Florida Looks to Georgia's Successful Pre-Kindergarten Program

The Georgia Pre-Kindergarten program was established in 1993 with the goal to provide four year old children with high quality preschool experiences, experiences that can be found in one of Thomasville’s Pre-K programs at the Balfour School.

"We don't just focus on the academic part. We focus on the total child. So they're ready socially, academically, physically; they're health needs have been met and all of these are key components for a child to be ready and have success in kindergarten."

And parents of Balfour Busy Bears have noticed a positive impact.

"I don't think my kids would have done as well, especially the one already in kindergarten. If it wasn't for Busy Bear, I don't think he would have done as well as he what he had done."

Pre-K children receive 6.5 hours of instruction, five days a week.

Enrollment in the Pre-K programs is voluntary and usually begins in early February because space is limited. But educators and parents say this one year prior to kindergarten is well worth it.

If the Florida legislature is able to approve a statewide free Pre-K program, it would begin in august 2005.