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Dignitary promotes 'Pre-k week'

Photo by Jeylin White                               
These toddlers, who attend Little Creations Learning Academy in Jonesboro, wait patiently for story time.

Photo by Jeylin White These toddlers, who attend Little Creations Learning Academy in Jonesboro, wait patiently for story time.

The more than 130 young students at Little Creations Learning Center, in Jonesboro, could hardly wait for their guests to arrive.

Stephanie Roberts, director and owner of Little Creations, said the school at 1832 Noah’s Ark Road, serves students, ages 6 weeks old to 12 years old, and the youngsters’ emotions were riding high early Thursday morning, anticipating the arrival of District-44 Georgia State Senator Gail Davenport.

The dignitary was making a stop at the school in support of the state’s Pre-K week recognition, which is this week. Several Georgia legislators have also joined the statewide effort to promote early education, by visiting Pre-K classes — in their districts — to observe how the state is investing its lottery revenue to enhance the quality of education for Pre-K-age students.

“They [students] were really excited,” said Roberts. “They have been working really hard on the presentation they prepared.”

Davenport was greeted with warm hugs and smiles from the students who attend the school. Students and staff members expressed their gratitude, and presented her with a banner and paper mache pig, and as a special treat they performed a skit from the book, “Three Little Pigs,” which happened to be the book the senator read to the students the morning of her visit.

Before being ushered into the classroom to read, Davenport was taken on a tour of the facility by Roberts and other staff members before they came together, to hear words of wisdom from the dignitary, mostly on the importance of reading and obeying authority.

“I know everyone here is smart — correct?” the senator asked the students.

In response, one student yelled out, “That’s correct!”

Another student yelled out “Buenos días,” which means good morning in Spanish.

Roberts said the Pre-K initiative is a public-policy-advocacy, where the goal is to unify the voices of Georgia in support of children’s issues and the commitment to the development and growth of children from birth to 5 years of age.

“People don’t know how those first five years of life are essential for children to succeed in school,” said Roberts. “It helps prepare the child for public education.” She added another incentive is that it helps identify any early stages of learning disabilities.

“I had two twin children who had learning disabilities and because they attended Pre-K I was able to get the help they need so they could be successful in school.”

Davenport said she was happy to oblige the initiative, and added, “These are the most important years of our students, the effort is to encourage kids to read, write, and draw — and give them the experience so they will have a head start on the skills they need when they grow up.”

“I want you guys to read, read, read, study, study, study, and do what your parents tell you to do,” were the senator’s parting words to the youngsters.

Jaylen Mclester, 4, said and his classmate Kayla Penn, 4, both agreed they enjoyed Thursday’s visit from Davenport.

Both said they love to read and they love school.

“I know how to read three books and my favorite is the “Three Little Pigs,’” said Mclester.

“My favorite book to is the Berenstain Bears,” said Penn.

Roberts added it’s important to highlight to the community and parents the importance of Pre-K education, and preparing students to transition, successfully, to elementary school.

“The parents are key to a child’s education,” she said. “Children learn from their parents and peers. I encourage all parents to get their students in a Pre-K program.”

“You guys are number one here at Little Creations,” yelled Davenport. The students and teachers erupted with cheers and applause.