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New pre-kindergarten program available in Macon County

Published: 07/25/14 6:31PM
By: booner

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A new pre-kindergarten program is now available at no charge for children in Macon County.

On July 2, Fort Valley State University’s Head Start Program received $63,000 from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, to start a new pre-kindergarten program in Macon County for the 2014-2015 school year. The program will serve 20 children at FVSU’s Head Start facility in Marshallville. Classes begin Aug. 18.

The purpose of a pre- kindergarten program is to provide educational services to four-year-old children and their families. Evelyn Byrd, director of FVSU’s Head Start Program, said this is the first time that a pre-kindergarten program will blend with FVSU’s Head Start Program.

“We’re excited about the fact that Head Start and pre-k have a collaboration effort,” Byrd said. She said the classrooms that consist of pre-kindergarten students will be called Head Start, pre-kindergarten blended classrooms. By combining the 20 pre-kindergarten students with the 86 Macon County Head Start students, FVSU will be servicing 106 children at its Macon County Head Start Center.  Furthermore, children in pre-kindergarten blended classrooms will receive the full services that Head Start offers. This includes health screenings, access to a research based education curriculum and transportation to and from the Head Start Center.

In addition, students enrolled in the pre-kindergarten program can receive services from two family advocates (social workers).

Dr. Vivian Fluellen, executive director of FVSU’s Head Start Program, said the pre-kindergarten program will have a positive impact on children, families and the local community by improving school readiness skills in language, literacy, math and general knowledge. “By acquiring these skills early on, pre-k children stand a greater chance of reading on grade level which better positions them for future academic excellence,” Fluellen said.

To be eligible for pre-kindergarten, children must be four-years-old by Sept. 1 of the school year. At this time, all 20 pre-kindergarten slots for the 2014-2015 year are filled. For more information about the pre-kindergarten program in Macon County, contact FVSU’s Macon County Head Start Center at 478-967-2155 or e-mail Angela McDonald, FVSU’s Macon County Head Start family advocate at mcdonalda@fvsu.edu.