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COE dean, faculty participate in Georgia Pre-K Week

Pictured l-r: COE Dean Thomas Koballa, and Faculty Teri Melton, Ph.D. and Chianti Grant-Culver, M.Ed. participate in Georgia Pre-K Week.


October 2-6 was the seventh annual Georgia Pre-K Week and the program’s milestone 25 years of quality early learning.

Schools across the state celebrated by having community leaders read to students and participate in the day’s activities. Three of the College of Education’s faculty members were invited to local schools including Dean Thomas Koballa, Ph.D.; Teri Melton, Ph.D.; and Chianti Grant-Culver, M.Ed.

Koballa and Melton, an associate professor of educational leadership in the Department of Leadership, Technology and Human Development, read to the Pre-K class at Statesboro High School (SHS). The High School houses a Pre-K program in conjunction with their Teaching as Profession Pathway and Early Childhood Education Pathway programs.

Koballa and Melton were invited by SHS Assistant Principal Alissa Sasser, who is also a current doctoral student in the College of Education.

“It was an absolutely delightful experience,” said Melton. “I have not been around students of that age since I was the headmistress of an American International School in the Dominican Republic; I had forgotten how much fun they can be.”

After reading “The Little Engine That Could,” Melton said that the class participated in sharing time.

“They truly love to share stories about their lives, and the majority reported that they read with their parent(s) on a daily basis, which is so important.”

Culver, an instructor of early childhood education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was invited to read to a Pre-K class at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School.

“Engaging students in literature-rich experiences is essential in developing life-long readers,” said Culver. “I was honored to have the opportunity to help cultivate the seeds of learning through books and reading while celebrating this year’s Pre-K Week with a former colleague, Michelle Owen.”

Culver read “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat” by Lucille Colandro and shared treats with the class.

Georgia Pre-K Week is coordinated by Voices for Georgia’s Children, a policy and advocacy nonprofit organization. Former Gov. Zell Miller launched Georgia’s lottery-funded Pre-K program in 1992 as a pilot program serving 750 four-year-old children. Since then, Georgia’s Pre-K program has laid a solid foundation for academic excellence and future success in the lives of approximately 1.6 million children.


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