Kindergarten readiness is a priority of the Georgia Pre-K program as we strive to ensure that our students have the necessary skills to be ready for their educational journey.

From making friends to learning rhymes, there is a foundation of knowledge that kindergarten teachers expect a child to know when entering their class.

Georgia’s Pre-K Program teaches that to the more than 80,000 kids who enroll in this no-cost program each year. Our mission to ensure that all our students have access to high quality educational experiences has made the program successful since its inception.

When a child enters kindergarten without basic social, emotional, and academic skills, he or she is at a disadvantage, as their peers from the Georgia Pre-K program will progress more efficiently due to having a solid foundation in the beginning of their educational journey.

The basic requirements -- which include how to express themselves appropriately, follow multi-step directions, positively interact with their peers and adults, and progress in their phonological awareness capabilities -- are usually not met without a Pre-K experience. Unfortunately, at times kindergarten teachers must include Pre-K standards in their instructions to get students ready for their class.

Our lottery-funded Georgia’s Pre-K Program is one of the best in the country. Since 1992, it has educated more than 1.6 million 4-year-olds. More than 80,000 are enrolled in 3,800 classes in all 159 counties.

Data show that children enrolled in Georgia's Pre-K Program are more prepared for kindergarten compared to other 4-year-olds. Children in Georgia Pre-K have shown significant growth across all domains of their development.

A Pre-K teacher’s job is to not only ensure that their students learn math, science, social studies, and language, but it is more to provide our students with positive learning experiences. Investing in Pre-K helps to close the achievement gap, increase graduation rates, create productive citizens, and make Georgia a state where all children have access to a quality education.

The importance of early childhood education cannot be understated as we know that a child’s brain develops at a remarkable pace between birth and age 8. This growth depends on a solid start.

A PreK teacher works diligently to help children learn about and understand how to handle their emotions in an appropriate way, and how to be kind and helpful, by teaching, modeling, and practicing each day. By practicing these important social and emotional skills we also inspire a love of learning.

When children are competent with social and emotional skills, the more likely they are to be productive adults.

We are excited to celebrate Georgia’s Pre-K Week, Oct. 4-8. The celebration is sponsored by Voices for Georgia’s Children, a child advocacy organization, with support from Georgia Power and Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

Every year during the first week of October, legislators, congressmen and congresswomen, commissioners, local elected officials, firefighters and other prominent Georgians read to a Georgia Pre-K class. Nearly 3 out of every 4 current state legislators have taken part. Early childhood educators appreciate the support and recognition during this week.

We encourage everyone to join us for Georgia Pre-K Week and read to a child at school or at home. Set up a Zoom call with a local Georgia Pre-K location and interact with the kids, read them your favorite childhood book, and ask about what they are learning.

With your support, we can be a part of creating future leaders.

Heather Melillo of West End Elementary School in Rome and Alderine Healey of YMCA Paulding Early Learning Center in Hiram are Georgia's Pre-K Teachers of the Year.

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