The summer is winding down for the bulk of Georgia students heading back to class. Schools in more than 30 districts are already in session. And 84-thousand of the state’s youngest learners will attend Pre-K. Thanks to additional funding, pre-kindergarteners will now have a full 180 days to learn.
The state legislature this year added 10 more days back to the pre-K schedule. That’s after funding cuts had reduced the program in 2011. Those reductions were due to a drop in lottery proceeds, which the program relies on.
Susan Adams, assistant commissioner for Georgia’s pre-K program, says the additional days will help get children ready for the social and emotional demands of school.
She says “Kids learning to regulate their behavior, learning to participate in group activities, learning to take turns, those are skills that kids are not born with. And they have to learn them so they’ll be ready for more formal experiences in kindergarten and beyond.”
State officials are limiting funding to 84 thousand students.Adams says “84 thousand is the number we’ve served for the past two school years. But we really want to make sure they have that 180 days. That’s about 60 percent of the four year olds in the state.”
Adams says about 7,000 children are on a waiting list for pre-K programs.