Resources and Initiatives Aiding Kindergarten Ready Families

Research tells us that early experiences matter for kindergarten readiness and school success. The most important positive early experiences, fortunately, take the form of a family's care and love. Upon this foundation, families can build a strong set of opportunities to strengthen early childhood brain development.

All families with young children are eligible to enroll in the Shelby County Books from Birth program. This organization is associated with the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, and provides free, age-appropriate children's books to any child under the age of five. After signing up, the family will receive a free, developmentally appropriate children's book every month until the child reaches 5 years old. If a family has multiple children, the family can sign up each child and each child will receive their own individual books at the developmentally appropriate times. A family can sign a child up at any time as long as the child is between the ages of zero and five years old. The evidence is clear that an early exposure to reading matters, and Books from Birth allows for children to create their own library. This service is free to families, and the research suggests that children in the program are better prepared for kindergarten than their peers who do not participate.

For many families, the cost of school supplies can be daunting. Fortunately, many helpful organizations in Memphis supply free school supplies to children. Many Memphis and Shelby County schools offer free school supplies to incoming students or host donation drives in order to give free supplies to incoming students. Additionally, the Memphis Police Department's Community Outreach Program (COP) is holding its 2nd annual Back to School Giveaway. This event will give away free school supplies on a first come first serve basis, and will also provide free back to school hair cuts for boys. The event will take place on August 3 from 10:00 – 2:00pm at the Lester Community Center. For more information, please call 901-323-8199.