ATLANTA — Preschool programs in Atlanta are getting a big boost.
The Atlanta Public Schools System is donating $5 million to the city’s early childhood education initiative.
Channel 2’s Bryan Mims learned on Friday that the initiative is three-quarters of the way to meeting its financial goal.
So far, the city has raised $14.5 million. It is still $5.5 million short of its goal. The mission is to better prepare the city’s children for school.
In his State of the City address this year, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called for an investment of $20 million in early childhood programs.
“This investment in preschool and pre-K education is going to ensure that it’s not just a privilege to have these opportunities, but a right,” Dickens said.
The city pledged $5 million. Another $4.5 million came from the private sector. Now, Atlanta Public Schools is committing $5 million to the initiative.
“We look forward to designing new ways for Atlanta Public Schools to be even more thoughtful about early childhood education,” said Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring.
“We know that supporting development at a very young age, from infancy, benefits parents, teachers and entire communities,” Dickens said.
The city’s initiative aims to provide high-quality early education programs to all children and improve learning in pre-kindergarten classrooms.
The first years of life, say educators, are crucial for brain development.
“We want to make sure every child, regardless of zip code, has the best experience that helps them develop the best brain possible,” said Stephanie Blank of the Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students.
The $20 million will be used to provide scholarships to help low-income families pay for early childhood programs.
It also funds the refurbishment of child care centers and the provision of teaching materials.
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