPIN (Special People in Northeast) Early Childhood Center.

The money -- $8,500 per student -- will be coming from the controversial soda tax that went into effect on Sunday.

School has changed in recent decades. Scoring high on standardized tests is very important.

Students are learning more and more while they're younger and younger, so when experts call kindergarten the new first grade, pre-K becomes that much more important.

Educators say pre-K it provides a foundation that helps students avoid getting left behind, because playing catch-up gets harder as students age.

Many parents are super excited and grateful for the program they'd never be able to afford.