Georgia Pre-K Week 2017

State Rep. Trey Kelley was among local leaders who took time off to read to Pre-K students in classrooms across the area. He read to students at Westside Elementary.

Contributed by Trey Kelley

October’s week-long celebration brought of reading to local youth out leaders from across the state to experience the quality learning that goes on inside Georgia’s pre-k and early education programs.

Rockmart City Council member James Payne paid a visit to Rockmart’s combined Head Start and Pre-K class to read and take pictures with the city’s youth last week. And he wasn’t the only one out with students either.

Payne read the 1989 book “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” which proved to both entertain and influence the students.

Being read books works to stimulate a child’s mind by increasing their imagination, expanding their understanding of the world, and helping to develop crucial listening skills.

“A child’s most rapid brain development takes place during the period from birth to age eight,” Georgia Voices Outreach Manager Jessica Woltjen said. “Combining the inherent benefits of being read to with a child’s quickly developing brain results in a massive growth of cognitive function and understanding for a child.”

Children are more likely to read, write their own names, and be able to count to 20 or higher than their peers who weren’t read to,” The National Education Association reported.

Another local leader out reading to youth was State Representative Trey Kelley (R-Cedartown) who recently visited Westside Elementary School in Cedartown, Van Wert Elementary School in Rockmart, Eastside Elementary School in Rockmart and Tallatoona Head Start in Rockmart in support of early childhood education during Georgia Pre-K Week.

Kelley read a favorite children’s book to students to highlight the importance of reading at a young age.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to visit each of these schools and read to them for Georgia Pre-K Week,” said Kelley. “Georgia’s Pre-K program has served as a model of innovation and progress to our country, and I am proud to support it and our children.”

Support from government, business and community leaders has been the key to Georgia’s success in leading the nation in early learning policies and practices.

“Such broad support from so many of our state’s most influential citizens, such as Kelley, shows us that Georgians really understand the long term value of quality early learning,” said Emily Pelton, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children. “Getting the right start helps a child succeed in nearly every phase of life, from learning to read successfully by third grade to graduating high school and ultimately entering the workforce.”

In addition to countless local mayors, city council members, public safety employees and professionals from all walks of life, nearly three out of every four state legislators has participated, as well as various state commissioners, many members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation, Gov. Nathan Deal and First Lady Sandra Deal.

Standard Journal Correspondent Sean Williams contributed to this report.