Love of children earns McGee honor

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 1999

Anyone who knows Former School Board Member Robert McGee would not doubt his love for children.

McGee, who is also a former industrial arts teacher, has spent hours studying ways to help children learn.

&uot;I’m a research nut,&uot; said McGee said.

Email newsletter signup

But it was his grandchildren, that compelled him to study brain development in babies.

&uot;Their brain is just like a sponge,&uot;&160;McGee said. &uot;Whatever you put into it, something comes out of it.&uot;

McGee put together his research-data and gave it to the Natchez-Adams County School District. He will be honored for his work this week, at Thursday’s regular board meeting.

&uot;We are going to give him a commendation and recognize him as a citizen who has really gone beyond the call of duty,&uot; said Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

The district is distributing McGee’s data to new parents through its recently formed Early Learning Parent Involvement Program.

The program urges new parents to read and talk with their newborn babies.

McGee said his research shows that reading and talking with babies is crucial to development.

&uot;I’ve tried it out on kids I’ve been around and it works,&uot; McGee said. &uot;They respond. You will notice invariably they begin tracking (you) moving with their eyes and responding to you.&uot;

He thinks the community and parents need to work together to prepare children for school.

&uot;That would improve our test scores much more than some of the things we are doing after they turn six years old, and their brains sort of shut down so to speak,&uot; McGee said.

The earlier we start doing these things the better, he said.

&uot;I think that’s what we need to b about – doing things at a much earlier age, Here in American we are way-way behind,&uot; McGee said.

Children also need to be exposed to art, music and foreign language at an early age. They also need attentive parents, McGee said.

&uot;All we got to do is wrap your arms around them (and) show love and attention,&uot; McGee said. &uot;(And) above all cut the TV off. It’s killing us.&uot;

McGee said his goal was to help children and he was surprised the school board decided to honor him.

&uot;I didn’t expect nothing like that. I was just just doing what I thought was a sensible thing to do,&uot; McGee said. &uot;I thought it would be of help.&uot;