Goal and Guiding Principles

The goal of Great Expectations is to ensure that young children in Forsyth County—with a special focus on those living in financially disadvantaged families—reach developmentally-appropriate milestones in the first five years, enter kindergarten ready to learn, and leave set for success in school and life.

Specifically, Great Expectations aims to have the vast majority of all financially disadvantaged children living in Forsyth County between birth and six years old:              

  • Reach developmentally-appropriate milestones from birth to entry into
    first grade
  • Enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn
  • Graduate from kindergarten healthy and with the knowledge, skills and behaviors expected for success in first grade
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In order to achieve this ambitious goal in the next 10 to 15 years, Forsyth County will have to address the needs of approximately 2,200 babies born at risk each year, and about 2,400 children entering kindergarten who are, each year, at risk to fall behind their classmates in reading.

In the process of developing Great Expectations, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust laid out a set of significant guiding principles that will ground the work of Great Expectations in a commitment to increased respect, access and equity for the communities it serves:

  • All children and their families deserve respect and opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic, sociolinguistic or economic factors 
  • An understanding and appreciation of the history, traditions and languages of diverse cultures is essential in respectfully and meaningfully engaging families in their children’s education
  • Communities have an obligation to address the challenges affecting their young residents and families living in poverty along with any related racial and ethnic inequities
  • Communities bear responsibility for examining how equity of access to quality resources and services as well as families’ knowledge/skills in navigating systems can contribute to disparities in outcomes

The Trust will challenge itself, MDC, and grantees and stakeholders to approach our work together in a way that gives life to these principles. In particular, that means that the Trust is making early investments in approaches that encourage low-income parents and caregivers to share their experience, perspectives, and knowledge about what is needed to best support their children.