South Mississippi PreK4Ward Initiative

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About PreK4Ward

In August of 2011, a local foundation provided  private funding for preschool classes proposed by a Gulf Coast Business Council's Master’s project. The Gulfport Preschool Project, established by Mayor George Schloegel's committee in 2010,  merged with the Initiative and the South MS PreK4Ward program began!

Initial funding was awarded to the Nourishing Place’s Educational Support Organization. and Cynthia Minton Walker was selected by the Nourishing Place's Board to  expand the Educational Support Organization to oversee the new initiative. In 2015, the Nourishing Place approached United Way of South MS to become the financial sponsor of PreK4Ward, and a merger was completed.  Two anonymous donors awarded multi-year grants to United Way of SM who gave funding to qualified agencies/organizations that sent in an RFP to host the PreK4Ward program.

The Gulfport PreK4Ward classes were housed at Central Elementary; four classes in the County School District are at a Boys & Girls' Club, Crossroads Elementary, Pineville, Elementary, and Little Peoples Child Care.  Each program was staffed by a certified teacher and assistant who serve 20 students. and is overseen by the grantees.  

South MS PreK4Ward hoped that school districts would see the value of the program and begin to establish preschools for 4 year olds by 2013.  While legislation was passed to provide the first state funding for 4 year old preschools in 2013,  coast school districts did not begin to establish their own classrooms until 2018.  With the establishment of school programs, South MS PreK4Ward accomplished their original goals and relinquished the future of preschools to the local school districts.

South MS PreK4Ward is grateful to the founders and supporters of this unique and outstanding program for our children! We look forward to seeing a brighter future for our children in Mississippi.



PreK4Ward students learn through intergation! Thanksgivingn may never be the same for them!
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