With a waiting list of more than 400 students, Vanessa Osbourne knew she needed to offer another option for the kids who weren’t going to be able to participate in the pre-kindergarten program.
“We wanted to make sure that if those kids didn’t get a Pre-K experience that we offer something for them before school started,” said Osbourne, program coordinator for Winston-Salem, Forsyth County Schools.
Osbourne developed Pathway to K, a three-week course at the end of the summer designed to prepare kids who wouldn’t otherwise participate in Pre-K for kindergarten and introduce them to the kinds of activities they’ll be doing in school.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Pathway to K is able to access the First Book Marketplace and all that it has to offer. Each classroom has multiple sets of diverse books that aim to reach each and every child. When the program has parent engagement nights, kids and their guardians receive a brand new, high-quality book to take home.
Some of the parents or guardians participating in Pathway to K work multiple jobs and are striving every day to provide opportunities for their children, and it’s not always easy. The opportunity to participate in a kindergarten readiness program is huge for many families.
“We had a grandmother who was so excited when her grandson got in to Pathway to K,” Vanessa said. “She acted like it was a college application. When we told her, ‘Of course he got in,’ she ran around shouting, ‘He got in! He got in!’”
A program like Pathway to K is worth getting excited about. Vanessa uses her 30 years of experience in education to make sure each child is getting a well-rounded experience. During the three-week program children are introduced to books, practice counting and sorting and learn social and emotional skills.
But there is one thing that Vanessa hopes Pathway to K can instill in its tiny participants: “Building that love of reading.”
Pathway to K was able to receive books through First Book’s partnership with Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. If you work with children in need, you can access books and resources for your organization through the First Book Marketplace.