A national survey of public kindergarten teachers noted three primary essentials for school readiness: that children are physically healthy, rested, and well nourished; that they are able to communicate needs, wants, and thoughts verbally; and that they are enthusiastic and curious in approaching new activities. Georgia's Pre-K Program provides children with experiences that foster all these essentials.
An appropriate program for four year olds is not a watered down kindergarten program. Children learn through play and learning centers which are integral parts of prekindergarten classrooms. Pre-K programs reflect an understanding of how children learn by emphasizing active learning, consistent daily routines, and the use of positive behavioral management and assessment strategies. The school readiness goals of the Pre-K program provide appropriate preschool experiences emphasizing growth in language and literacy, math concepts, science, social studies, arts, physical development, and social and emotional competence.
Georgia's Pre-K Program is offered free to all four-year-old children regardless of parental income. To participate, children must be four years of age on or before September 1 of the school year. Five-year-old children who have not previously attended the Pre-K program and who have late birthdays or developmental delays that impact their readiness for school may also enroll at the request of their parents. The program provides a full 6.5-hour instructional day for children, five days a week, 180 days a year.
Variety of School Settings
A variety of organizations provide Pre-K services - public/private elementary schools, public/private secondary schools, postsecondary vocational technical institutes, private and state colleges, private non-profit and for-profit child care learning centers, Department of Family and Children's Services offices, Head Start sites, hospitals, military bases, and YMCA/YWCA's. The public/private partnership enables parents to choose the most appropriate classroom setting for their child.
Variety of Curriculum Choices
All Georgia’s Pre-K Programs are required to provide instruction using the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS). These standards are aligned with the Kindergarten Common Core Georgia Performance Standards. This alignment allows for seamless transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten. Each Georgia’s Pre-K Program is allowed to choose an approved curriculum to assist with delivery of the GELDS. A list of approved curriculum can be found on our website on the
Classroom Materials and Supplies
To provide quality classroom environments, one-time start-up funding is provided to equip new Pre-K classrooms. Providers are furnished with a Basic Equipment, Supplies, and Materials List to guide them as they purchase manipulatives, books, and supplies. All programs are evaluated annually using the Director Grant Requirement Checklist and accompanying Instructional Quality (IQ) Guides to ensure an optimal supply of material, appropriate instruction, and curriculum implementation. For additional information about the Checklist and IQGuides visit the
Director Grant Requirement Checklist
located under Project Directors and the
Instructional Quality Guides
located under Teachers.
Each classroom is required to have a lead teacher and assistant teacher. All Pre-K lead and assistant teachers must meet the credential requirements of Georgia's Pre-K Program. Program funding is based on the number of children enrolled and the lead teacher credentials.
Quality standards for classrooms have been established and address interactive learning opportunities that are age appropriate and meet individual needs, require appropriate scheduling practices and transitions to group practices, promote interactions of children with materials/children/adults, and enhance children's feelings of comfort, security and self-esteem. Content Standards for Pre-K children have been developed and are used as the foundation for instruction and assessment. The Pre-K program includes intensive instruction in the areas of language development, mathematical development, scientific development, social studies, creative development, physical development, and social/emotional development.
To ensure a healthy start, all children enrolled in the Pre-K program must have hearing, vision, and dental examination certificates on file within 90 days of starting the Pre-K program. Also, evidence of age-appropriate immunizations must be on file within 30 days of the start of the Pre-K program. At the end of the school year, parents are provided with comprehensive information on all health and entrance documentation necessary for successful entry into kindergarten.
Parents as First Teachers
Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the Pre-K classroom and to participate in meetings, parent group activities, or workshops. At least two individual conferences per year between the lead teacher and family must be offered by providers and documented in each child's on-site file.
The Pre-K program strongly encourages parents to read to their children on a daily basis. Please visit the
page to view the current list of recommended books.
To maintain quality teaching standards, various mandatory training options are available for all staff directly associated with the Pre-K program. On-going training for teachers and teaching assistants is provided through Georgia State University with Best Practices training. Project Directors, Site Directors, and Principals receive customized training each year through Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Local Coordinating Councils
To assist in strengthening public/private partnerships, local coordinating councils have been established in some counties. Local coordinating councils include parents, representatives from public and private providers, health officials, educators, and representatives from business communities. The purpose of the councils is to facilitate the sharing of resources and information.