On Tuesday, August 8, 2023, Newark Board of Education's Office of Early Childhood hosted their 2nd annual "Road Trip to Pre-K" Event at Belmont Runyon Elementary School, where over 200 families attended. The Road Trip to Pre-K Recruitment Event is a Head Start Community Resource initiative designed to showcase resources in the community and highlight essential milestones from conception to Pre-K and beyond. Upon arrival, families were greeted at the check-in table by helpful staff members who provided them with a welcome bag and passport book outlining the various stations they would encounter throughout the day.
The journey began with attendees having a unique opportunity to meet with social service technicians from the 14 Head Start locations in the city and discuss their programs and enrollment opportunities. District staff were also onsite from the Office of Early Childhood Conception to Cradle, Office of Enrollment, Parent Engagement, and Special Education to share information with families. The families then entered the "Community Partner Lane," where they had a chance to meet representatives from various organizations, such as Newark Public Library, SPAN, the Newark Department of Health and Wellness, Programs for Parents, and the Weequahic Family Success Center to learn more about the services they provide.
After loading up on information, families were able to let the good times roll by visiting the Fun Station, equipped with bounce houses and games, the Dance Station, where children were led through a creative movement experience, and the Safety Station, where families were led through a safety town exhibit from E-Z Ride Safe Kids. Children and families could engage in a "fire truck" experience, where they could climb into one of Newark's very own fire engines and EXPLORE!
Several Health Trucks were on site to provide health screenings, such as the WOW Van and the Mobile Screening Clinic. There was even a visit from Batman himself and his Batmobile. Families ended the day with a complimentary lunch and ice cream.
The Road Trip to Pre-K is the culminating event that brings the Newark Board of Education's Ten-Year Strategic Plan to life. Today's ongoing reciprocal partnerships represent the commitment to the community and the youngest learners. According to Executive
Director Yolanda Severe expressed, "The impact of this event will be seen by all when we welcome our students on the first day of school, September 5, healthy and ready to learn."