11th Annual Georgia Pre-K Week Underscores Importance of Early Childhood Education—and Our Youngest Learners
Voices for Georgia’s Children and the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) are hosting the 11th annual Georgia Pre-K Week this week.
For the past 28 years, the nationally recognized Georgia’s 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 program has laid a solid foundation for academic excellence and future success in the lives of more than 1.6 million children.
Voices for Georgia’s Children, the state’s only comprehensive child policy and advocacy organization, coordinates Georgia Pre-K Week, which emphasizes the importance of quality early childhood education by providing opportunities for state and local leaders to engage directly with Pre-K classrooms in local communities. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Pre-K Week will once again be a virtual experience.
“The past year underscored the importance of our children having a place during the day where they’re safe, nurtured, and educated,” said Voices for Georgia’s Children Executive Director Erica Fener Sitkoff. “Georgia’s Pre-K Program is the essence of this place for our state’s four-year-olds.”
Nearly three out of every four current state legislators, and nearly half of Georgia’s congressional delegation, have participated in Georgia Pre-K Week since it began in 2011. This year, they’re reading Gaia Cornwall’s Jabari Jumps, a beautiful tale of how young Jabari overcomes his fears and believes in himself.
“One of the goals of Georgia Pre-K Week,” said DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs, “is for everyone—especially Georgia’s leaders—to be more aware of the importance of early childhood education and to see and participate in what happens in a Georgia Pre-K classroom. We appreciate that Voices for Georgia’s Children and the other sponsors of Georgia Pre-K Week recognize that the work accomplished in Pre-K classrooms around the state influences the academic future of thousands of Georgia’s children and impacts the future of our state.”
Georgia Power and Reach Out and Read Georgia return as sponsors of Georgia Pre-K Week, which is supported by Governor Brian Kemp, state commissioners, state and local elected officials, and other longstanding community partners.
DECAL Communications Director
Voices for Georgia’s Children Program Specialist
Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia’s Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community powered child care rating system. The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education.
Voices for Georgia’s Children is a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization that envisions a Georgia where all children thrive because they are safe, healthy, connected to family and community, and prepared to be productive and responsible citizens. Our mission is to promote equity, quality, and accessibility in systems created to serve children’s needs. We are dedicated to advancing policies and implementation actions that ensure the best possible outcomes for children.