All children have an inherent right to realize their full potential.

Yet, too many of our youngest children in Forsyth County do not enjoy the same opportunities for success. They are not ready to learn when they enter school. They start behind and constantly struggle to catch up. Too many never catch up.

We know that quality early childhood development has an enormous impact on a child’s ability to succeed in school and in life. We also know that providing the opportunity for every child to benefit from quality Pre-Kindergarten education results in positive social and economic outcomes for an entire community.

That’s why Family Services formed the Universal Pre-K Steering Committee, consisting of leaders in the early childhood development field who have created a plan for making quality Pre-K programs available to all children in Forsyth County. These experts have defined what is needed to provide and fund a quality Pre-K system. The committee presented a report of its recommendations at the Universal Pre-K Forum on September 28th, and is now preparing to launch a multi-year campaign to implement them.

Research shows that quality Pre-K programs benefit children throughout their school years and into adulthood:

  • Children’s brains develop most rapidly well before a child enters kindergarten. The early years in a child’s life represent a critical window of opportunity to develop a child’s full potential—socially, cognitively, and academically.
  • Children enrolled in high-quality Pre-K classrooms have improved test scores, better verbal skills, more developed social-emotional skills, and longer attention spans, all factors leading to success in school.
  • They are less likely to require remediation or be in need of special education services during their K–12 years.
  • Children who have benefitted from quality early childhood education demonstrate improved outcomes in terms of post-secondary educational attainment, increased income, home ownership, health status, and less contact with the criminal justice system.
  • They also contribute to a healthier community. As children, they receive early health screenings, develop healthy eating habits, and learn to self-regulate their emotions and behaviors.

Universal Pre-K benefits everyone and positions Forsyth County as an innovative, forward-thinking community that is attractive to businesses and families.

That’s why Family Services is also building a network of community champions to focus as never before on ensuring that all children have the opportunity to grow up to be truly remarkable and to contribute their talents to our community.

You understand what is at stake here. You know that our children are our future. You understand that our community’s economic vitality and social well-being depend on having all our children ready for school and for life.

Family Services invites you to become a champion for our youngest children. With your help, we can create a community of opportunity and raise every child to lead a fulfilling life. A brighter future for Forsyth County starts here. 

This article was first published by Forsyth Family Magazine, October 2016.