Pete the Cat met state Senator Buddy Carter on Monday at Richmond Hill Montessori Preschool, as the Pooler pharmacist and Republican Congressional candidate read to students there to help kick off Georgia Pre-K week.
Along the way, Carter led the students in singing lines from “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” and “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.”
Both books are by Atlanta artist James Dean and songwriter Eric Litwin. The stories are basically about dealing with change – in the former story, the laid-back Pete loses the buttons to his shirt one by one until he’s left with nothing but a belly button, and yet – “I guess it simply goes to show that stuff will come and stuff will go, but do we cry? Goodness, no. We keep on singing, buttons may come and buttons may go ….”
In the tale of the white shoes, the cat steps in everything from blueberries to strawberries to mud yet still loves the shoes. A lot.
“I love my white shoes, I love my white shoes,” goes the refrain, and it’s apparently not unfamiliar to Carter, who is a grandfather.
“I sure do like Pete the Cat, he’s one of my favorites,” Carter told the youngsters, who seemed thrilled by the state senator’s performance and he with theirs. “Y’all sure are good singers and readers.”
Afterward, Carter called the kids “precious, it’s such a delight being with them,” but also acknowledged they could be a “pretty tough crowd,” he said. “Especially during the singing parts.”
Carter was invited to read to three classes at Richmond Hill Montessori by its founder, Audrey Singleton. She said she invited Carter because he has been “consistent in supporting education throughout the state on all levels, but particularly with the Georgia lottery funding Pre-K.”
Singleton said 20 years of research shows lottery funded PreK programs are making a difference.
“These early learners are making a difference in their milestones, once they reach their upper grades and school age in a public or private school setting, when they’ve had access to lottery funded Pre-K, the scores are there,” Singleton said. “When we invest in children in a younger age, we reap the reward in the return at the later ages.”
Carter said it was important to read to students to encourage them to read and to underscore the importance of reading. The lesson seemed to stick with the students, including one diminutive 4-year-old student who yelled out: “I read in my imagination.”
Singleton said Georgia Pre-K week is sponsored by Georgia Power and Synovus Bank, who work with the state’s Bright from the Start and Voices of Georgia “to bring attention to lottery funded Pre-K and all it does for the 4-year-old in Georgia.”