State Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro) helps Ryan Portee, 4, and Giselle Amorim, 3, on the playground at La Petite Academy in Jonesboro Wednesday. Glanton visited the early learning center to highlight Georgia Pre-K Week. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)
JONESBORO — A little girl looked up from her clay artwork and stared with wonder at the visitor standing before her.
The 4-year-old, Olasade Adamu, didn’t recognize this man. Why was he in her classroom at La Petite Academy? What was he doing interacting with her classmates? Could he be a new teacher? Someone’s father perhaps?
The questions couldn’t stay hidden any longer. As Adamu continued to mold her clay, she set out to find out who this man was.
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Mr. Mike,” the visitor said.
“Hi, Mr. Mike,” she replied.
“Hi, what’s your name?” he said back to her.
“Sade,” Adamu said.
“Hi, Miss Sade,” the man said.
“Hi,” she replied.
The visitor was, in fact, state Rep. Mike Glanton (D-Jonesboro), who visited La Petite Academy’s Jonesboro school to celebrate Georgia Pre-K week. Glanton toured the early learning center with La Petite officials, tested children’s knowledge, made clay objects and played with the kids on the playground.
He even showed the kids that he knew all of the words and hand gestures for “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round.” He then ended his visit by reading “Pete the Cat” to all the students. “Pete the Cat” is the official mascot for Georgia Pre-K Week.
Georgia Pre-K Week is when state officials promote the state’s popular early learning programs by visiting pre-K programs at schools and early learning centers. There are 3,800 pre-K classrooms in Georgia and 150 officials, such as Glanton, were expected to visit several of them this week.
Glanton said he felt it was important for him to participate in Georgia Pre-K Week activities to not only show his support of early learning programs, but to also be a positive role model to male students at the school. Glanton serves on the state House of Representatives education committee.
“This is the time and the place for us to be setting a positive example for these students to follow,” Glanton Rep said.