NC Legislators Visit Ashe County Preschool To Meet Children Preparing For Kindergarten By Using ApSeed Pre-K Touchpads

April 18, 2024   ●   by Julie Morrow

(Ashe County, NC) North Carolina-based nonprofit ApSeed and partner Ashe County Schools recently hosted several state legislators for on-site visits at the Ashe Early Learning Center in West Jefferson to provide an in-person look at the ApSeed pre-K educational touchpad in action.

On Jan. 26, ApSeed and Ashe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eisa Cox hosted state leaders Rep. Ray Pickett (District 93) and Rep. Jeffrey Elmore (District 94) at Ashe Early Learning Center. The lawmakers joined local school board leaders, including Chairman Josh Roten, Vice Chairman Dianne Eldreth, and Board Member Janet Ward as they enjoyed classroom time with preschoolers.

On Feb. 19, ApSeed and Dr. Cox welcomed NC Senate Deputy President Pro Tem, Sen. Ralph Hise (District 47) for a visit at the same preschool center.

During both visits, lawmakers were able to watch as the children rotated through learning stations around the classroom, including time using the ApSeed pre-K touchpad. Each device is pre-loaded with educational games.

“To be ready for Kindergarten, children need to know letters, numbers, shapes, and colors,” says Dr. Eisa Cox, superintendent of Ashe County Schools. “The ApSeed is such a helpful tool because it comes pre-loaded with app games that help preschoolers learn those basic skills in such an entertaining and enjoyable way.”

Over the past seven months, ApSeed has distributed 750 touchpads to underserved Ashe County preschoolers. Each touchpad is provided to children at no cost – a value of $163.50 each – to use in the classroom and to take home to build on those skills outside of school time. Also, these devices do not connect to the internet and they don’t have a camera, making them as safe as possible for young learners.

“ApSeed educational touchpads make kindergarten-readiness fun,” says ApSeed Executive Director, Dr. Julie Morrow. “They are designed specifically to help preschool-aged children become better prepared to start kindergarten by teaching them the foundations of literacy.”

In 2022, thanks to a $2.5M grant from the NC Dept. of Public Instruction (DPI), ApSeed was able to provide 12,000 pre-K touchpads to children in 17 counties throughout North Carolina. But that was a one-time grant so ApSeed is actively looking for more public and private funders to meet the growing need.

ApSeed partners with childcare providers, school districts, and local or state agencies, to distribute take-home touchpads to any preschool-aged child, but especially to those in federally-sponsored Pre-K, Title 1, and Head Start programs or who are served by the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) supplemental nutrition program.

Since 2016, the organization has delivered more than 25,000 touchpads – free of charge – to children in North and South Carolina, New York City, and even as far away as Zimbabwe.

“Every child deserves to succeed,” says ApSeed founder, Greg Alcorn. “ApSeed pre-K touchpads boost kindergarten readiness, which can dramatically improve the academic trajectory and the economic mobility of our youngest learners.”

Julie Morrow

Julie Morrow