Nevaeh Jones, 3, paints with her hands as her father James Long watches after registering her for pre-kindergarten on Saturday March 10, 2018, in Lynchburg, Va. Photo by Lathan Goumas.
For years Lynchburg preschool directors have shared a concern that too many children have fallen through the cracks.
According to local educators, many low-income families lack transportation or the time to properly register their children for pre-kindergarten classes. The result, they said, are scores of children unprepared for school, further hindering their ability to deal with poverty.
On Saturday, city educators and community members sought to help change that dynamic.
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Though Lynchburg preschool programs won’t start for another six months, representatives from Lynchburg City Schools and the Lynchburg Community Action Group Inc. conducted an experiment of sorts.
Buoyed by the city’s Poverty to Progress pre-K education subcommittee, about 40 educators, city officials, health professionals and community organizers worked closely to bring a preschool registration event to low-income families — a first for Lynchburg, according to organizers.
The pre-K subcommittee is one of 10 committees devoted to different aspects of systemic economic inequality working to decrease the city’s 24 percent poverty rate.
“When you have that many students who will be going into Lynchburg City Schools it’s great to get them early childhood education opportunities as early as possible and we want them to be in that system so that they get information early so that those students are ready to go for the fall,” Tweedy said.