Pre-K to receive $5,000 per Classrooms in Covid-Relief Grants

covid relief funds for prek DECAL

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal this past May, 93% of the Covid-Relief funds allocated for education remain unspent. As the use-it-or-lose-it clock ticks, states are revitalizing conversations to determine the best and most effective ways to use the money.

Your home state may currently be creating projects with the surplus funds from CRRSA and ARP. If you’re in need of funds, check out your state’s Department of Education website to see what’s available for you. You can also read this summary of Covid-Relief Funds and the guidelines for usage. Do not miss this opportunity to fund the resources that may be vital to your classrooms.

In our home state, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) has funds remaining from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. As a result, DECAL is implementing several projects supporting Georgia’s child care providers, early care and educational workforce, families with young children, and other groups.

GA DECAL funding grants

Among the projects from GA DECAL, is Georgia’s $5,000 per Classroom Pre-K Grants. These $5,000 one-time Pre-K Classroom Grants are specifically allocated for the purchase of technology, instructional materials, and approved Pre-K curricula, as well as classroom furniture. These grants present an exciting opportunity for Pre-K providers around the state to procure crucial resources that get children in their care confident and ready for kindergarten.

Our Pre-K providers play a vital role in resetting the stage during this post-pandemic era. The new class of students entering into the world of education may have escaped the weight of the Covid impact, but they will still need engaging resources within a joyful learning environment to succeed.

The timeline for the Georgia Pre-K Grants is as follows:

September 2022 – Notification period
October 2022 – Grant funds to be awarded
March 31, 2023 – Deadline for all purchases

As an edtech developer of evidence-based supplemental resources, Alive Studios is pleased to share what we have to offer as purchase options for these grant funds.

Over the last nine years, Alive Studios has equipped thousands of classrooms in the United States and 26 other countries with mind-boggling 3D technology that springs learning to life. We take a brain-based approach to learning by catering to multiple learning modalities for maximized engagement! Our novel method of presenting instruction takes children on a magical journey through the Alive Studios Zoo with 26 animals that come alive using 3D Augmented Reality technology.

Alive Studios’ resources are aligned to:

  • Creative Curriculum
  • Head Start Framework
  • CLASS crosswalk
  • TEKS
  • And more

  • Case Studies and Independent Research prove that when student engagement increases, learning accelerates and outcomes improve.

    Below, we have conveniently answered some common questions:

    Are Alive Studios’ resources eligible for Covid funds allocated for technology and/or literacy?

    Are Alive Studios’ resources aligned to Pre-K standards?
    Yes, as well as kindergarten standards.

    What areas of study do Alive Studios’ resources cover?
    ELA (phonics based), Mathematics, SEL, and STEM for PreK & Kindergarten

    Do Alive Studios’ resources require a subscription?
    No, they are a one-time purchase.

    Do Alive Studios’ resources require the internet for use?

    Does Alive Studios have Case Studies and Independent Research proving the success of their resources?
    Yes. They can be found on our website.

    Does Alive Studios offer staff training for ease of implementation and effectiveness of use?
    Yes. We offer onsite and virtual training.

    Regardless of your home state, we can put together custom bundles to meet your grant needs. You can discuss a plan with your local Alive Studios Education Sales Consultant.

    Cooking up Reading Success with SOR from a Passionate Educator and Avid Cook!

    science of reading for pk

    “I like to think of myself as a literacy chef, gathering the right ingredients to work into my reading instruction… You know the SOR recipe, but what if you’re missing a particular ingredient?” ~ Stephanie Dowlearn

    science of reading phonemic awareness for early readers

    Stephanie Dowlearn
    Educational Consultant and Kindergarten Teacher

    It’s almost 6 o’clock on a Monday, and you’ve finally arrived home after enduring a faculty meeting that seemed to last an eternity. The commute home was a nightmare, and now you stare blankly into the pantry, searching for a few ingredients to throw together to prepare something edible for your family. You regret not getting up early to put together that Potato Soup Crockpot Meal that you would have been ready to enjoy right about now. Instead, you stand frozen, listening to the queries of “what’s for dinner” echoing over your shoulder! You’ve made a million decisions throughout the day. Still, this one dinner decision is next to impossible, so you reluctantly grab your old favorites and decide on what has always worked in the past; a box of mac and cheese and some frozen chicken nuggets. It’s not the best, but it’s food and will get the job done! I recall a quote by Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Of course, I’m not saying that chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese are a failure, but doesn’t a hot bubbly Ravioli Lasagna Casserole sound better? It may seem like a stretch, but just like this dinner scenario, finding the resources to serve up the Science of Reading can feel daunting, and you may feel like you don’t have the time for something new, but trust me, you do, and you may find that this recipe is something you can’t live without!

