Community members, YMCA leaders, staff and partners from around the state visited multiple Y Early Learning sites to read to students as part of Georgia Pre-K Week, an annual event to celebrate the state’s nationally recognized Pre-K program and other quality early learning centers.
Now in its ninth year, Georgia Pre-K Week raises awareness for the importance of quality early childhood education, and community leaders and elected officials commemorate the occasion by visiting Pre-K centers to see early learning in action and read a favorite children’s book to the young learners. Key supporters include various state commissioners and elected officials.
Georgia’s Pre-K Program was the brainchild of Governor Zell Miller in 1992 and has now served 80,536 children. It operates in all of the state’s 159 counties. Georgia is one of only ten states and Washington, D.C. that provide high-quality care to more than 50% of all four-year-olds.
“We are proud to help lay a sturdy foundation for our children that will ensure they get a strong start both academically and in life,” said Yolondi Smith, Senior Director of YMCA Early Learning Pre-K Services. “The enthusiasm and support we receive from partners across the state not only makes the children and staff feel good, it also reminds us how important it is to value early learning so that children can continue through school and life able and ready to learn.”
“The broad and diverse base of support from around our state is evidence that Georgia’s leaders care about and understand the long-term impact of quality early learning on each child,” said Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children. “Research consistently shows that children entering kindergarten from quality early learning settings are more prepared and ready to learn, which our leaders see first-hand during Pre-K Week.”
Georgia Pre-K Week is organized each year by Voices for Georgia’s Children, a policy and advocacy non-profit organization, with the full support of Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL).
The Y has been in the early education space for more than 30 years and is the largest provider of early learning in metro Atlanta, serving 3,475 early learners across 32 sites. The Y’s early learning work provides deep professional development for teachers and focuses on student preparedness for kindergarten.
Erica K. Faulkner
Director of Content and Social Media