Georgia’s Pre-K Program introduces Mandarin language - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgia’s Pre-K Program introduces Mandarin language

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News release from the office of the governor

ATLANTA, Ga., (November 19, 2009) – Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning has joined forces with the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University to offer a Chinese language program to Georgia’s Pre-K students – a first in the nation.

The ground-breaking program will provide daily instruction in the Mandarin language and expose children to Chinese culture. Bright from the Start administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program.

“This is an innovative and unique opportunity for the children we serve,” said Bright from the Start Commissioner Holly A. Robinson. “We are the only lottery funded Pre-K program in the country providing this type of cutting edge instruction that helps prepare our youngest children for the 21st century global economy.”

The program is made possible through a grant Kennesaw State University receives from the Office of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban or the Headquarters of Confucius Institute) to fund the Confucius Institute (CI), one of only 56 CI grants in the United States. The Mandarin Instructional program is already in place at three Pre-K locations in six classrooms. The children are receiving instruction through a tailored curriculum and state-of-the-art instructional materials.

“Promotion and support of Chinese language education in Georgia are the top priorities of the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University,” said Ken Jin, Director of the Confucius Institute. “Our collaboration with Bright from the Start is the most exciting initiative since establishing the Institute at the university.”

The latest brain research suggests that there are good linguistic, cognitive and social developmental advantages when a child learns multiple languages.

“It is proven that this program is a successful model for early childhood Chinese language education. I am confident that this collaboration will benefit our children for many years to come,” Jin added.

“To ensure that children are receiving top-notch instruction,” said Mary Mazarky, Assistant Commissioner for Pre-K, “the Confucius Institute provides highly qualified teachers who are fluent in English and Chinese with at least a master’s degree in teaching Chinese as a second language.”

Now in its 16th year, Georgia’s Pre-K is a universal, voluntary program currently serving 82,000 children across the state. This is also a special year for the lottery funded program -- the one millionth child is being served in Georgia’s Pre-K during the 2009-10 school year.

Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers federal nutrition programs, and manages voluntary quality enhancement programs.

The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education. For more information, go to www.decal.ga.gov.