LEESBURG – This week marked the 10th anniversary of Georgia Pre-K Week, celebrating not only Georgia’s Pre-K program, but its teachers and the state’s youngest learners.
The initiative started in 2010 when funding for the state’s universal Pre-K program appeared to be in jeopardy. The first week in October is now dedicated to raising awareness of the importance and benefits of children being enrolled in a quality Pre-K program.
The celebration is organized by Voices for Georgia’s Children, which advocates for the 2.5 million children living in Georgia — particularly those whose location, family income or other circumstances leave them vulnerable to challenges related to education and health care. Data released in 2016 indicate that 23 percent of the children in Georgia live below the poverty level and 35 percent live in single-parent families.
Georgia Power partners each year with Voices for Georgia’s Children and the state’s Pre-K program to help make the week a success. In previous years, a variety of community leaders has visited Pre-K classes across the state, reading to students. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event this year was a virtual affair with video messages and reading sessions.
Wendy Joiner, the education coordinator for Georgia Power Co.’s Southwest Georgia Region, read “Behind the Little Red Door,” which was selected as the official book for this year’s celebration, to Lee County students this week.
“This year, Georgia Power sponsored our program and provided books that they will get to take home to all of our 264 children,” Lee County Pre-K Director Ashley Brim said. “It’s a good program, giving people an opportunity to see what goes on in the Pre-K program and focusing on the teachers, letting them know that they are appreciated for all their hard work.”
The book that Georgia Power is providing each student focuses on the sounds of electricity using onomatopoeia, the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named, like “splash” and “sizzle.”
“The book we will be providing to the Lee County Pre-K students will be ‘Look Now, Wonder, Wow!’” Joiner said. “The author is Janece Shaffer, and it was illustrated by Michael White. They are both living in Georgia and contributing to children’s literature. We’re excited about promoting literacy and science in our learning power programs, the importance of learning letter sound recognition and how that relates to words and words to sentences and stories.”
The Learning Power program strives to contribute to students’ academic achievement, educate students on energy efficiency in school and at home, and build awareness around careers in the energy industry, Georgia Power officials said. This partnership with educators around the state delivers engaging personal connections with science and math. The programs, lesson plans, and activities are provided at no cost to teachers or schools.