    Know Your Recipe
    By definition, a recipe is a set of instructions, including ingredients, for preparing a particular dish. I LOVE to cook, and I have collected quite a few cookbooks over the years; in each one, you can tell the recipes I’ve used repeatedly. They are well loved with the remnants of a butter-covered thumb smeared across the print. I know my Mother-in-law’s Oatmeal Cake recipe almost by heart, but I’ll always pull out the recipe just to be sure I don’t forget something important. When we have a recipe to follow, our dish will turn out as intended, so knowing a good one that has been replicated and researched by many over decades is one to use. The Science of Reading teaches that phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension work together to create readers. Teachers throughout the country continue to undergo intense training in the Science of Reading, learning that following this recipe of explicit, systematic instruction will meet the literacy needs of their students. A decent stock of staple materials is necessary for a teacher and a cook, but no matter what ingredients you have at your disposal, following a tried and true recipe like the Science of Reading is still vital.

    Gather the Right Ingredients
    I like to think of myself as a literacy chef, gathering the right ingredients to work into my reading instruction, ultimately creating a learning feast with a little of this and a little of that. You know the SOR recipe, but what if you’re missing a particular ingredient? Can you substitute it for something similar? Will the recipe be ruined, or will the substitution enhance and improve it? Walk into any elementary classroom, open the closet, and find numerous resources that were once the flavor of the year. Millions of dollars are spent year after year trying to find suitable materials to teach reading, and most are collecting dust, still sitting in the plastic wrap like the day they were stored away. Since beginning my teaching career in 1998, I have seen numerous new programs, curriculums, and adoptions come and go as publishers tout that they have the answer for comprehensive reading instruction. I’ve used Open Court, Frog Street Press, Journeys, My View, Words Their Way, Lucy Calkins Units of Study, Fountas & Pinnell, Heggerty, Lexia, and many more. I’ve learned that sometimes the best recipes fail when there are too many cooks in the kitchen, so teachers must remember to keep the recipe for reading simple and use resources that make sense to create effective learning experiences for their students.

    Mix It Up and Try New Things
    Every recipe can be given new life with new flavors to appeal to a more refined palate. Teachers are tasked with helping students learn and are burdened with how to deliver instruction in a fun and engaging way. Especially now, as teachers deal with the effects of the pandemic, novelty is a must! During my last year in the classroom, I had the privilege of using a patented 3D Augmented Reality technology from Alive Studios Zoo called Classrooms alive with my kindergartners. This novel, brain-based concept of learning with animals added a much-needed spice to my reading lessons. The reactions from my students were that of pure joy! Happy squeals and excited giggles erupted as the zoo animals came to life on the screen! My kindergartners were mesmerized by the 3D Augmented Reality that brought the animals to life in our classroom. If you are unfamiliar with AR, it’s a tool that integrates the real learning world with a virtual world created by computer software. Studies have shown that using augmented reality technology in teaching and learning creates a more effective, efficient, and dynamic learning environment which leads to accelerated learning, and I can attest to that! I used the phonics curriculum my school had in place throughout the year, but it was a game changer when I acquired Classrooms alive! Using Classrooms alive to supplement my phonics instruction motivated my students, increased their engagement, and reinforced their learning. It was the perfect ingredient to add to my instructional routine!

    Make It Yours
    In my well-loved cookbooks, there are notes in the margins where I’ve run out of one ingredient and grabbed another to sprinkle in its place. I make a note, and if it works, the ingredient changes and the recipe becomes more of my own. The Science of Reading is not a fad or a program to try. It is solid, proven research on how children learn to read. It is the foundational recipe that all teachers must know and implement. Most teachers do not have a say in the programs that are mandated, but be your own chef and use what you know to gather the right ingredients that will work for you to create successful readers. Continue to test your recipe as flavors change and the heat is turned up. And don’t forget to add your own taste and mix it up to create the best learning outcomes for your students.

    If you’re interested in trying out Alive Studios Zoo 3D Augmented Reality Technology:
    1. Visit the My Letters alive Journals web page.
    2. Scroll all the way down to download the free Journals alive app and see the instructions.
    3. Make Gerdy Giraffe and the letter Gg come to life on your device!

    Finally, if all of this food talk has made you hungry, I’ve included 2 of my favorite back-to-school go-to meals and a sweet dessert to deal with the stress of settling into a new school year! Just click on the recipe links throughout this post.

