Beyond The Backpack: Preparing Kindergartners for Success in School

In August, parents make costly back-to-school purchases for their children or students. It’s an annual tradition for many. But many parents are unable to provide their children with supplies they need for school. On Saturday, August 6 Nick Jr.Mall of America and alleviated some of the financial burden at the Beyond the Backpack event. Together, our three organizations gave 600 pre-packed backpacks to Twin Cities kindergarteners-to-be in need, and adopted their respective 27 kindergarten teachers.

5W2A7618Beyond the Backpack is a national program of Nick Jr. that promotes overall kindergarten readiness for preschoolers across the United States by getting supplies in the hands of students that need them. This year’s event distributed backpacks to students from the Northside Achievement Zone and St. Paul Promise Neighborhood.

Kindergarten students weren’t the only event attendees to receive a helping hand for the school year. The Mall of America and Nick Jr. donated more than $10,000 to and adopted kindergarten teachers in the Twin Cities. A ceremony held in the Rotunda recognized these dedicated teachers, and awarded each with $300 to purchase much-needed classroom materials.

During the event, Nick Jr. offered a variety of back-to-school readiness activities for the students. Stations were set up in the Rotunda for young learners to take part in art, reading, math, and physical education activities and celebrate the upcoming school year.

To ensure the success of students in need of supplies, Metro Transit sponsored trips to the event so kindergartners could pick up their pre-packed backpack. Families that needed a lift to the Mall of America on Saturday were offered a free-ride pass, giving them access to the bus or train at no cost.

Nick Jr., Mall of America, Northside Achievement Zone, and St. Paul Promise Neighborhood made a big impact on these kindergarteners and their teachers. is proud to partner with organizations like these that raise a hand for classrooms in need.

If you want to help stock a classroom with supplies before the new school year, visit to find a teacher in your community.