This morning I had the opportunity to read to two different classes of Pre-k students and it reminded me of a study I had run into, but not read, gauging the quality of Georgia’s Pre-K program. It is forgotten sometimes but not every state has a public state-funded Pre-Kindergarten program. The goal of Georgia’s program is to provide pre-k services to all parents who desire their children to participate. As recently as the 2011-2012 school year, Georgia’s entire Pre-K program served as many as 94,000 including all settings, local school systems, private programs and Head Start Pre-K classrooms.
Georgia’s Pre-K Program is a public/private program funded by the Georgia Lottery. In FY 2018, Georgia’s state budget appropriated $364.8 million in lottery funds to the Department of Early Care and Learning to administrate Georgia’s Lottery funded Pre-K Program. Approximately 84,000 slots were funded under this appropriation. The program serves all income levels with no fees charged to families for participation.
How Does Pre-K Work?
Georgia’s Pre-k is based on a school-year model 180 days a year, with instruction for 6.5 hours a day. Classes are limited to 20-22 children with a lead teacher and assistant teacher. Lead teachers are currently required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or related field. Assistant teachers are required to have at least a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. A very elaborate set of classroom guidelines provide standards for classroom instruction, child assessment, and other program services.
Oversight is provided by Bright From the Start, in the Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL). Content standards are established and used as the foundation for instruction and assessment in areas such as language development, creative development, mathematical development, scientific development, social studies, physical development and social/emotional development.
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