    Have a great 2022-23 school year!

    Adam’s 7 Favorite Podcasts for Early Educators

    Favorite Podcasts for Early Educators

    “Whether you’re hitting the road for a summer vacation or sitting with a cup of coffee at home, I’m sure you’ll find something you love in each of these podcasts!” ~ Adam Peterson

    virtual teaching for 1st grade

    Adam Peterson
    Pre-K/K Educator, Author, Speaker, and Educational Consultant
    Follow me:

    I know from experience that teachers are not known as people who often take a break and just relax. Even during the much deserved time off during the summer, teachers are thinking about their students, what their classroom will look like for the new school year, beginning to plan ideas for their new students, and so much more.

    Hopefully all of you amazing teachers reading this blog are also finding time for YOU! Ok, ok…let’s be honest with each other. If you’re reading this blog then you’re obviously fitting into the mold of teachers who never stop learning, and are always trying to find ways to innovate and improve your classroom.

    One of my favorite ways to take downtime for me and keep using my summertime to improve as an educator is by listening to podcasts! Whether it’s on a summer road-trip vacation or lounging around at home, podcasts are an easy way to get some free PD before you head back to your classroom.

    What better way to start this list of podcast ideas than with a shameless self-promotion of my own shows, right?! Better yet, our CEO, Cynthia Kaye at Alive Studios Zoo, has been a guest on both of my shows to talk about her passion for engaging students and helping teachers. You can find both of my podcasts on Anchor, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify.

    On My Way To School with Adam Peterson
    1. On My Way To School is a podcast where I talk about positivity and passion in education with guests from all walks of life. My guests on this show also talk about life outside education, their side-hustles, and so much more.

    The Classroom Collaborative
    2. The Classroom Collaborative is a podcast that I co-host with my amazingly talented friend, Deedee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten. Our guests range from teachers to principals and authors to entrepreneurs.

    The end. Just kidding!

    There are so many great podcasts for educators out that I would be doing you all a major injustice if I just stopped after mine. So, I also made a list of my top 5 “other” favorites for you to take a listen to as you start to plan your summer road trips and relaxation time. Here you go!

    The Cult of Pedagogy
    3. Teaching strategies, classroom management, education reform, educational technology — if it has something to do with teaching, we’re talking about it. “Jennifer Gonzalez puts a huge amount of work into making her podcasts useful. She has simultaneous blog articles with all the links mentioned. She does a lot of research ahead of time and summarizes it for us. She prepares excellent questions for her guests ahead of time so that every interview proceeds quickly and with direction. She never interrupts her guests, lets them finish their points. Her diction/elocution is perfect, easy to understand, with no annoying quirks.” – from

    Teachers on Fire with Tim Cavey
    4. Warming your heart, sparking your thinking, and igniting your professional practice. “Tim releases a new episode every week, where he chats with an educator about their experiences (both good and bad) and their influences and passions. Tim’s vision is clear, he aims to contribute to the important conversations in and around education that he feels are required to inspire innovative practices by educators around the globe.” – from

    Teach Me, Teacher
    5. “Teach Me, Teacher is a podcast for educators where teachers discuss topical, informative, and inspiring subjects. Designed from the ground up as a no nonsense approach to teacher development, this podcast is your gateway to bettering your craft (and having some laughs along the way). It is a show for you. To help you better your craft, learn new skills, and get ideas to fuel your own. It is a show for anyone in the field of education, and will feature teachers and administrators from all over to offer their unique perspectives.” –

    Shake Up Learning
    6. The Shake Up Learning Show, hosted by Kasey Bell, features a variety of episodes for K12 teachers and educators, including tech tips, lesson ideas, practical advice, on-air coaching, student interviews, and interviews with inspiring educators. –

    Who Smarted?
    7. My last recommendation is one for you AND your students. I actually had the opportunity to interview the co-creator/host of the show on The Classroom Collaborative recently and he’s fantastic. Who Smarted is a podcast for students ages 5 to 10 and is full of creative learning. “Atomic Entertainment are the Emmy-nominated co-creators and producers of Nat Geo’s #1 educational series BRAIN GAMES & Netflix’s live-action science and history series for kids, BRAINCHILD. Their work has been viewed more than 1 billion times worldwide. The Atomic team includes educators, STEM consultants, writers and producers with a passion for improving the lives of children, parents, and teachers. The Atomic team has spent tens of thousands of hours creating the best educational content in the world; we will stop at nothing to make learning fun and easier for you and your family.” –

    There you go, teachers! I hope you enjoy the shows I shared as much as I do and can find time to relax, unwind, and listen to some inspiring episodes. Whether you’re hitting the road for a summer vacation or sitting with a cup of coffee at home, I’m sure you’ll find something you love in each of the podcasts I mentioned.

