To celebrate Georgia’s Pre-K program and its 20th Anniversary, Georgia State House 69 Representative Randy Nix sat alongside several groups of 4-year-olds this week, visiting all three Heard County Elementary schools as part of Georgia Pre-K Week 2012. Around the state, attention was turned to the tens of thousands of Georgia’s youngest children in recognition of the important work they are doing to prepare for school success.
This week was the state’s 2nd official Georgia Pre-K Week, sponsored by Voices for Georgia’s Children and its Pre-K Week partners. Randy Nix is one of nearly 140 state officials who visited some of the approximately 3,800 Pre-K classrooms located in all 159 counties in Georgia.
“We know that early childhood education is critical to future success, and preparing for elementary school is an important part of life for a child from birth through age five,” said Nix. “We are thrilled to be honoring some of our youngest learners this week, and proud of what our state is accomplishing through Georgia’s Pre-K program. This week was the highlight of my year.”
The 2012 legislative session will mark six years of service Nix has given to the people of the 69th district as their representative in the Georgia House of Representatives. The district encompasses parts of Carroll, Heard and Troup counties.
As part of his extensive public service background Nix has served in the Air National Guard and as a chaplain’s assistant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He currently serves as Pastor of the Hillcrest United Methodist Church in LaGrange.
Nix began the week reading two books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Charlie the Ranch Dog to about 20 Pre-K children at Centralhatchee Elementary on Monday. He continued by reading Pete the Cat books to approximately 80 students at Heard Elementary on Wednesday and 13 Pre-K students at Ephesus Elementary on Thursday.
“Georgia’s Pre-K is an exceptional education program that serves 84,000 4-year-olds throughout Georgia,” said Pat Willis, Executive Director of Voices for Georgia’s Children, a child advocacy organization. “Pre-K is a milestone in a child’s early education. Studies show that early education programs for children age birth to five — in all income groups — will have long-term impact on a child’s education. We are proud that Georgia’s Pre-K is making a difference in the lives of so many of our youngest learners, preparing them for future success in school and in life.”
All of the Heard Pre-K teachers echoed the sentiments of Willis, stating that they see a marked difference during the kindergarten year between those children who have and have not attended the Pre-K program.
“Pete the Cat” served as the honorary mascot for Pre-K Week. “Pete the Cat” (www.petethecat.com) is the creation of Georgia artist James Dean who illustrated the book, Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes, written by Georgia children’s author Eric Litwin. Through the generosity of Dean, Litwin, and HarperCollins Publishers, Voices for Georgia’s Children was able to provide copies of Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes to all legislators for their use in reading to Pre-K students across the state.
“Unfortunately, there are no ‘do-overs’ when it comes to early childhood. If we don’t get it right for children when they are young, it’s much more difficult – and expensive – to remedy later. That’s why it is essential to give all children the best possible start in life by preparing them before they begin kindergarten,” added Nix.
“I’m proud that Georgia’s lottery-funded Pre-K program is making a real difference in the lives of our children – and is helping build a better future for the State.”
The 4-year-olds at all three schools seemed to really enjoy their time with Representative Nix. “I really liked the Pete the Cat book!” stated Lexi Cameron one of the Pre-K students at Heard Elementary.