Piedmont women help prepare kids for kindergarten

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Families enroll their kids in preschool, hoping to prepare them for kindergarten.

However, there are many families that either can’t afford or don’t have access to early learning programs.

Chanel James and Dayna Gury earn a living as speech therapists, but in 2014, the two partnered to form the non-profit The Speech Bus – helping underserved children get exposed to preschool skills.

“It hurt us I think when we’d see our kids leave preschools and day cares for different reasons. They’d lose their voucher or there’s no transportation, and we realized they were just at home getting nothing,” James said.

“I work for the school system full-time and one of my major sites is a Head Start site, and there’s a huge waiting list for children to be able to come there to get services,” Gury said.

Once a month, James and Gury travel to neighborhoods where children may not have access to early learning.

Each session includes a learning and literacy circle – where kids are read a story and they do activities based on the story’s theme.

The language and literacy circle is designed to help children work on vocabulary, identifying colors, counting and interacting with others.

At the end of the session, children receive books and get to take home a craft they made related to the theme, as well as other items including snacks and a toothbrush and toothpaste.

This summer, James and Gury will have more flexibility in their schedules to visit neighborhoods more often.

“If we can reach one child, then we’ve done our duty,” Gury said.

To learn more about the program, visit its website or its Facebook page at The Speech Bus, Inc.