The Pre-K Priority wants Forsyth County to realize ‘The future is Four Years Old’

Wearing T-shirts featuring their own drawings, two children pose in the community photo area at the start of the Pre-K Parade at Bailey Park hosted by The Pre-K Priority.

The Pre-K Priority wants Forsyth County to realize ‘The future is Four Years Old’
September 05
10:47 2019

The Pre-K Priority community engagement campaign, built around the theme “The Future is Four Years Old,” officially kicked off Saturday, Aug. 31. An inaugural Pre-K Parade at Bailey Park was attended by four-year-olds, their families, educators and community supporters. Many of the four-year-olds sported T-shirts with designs they had created at The Pre-K Priority Pop-Up just before the parade. The Pre-K Priority Pop-Up is designed as a traveling, interactive Pre-K experience where children and caregivers can engage with activities reflective of what happens in a high-quality Pre-K classroom.

“We’re looking to bring the Pre-K experience to the community through these pop-ups,” Family Services President and CEO Bob Feikema said. “While much of what happens in Pre-K may look like play to the casual observer, those activities are honing critical early childhood social, emotional and learning skills.”

Currently, only one in three four-year-olds in Forsyth County attend a publicly funded, quality Pre-K program which, studies show, has a profound impact on children’s learning and a lasting impact on the quality of their lives as adults.  

The Pre-K Priority, a coalition of community organizations convened by Family Services with support from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, wants to change this statistic and ensure all four-year-olds in our community attend a high-quality, affordable Pre-K program.

That change is already underway led by efforts of The Pre-K Priority work groups and a feasibility study by Forsyth Futures set to be completed by the end of the year.

“It’s critical that we educate our community about the importance and need for high-quality Pre-K,” Feikema said. “The first five years are a once-only window of opportunity to develop the social, emotional, cognitive, and academic readiness that enables children to succeed later in life. As a community, we need to make sure every child has the opportunity to be part of the nurturing and enriching environment provided by the skilled teachers and ‘resource-full’ classrooms found in quality Pre-K programs.”

High-quality Pre-K programs remain out of reach for many families in Forsyth County. Of the 2,700 children eligible for publicly-funded Pre-K based on family income, only 1,300 are enrolled due to insufficient state and local funding. At the same time, middle-class families constantly struggle to find affordable, high-quality Pre-K programs.

“The goal of The Pre-K Priority is to ignite public sentiment and create a movement to make Forsyth County a place that makes smart investments in its young children that will ensure the future vitality and well-being of our community,” Feikema said. “Most people recognize the importance of early childhood education, and we want to translate that recognition into a commitment to develop and fund a system of quality, affordable Pre-K programs for every four-year-old in our community.”

For information about The Pre-K Priority and where the next Pre-K pop-ups will occur, visit The website also invites visitors to sign the Pre-K Pledge.

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