Next week, October 5-9, is Georgia's fifth annual Pre-K Week.
Hundreds of government, community and business leaders will visit Georgia's lottery-funded Pre-K centers across the state to highlight the value of early education.
Education starts at birth. As infants and toddlers, children build essential thinking and social skills.
They do this through interaction with other children, and through structured and unstructured learning with parents, caregivers and professional teachers.
Children who experience quality early-life learning come to kindergarten already prepared with the foundational knowledge and skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Children who don't, by contrast, arrive in kindergarten far behind their peers in vocabulary, knowledge and key learning abilities such as; impulse control, attentiveness, persistence and sociability.
This achievement gap gets wider with each grade, sapping potential and limiting performance for a lifetime.
Georgia has been a national leader in addressing education disparities, and today 84,000 children benefit from state-funded Pre-K programs.
Not long ago, Governor Nathan Deal announced his intention to find $50 million in state funds to reduce Pre-K class sizes and increase teacher salaries- two steps that would have a positive effect on the quality of the programs.
Realizing the potential of tomorrow begins with a smart investment in education today.
That's why SB&T and Synovus are proud to support Pre-K programs that give children a strong foundation before they enter kindergarten pay dividend for the rest of their lives, and why I look forward to supporting Georgia Pre-K Week next week.