Pre-K offers children a head start in life - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Pre-K offers children a head start in life

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ATLANTA -

It may be hard to let your little ones go off to school a year early, but research shows that early learning leads to life-long learning.

Georgia has been considered a national leader in early childhood education. It's the first state to offer Pre-K to all children regardless of family income, and a recent study shows that early learning is worth it.

Matt Donald is a room parent in his son Ethan's Pre-K class. He says he wanted Ethan to be able to hit the ground running in kindergarten, so Pre-K was the choice for him.

"When they have Pre-K, they are already learning things like numbers, patterns, colors, all of those things. And they're even learning how to write, which is pretty amazing because we didn't have that when I was a kid," said Donald.

While education is important, the children are also able to be independent. It's an opportunity that more than a million students have had in the last 20 years, and it's a feat even President Obama has cited as a shining example.

"We've understood for a long time and I think the president understands it as well, that children's most important time of learning is between birth and 5 years old. And if we lose the opportunity to maximize the brain development that occurs during that time, we've really missed a grand opportunity to make a difference in that child's life," said Commissioner Bobby Cagle of the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning

Pre-K is almost exclusively funded by the lottery, and a lottery system is used to determine which children can take advantage of the program. Only about 84,000 children are chosen each year. Depending on the county, registration happens between February and April.

"He's finding his own voice and enjoying himself, and being a good friend," said Donald.

To find a Pre-K nearest you, click here or call  404-656-5957 and ask to speak to the Pre-K consultant of the day.

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