State Budget Restores 180 Day Pre-K Calendar in 2013-2014
ATLANTA, Ga., (July 23, 2013) – School bells will be ringing soon for some 84,000 four-year-olds attending Georgia’s Pre-K Program. The universal, lottery-funded Pre-K program has been recognized as one of the top state programs in the nation, based on quality standards, teacher qualifications and enrollment. The program celebrated its 20th anniversary last year.
The first day of 2013 Georgia’s Pre-K will vary based on school system and child care provider. It starts as early as July 22 and runs through the week following Labor Day, September 2, 2013. During the 2012-2013 school year, sixty-six percent of all four-year-olds in Georgia were served by state Pre-K and Head Start, with a statewide Pre-K enrollment of nearly 83,000.
“Over the past two years Governor Deal and state legislators have taken steps to bring the pre-k school year back to 180 days in the 2013-2014 school year,” said Bobby Cagle, Commissioner for Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, the state agency responsible for administering the program. “As the availability of lottery revenues becomes clearer, additional strategic decisions will be made concerning future investments in Georgia’s Pre-K program. We would all like to see improvements in class size, teacher salaries, and family engagement and support.”
“Starting school is an exciting time for children and families,” said Susan Adams, assistant commissioner for Georgia’s Pre-K Program. “This is a big step and we are excited to provide so many children with their first school experience.”
For parents enrolling their children in Georgia’s Pre-K, Adams offers the following helpful tips to make the first day go smoother:
§ Send your child to school in clothes they can manage independently in the bathroom: No overalls.
§ Make sure your child’s shoes are comfortable for playtime. Slip on shoes or shoes with Velcro fasteners are easiest for children to manage.
§ Visit the classroom before school starts so children are familiar with the new surroundings.
§ Tell your child’s teacher about any fears he or she may have.
§ Discuss any special dietary needs or allergies your child may have with their teacher and have her/ him explain program policies around meals.
§ Complete any necessary forms or releases your Pre-K provider may require for dispensing medication during the school day.
§ Locate the bathroom with your child and determine any special bathroom routines the school observes.
§ Build in extra time for the first day: Make sure you have time to say good-bye.
§ Determine if your child needs a blanket for rest time: Can they bring a favorite stuffed animal?
§ Send along a family photo in your child’s backpack in case they get lonely.
About Bright from the Start
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 voluntary quality enhancement programs.
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. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov.