Atlanta, Ga. – Georgia’s Pre-K Week is turning ten! And we are celebrating this milestone anniversary!
For the past 28 years, Georgia’s nationally-recognized Pre-K Program has provided quality early education to the state’s youngest learners. Launched in 1992 as a pilot program serving 750 four-year-olds, the lottery-funded Georgia’s Pre-K Program has laid a solid foundation for academic excellence and future success in the lives of approximately 1.6 million children.
Voices for Georgia’s Children, the state’s only comprehensive child policy and advocacy organization, coordinates Georgia’s Pre-K Week and is excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this annual celebration of early learning. Georgia’s Pre-K Week emphasizes the importance of quality early childhood education by providing opportunities for leaders to engage with Pre-K classrooms in local communities. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the new landscape in which the state’s children are learning, this Pre-K Week will look different from year’s past.
“This year’s celebration is bittersweet,” said Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children. “Safety precautions at many Pre-K centers are forcing us to celebrate virtually this year. While our state and community leaders won’t be in classrooms in person, many are still marking the occasion by reading a book to students in their district and introducing those critical early literacy skills via video.”
Nearly three out of every four state legislators, and nearly half of Georgia’s congressional delegation, have participated in Georgia’s Pre-K Week by reading to kids since it began in 2011. This year, they’ll be reading Behind the Little Red Door, written by Georgia native Coy Bowles. We’re excited that WSB-TV’s Fred Blankenship and Linda Stouffer, CBS 46’s Karyn Greer, and former WSB-TV news anchor Monica Kaufman Pearson will join in the celebration by reading Bowles’ new book Can You Touch a Color? as well.
“Georgia’s Pre-K looks a little different this year,” said Amy M. Jacobs, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), which administers Georgia’s Pre-K Program and licenses and monitors the state’s child care learning centers. “Because of COVID-19, some of our classes are engaged in full distance learning, while others are meeting in person by implementing strict safety protocols. But regardless of the way Georgia’s Pre-K is being delivered, our teachers are providing quality education to prepare children for Kindergarten. And by participating in Georgia’s Pre-K Week activities…virtually or in person…state and local leaders can demonstrate to parents and the public their support of quality early education.”
Once again, Georgia Power and Reach Out and Read Georgia are returning as sponsors of Pre-K Week, which is supported by Governor Brian Kemp, state commssioners, state and local elected officials, and other longstanding community partners, making this year’s virtual event and 10-year anniversary a special one.