Local News

October 6, 2012

State officials promote pre-K education, programs

To celebrate Georgia’s pre-K program and its 20th anniversary, state Rep. Tom Dickson, R-Cohutta, sat alongside a group of four-year-olds recently at the Whitfield County-Dalton Day Care Center as part of “Georgia Pre-K Week 2012.”

Around the state, attention will be turned to the tens of thousands of Georgia’s youngest children in recognition of the important work they are doing to prepare for school success.

Monday through Friday was the state’s second official Georgia Pre-K Week, sponsored by Voices for Georgia’s Children (www.georgiavoices.com) and its Pre-K Week partners. Dickson is one of nearly 140 state officials who will visit some of the approximately 3,800 pre-K classrooms in all 159 counties in Georgia. Dickson read two books, “Pete the Cat” and “Llama, Llama, Red Pajama” to the three pre-K classrooms.

“We know that early childhood education is critical to future success, and preparing for elementary school is an important part of life for a child from birth through age five,” Dickson said. “We are thrilled to be honoring some of our youngest learners this week, and proud of what our state is accomplishing through Georgia’s pre-K program.”

 “Georgia’s pre-K is an exceptional education program that serves 84,000 four-year-olds throughout Georgia,” said Pat Willis, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, a child advocacy organization. “Pre-K is a milestone in a child’s early education. Studies show that early education programs for children age birth to five — in all income groups — will have long-term impact on a child’s education. We are proud that Georgia’s pre-K is making a difference in the lives of so many of our youngest learners, preparing them for future success in school and in life.”

Joining Voices for Georgia’s Children as partners on Georgia Pre-K Week are Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy (www.ferstfoundation.org), Georgia Association for Young Children (www.gayconline.org), Georgia Child Care Association (www.georgiachildcare.org), Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (www.geears.org), Georgia Family Connection Partnership (www.gafcp.org), Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (www.gpee.org) , Georgia Public Library Service (www.georgialibraries.org), JumpStart (www.jstart.org), multiple Junior League chapters (gajlspac.org), Quality Care for Children (www.qualitycareforchildren.org), United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta (www.unitedwayatlanta.org) and YMCA (www.ymcaatlanta.org).

The Whitfield County-Dalton Day Care Center is a local United Way, nationally accredited agency that serves 175 children, with 66 being pre-K children.

Debbie Rector, executive director of the center, said, “There are no ‘do-overs’ when it comes to early childhood. It is important that young children have the best possible start in life by preparing them before they begin kindergarten. Our focus is for the whole family to experience success here at our center so that when they transition to school, they have a better chance of being successful in school.”

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