Early EducationEducationFeatures

Preparing Georgia’s Little Ones for K-12

Georgia preschool programs have been proven to help children succeed before entering kindergarten.

“Research has shown that children who attended Georgia’s Pre-K were able to overcome the achievement gap they face prior to enrolling in pre-K,” says Theresa Prestwood, vice president of development marketing for Quality Care for Children.

Georgia Pre-K is a program for 4 year olds to prepare children for kindergarten. In Georgia, the lottery-funded program is available for children who are 4 by Sept. 1. The program is voluntary for families and child care providers. Quality Care for Children is a 35-year-old state program dedicated to ensuring that Georgia’s infants and young children are nurtured, educated and reach their full potential with a focus on creating excellent in child care and early learning.

Prestwood says Georgia’s Pre-K has been recognized nationally for its success. “It’s the nation’s first universal pre-K program entirely funded by the state lottery,” she continues. “Thanks to former Gov. Zell Miller, Georgia’s Pre-K is not marginalized by income or location, and because it operates entirely from lottery funds, it’s not subject to taxpayer budget cuts.”

She adds that utilizing Georgia’s Quality Rated rankings can help parents identify quality care centers by using a three-star system. Registration for Georgia’s Pre-K begins in February and oftentimes classes fill up quickly, so parents and guardians are encouraged to visit allgakids.org or call 877-All-Georgia-Kids to learn more about registration.

Francie Towey, who with her husband, Jim, own and operate Primrose School at Macland Point and Primrose School of Sprayberry, both located in Marietta just northwest of Atlanta. Although Towey has a Georgia Pre-K program at each of her schools, she also offers prospective families an additional choice: Primrose Pre-K.

Towey says it provides an educational foundation for kindergarten and beyond; prepares a child for a school setting, which is a great preparation and confidence for elementary school; helps a child become accustomed to following rules; can foster a love of learning and fosters an attitude of cooperation and social skills.

The couple has owned their two locations for eight years, providing childcare for children between 6 months and 5 years old, as well as our after-school program and summer camp up to age 12.

“At Primrose, we believe that who children become is as important as what they know,” Towey adds. “Our Balanced Learning Curriculum doesn’t just prepare children for kindergarten, it prepares children for life. Along with literacy skills, we incorporate science, technology, engineering, math and art as part of a strong academic component.

“In addition, we deliver a character development program that instills the importance of honesty, responsibility, keeping promises and more. We have introductory Spanish and a life skills component that includes manners, what to do in case of an emergency and how to take care of themselves. All of this is done through nurturing guidance from our teachers and purposeful play. Our children leave pre-K equipped with a strong academic foundation that is research informed and a love and enthusiasm for learning.”

To learn more about Towey’s two locations, visit primroseschools.com and search for the school names under the “Find a School” tool.

Requirements to Enroll in Georgia’s Pre-K

• Proof that a child is age eligible and is a Georgia resident: Acceptable proof-of-age includes a birth certificate, passport, hospital record of live birth, green card, pink card or Federal I-94 card. Acceptable proof-of-residency includes a lease, utility bill or letter from a shelter or employer.

• All children enrolled in Georgia’s Pre-K program must have hearing, vision and dental examination certificates (DHR Form 3300) on file within 90 calendar days of program entry. Form 3300 must be signed by a private practitioner or representative of a local department of health.

• Immunizations (DHR Form 3231) must be up to date or affidavits must be on file within 30 calendar days of program entry. Only health departments and physicians licensed in Georgia can obtain blank immunization certificates (Form 3231). Take your child’s personal immunization record to a health department or Georgia physician and they can complete the form and give any required vaccines.

Source: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning