We are the PreK Priority

We are a coalition of community organizations and individuals committed to improving the number of affordable, high-quality Pre-K programs available to all four-year-olds in Forsyth County.

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The status of pre‑K in forsyth county

Of the more than 4,500 four-year-olds in Forsyth County every year, only 1/3 are enrolled in publicly funded Pre-K. Lack of funding for additional Pre-K slots, lack of teachers, inadequate teacher pay, and the high cost fo Pre-K are just a few of the issues that keep more children from accessing high-quality Pre-K. In North Carolina, the average annual cost for full day care for a 4-year-old is equivalent to the average annual cost of tuition and fees at a public college.

Economic mobility

Too many children in Forsyth County are not reaching their full potential. Nearly half are not proficient in reading by third grade. From there, it’s hard to catch up. A Harvard University study ranks Forsyth County as the 5th worst out of 2,873 counties in the nation for helping poor children move up the economic ladder.

Racial Disparities

For the past decade assessments of school readiness and third‐grade academic proficiency of children in the Winston‐ Salem/Forsyth County Schools have registered persistent disparities among children of color and economic disadvantage. These results are the product of a systemic failure to address social and racial inequities.

State Funding

The North Carolina Pre‐K Program (NC Pre‐K) is the primary source of public funding for quality Pre‐K programs that benefit low‐income and minority children. Forsyth County ranks at or near the bottom of North Carolina counties in terms of the funding it receives to enroll the more than 2,700 children in the county that are eligible for NC Pre‐K. In 2019‐20 only 27% of eligible children in the county were enrolled as compared with 67% in neighboring Guilford County.

Local Investment

In 2023, Forsyth County Commissioners and the City of Winston Salem approved over $4M of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support increased quality standards in 32 Pre-K pilot classrooms representative of the Pre-K landscape across Forsyth County. Several urban counties in NC are allocating local tax dollars to make significant, strategic investments to increase the availability and quality of their Pre‐K programs. Local government in Forsyth County has yet to make such long-term investments.

We can do better. The Pre-K Priority educates and advocates across a number of key initiatives to address the critical barriers that keep more­­ children from accessing the early learning environment most right for them.

initiatives

The Pre-K Priority educates and advocates across a number of key initiatives to address the critical barriers that keep more­­ children from accessing the early learning environment that is best for them and their families.

START THE PRE-K REGISTRATION PROCESS

Not sure where to register your child? Pre‑K is one of the best decisions you can make for your child’s education and overall success. Take one minute to answer five questions, and we’ll help you find the best way forward.

register for pre‑K

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PRE-K MODEL COHORT CLASSROOMS

In 2023, Forsyth County Commissioners and The City of Winston-Salem approved over $4M of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant funds to support increased quality standards in a model cohort of 32 Pre-K classrooms representative of the Pre-K landscape across Forsyth County.

LEARN MORE

TEACH PRE-K

Passionate about teaching young children and creating the foundation they need to grow and thrive? If you are a high school student or considering a 2-year or 4-year program in Early Childhood Education, teaching Pre-K may be the right career for you. As one of a child’s first classroom teachers, you’ll hold a unique and special place in education—not to mention in the hearts of proud and grateful families.

teach pre‑K

ADVOCATE FOR WORKPLACE CHILD CARE SUPPORT

Families who can access a Pre-K program of their choice are more likely to enter the workforce and stay employed—helping build a healthier, more equitable and vibrant economy in Forsyth County.

Pre‑K works

ACCESS RESOURCES FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS CARE PROVIDERS

Childcare and Pre-K options in Forsyth County extend past public and private options. As our families go to work, many care for young children at home or prefer to leave them with family members or individuals that they trust.

The Family, Friends & Neighbors Caregiver Network (FFN) supports community members who care for young children ages 0–5 in their homes.

Access resources

Why Pre-K?

High-quality early learning through Pre-K helps children enter Kindergarten ready to succeed in school and life.

Child
benefits

Nurtures a child’s brain during the critical, early years of life—academically, socially, and emotionally

Helps reduce the achievement gap; and increases test scores, high school graduation rates, and college attendance

Fewer children require special education programs

Benefits all children and has an even greater impact on socially and economically disadvantaged students and dual language learners

family
benefits

Allows families to pursue employment knowing their children are safe and receiving high-quality care

Helps reduce financial burden on working families (subsidized Pre-K)

Provides resources and support for parents/guardians early in their child’s development, and offers screenings to identify potential developmental and health issues

community
benefits

Children will become adults who are well-prepared for the workforce

Every $1 invested yields $7 in long-term economic savings

Reduces the need for tax dollars spent on educational remediation, social supports, or criminal justice

I Support

access to affordable, high-quality Pre‑K for every 4‑year‑old in Forsyth County.

I Support

Increasing the availability of high-quality Pre‑K programs in our community.

I Support

STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
IN MAKING PRE-K A PRIORITY
IN THEIR ANNUAL BUDGETS.

I value and appreciate

our teachers, staff, and administrators, and thereby support compensation practices reflecting their importance to our community.

Take the pledge.

By signing this pledge, I agree that my name may be listed as a signer of the Pre-K Pledge. Read our Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for your support!

Ensuring that every child begins school on track academically and socially is one of the best investments we can make as parents, employers and citizens. I support access to affordable, high-quality Pre-K for every 4-year old in Forsyth County.

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