    Volume Bonus for School Districts

    school district pilot program

    Below is a recent Press Release announcing our Proficient by 3rd Grade District Level Volume Bonus Program:

    Alive Studios Helps School Districts Win the Reading Challenges for At Risk Students

    Alive Studios is introducing a Proficient by 3rd Grade Volume Bonus program for school districts to test and prove the Letters alive early learning reading program.

    Alive Studios has structured a program that allows school districts to test and prove the effectiveness of teaching with Letters alive within eight classrooms. “We encourage districts to test and compare student outcomes between classes using Letters alive and those not using Letters alive.” stated Cynthia B. Kaye, CEO and Chief Zoo Keeper of Alive Studios. The volume program comes with a full-year of free online digital assessments for measuring, tracking, and reporting the progression of students. The generated reports can be shared with teachers, principals, and even parents in English or Spanish. The Alive Studios’ team will also come on-site and trains the participating teachers how to most effectively use Letters alive with their students and how to track their outcomes. Says Kaye, “We’re convinced that once districts try the bonus program and see the results for themselves they’ll want to make this available to all their at risk students.”

    “We’ve been busy spreading awareness of our game-changing supplemental reading program, Letters alive, by introducing it to teachers around the country.” added Kaye. “What we’re finding at trade shows and during demos is that teachers love our solutions, but 74% of them don’t have the purchasing authority to obtain it. We realized we needed to take our solutions to the district level.”

    at risk studentsAmerica has a literacy crisis among our early learners and serious solutions are in demand. “An alarming number of children—about 67 percent nationwide and more than 80 percent of those from low-income families—are not proficient readers by the end of third grade. This has significant and long-term consequences not only for each of those children but for their communities, and for our nation as a whole,” cited Ralph Smith, Managing Director of The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.

    With almost 7 out of 10 students not proficient in reading by 3rd grade, early intervention with a proven solution is crucial for establishing the foundations for high school graduation and career success. Alive Studios’ difference maker is a mind-boggling technology called Augmented Reality. It creates a 3D experience without glasses and provides off-the-charts engagement that increase student outcomes. Now, over 1,500 classrooms are learning letters, letter sounds, sight words and sentence building in a revolutionary way.

    The program is especially effective with At Risk students including ELL, ESL and Special Needs. Independent Research has proven a 48% increase in letter naming fluencies and 112% increase in letter sound fluencies by implementing Letters alive in the classroom. “My students love seeing a new animal each day and their reactions to the animals coming to life is priceless! Letters alive brings a whole new engagement level to our ABC BOOTCAMP!” stated Greg Smedley-Warren, Kindergarten Teacher at JE Moss Elementary, a Title I school in Nashville, Tennessee.

    The Proficient by 3rd Grade Volume Bonus Program is available to any school district. Interested teachers and principals are encouraged to inform their district leaders about the program. Details about Letters alive and the bonus program can be found here.

    Content is King for Classroom Technology

    Content is King for Classroom Technology

    So, after a long wait and a lot of pleading you finally got that new computer, or that new smartboard. Now what? Do you have the really cool content you need to engage students?

    As we make the trade show tour, we have the pleasure of seeing all the latest educational technology; fast, streamlined computers and big, crystal-clear displays. Like kids in a candy store glaring at the shiniest and most colorful lollypop, we all fall into the “I have to have this” category. But when we get it into our classrooms, we realize it doesn’t solve any of the major problems we face with early learners. Are they now learning letter sounds and letter naming more effectively? Does the new tech reach both ends of the learning spectrum? Are At Risk students now achieving better results? Can ELL students grasp the English language any quicker?

    One common void we discover amongst the hardware tech crowd is the lack of content. content is king for classroom technologySure they offer the ability to do “it” quicker, bigger, and with more wow.. but do what? It’s the content ON the device that makes the difference. It’s the software application that brings the device to life and solves problems in classrooms.

    It reminds me of a story about a little boy who had a $5 bill and wanted to buy a wallet. After shopping several stores, he found the perfect one. It fit his pocket, it felt good in his hand, and it only costed $5. You can guess the rest of the story. Having spent his $5, the little boy had nothing to put into his new wallet. Just like the wallet with no money, a new computer or smartboard just isn’t that impressive without content.

    So, if you’re given the green light for new technology, remember to save some funds for engaging content that will help make a positive difference in your classroom.