The Senate voted unanimously Thursday to expand pre-kindergarten education in Maryland, one of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s legislative priorities this year.

The bill would expand educational opportunities for 4-year-olds by providing grant funding to public and private schools. A similar bill is awaiting action in the House.

O’Malley issued a statement welcoming the Senate action, saying that “we’re building a stronger foundation that will help our state compete not just nationally, but globally.”