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Flora and the Flamingo Make Their Debut in North Florida

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) volunteer Kathy Stawara of Orange Park (AKA “The Flamingo”) and ELC outreach assistant Sandi Dunnavant with children at Baker County Pre-K in Macclenney.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team debuted their new music and movement literacy program in pre-schools this past spring and summer in Clay and Baker Counties. They will expand the program to include Bradford, Putnam, Nassau and St. Johns Counties in the Fall. The program, geared to 3-5 year olds, is meant to highlight the importance of music and movement as it pertains to a child’s learning and development.  

 

Books like “Rupert Can Dance” by Jules Feiffer, “Down by the Cool of the Pool” by Tony Mitten and “Flora and the Flamingo” by Molly Idle are highlighted during this program.  During the reading of Flora and the Flamingo one of the ELC volunteers dresses up as the flamingo then picks a child from the class they are visiting to join them in acting out the story. Whatever dance movement the flamingo does, Flora copies it. The children get to dance to different kinds of music and make music with bells.

 

Volunteers are the key to success for this program and the other themed programs that the ELC puts on, including: Space, Meet the Masters, Dinosaurs, Ocean Themed, Mother Goose “Rhymers are Readers” and Eric Carle’s World of Colors. Volunteers help the ELC in two main ways. The first is by being an outreach volunteer that assists in putting on programs. These volunteers read stories, sing songs, lead craft activities and maybe wear themed costumes – such as a shark for the ocean themed program. The second way volunteers help is by being a weekly reading volunteer to a group of local preschool children. Reading volunteers get the privilege of exposing the same group of children each week to great books and get to plant the seed of early reading.

 

Exposing children to the arts at a young age is very important to building their creativity.  Learning to dance or play and instrument builds confidence which is so important to early child development.  The ELC outreach team regularly puts on themed literacy programs in local childcare centers and preschool classrooms.  The goal of these programs is to expose children to quality literature and to reach important topics that children need to learn.  The children receive a FREE book relating to the theme of the program and the classroom receives a bag of teaching resources and books to further teach the topic at a later time. 

 

For more information about volunteering contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org or 904-342-2267. 

 

The ELC provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds). 

 

For more information about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and its other programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Helping Hands Newsletter – July Edition

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Enjoy the Helping Hands Newsletter for July! Look for local updates and fun family ideas for the summer. Please note, the correct date for the Early Educators Conference is Saturday, January 18th, 2020.

 

Download here.

 

Download (PDF, 1.43MB)

‘Meet The Masters’ Program Brings Famous Art to Putnam Preschools

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‘Meet The Masters’ Program Brings Famous Art to Putnam Preschools

St. AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 15, 2019 – The famous artist Claude Monet is visiting preschool in Palatka this Spring. This is made possible by The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team who teach preschoolers about the arts and influencers during a day of fun activities. Meet the Masters is one of ELC’s many programs which help foster the lives of children from birth through five years of age.

During Meet the Masters, children experience art through different sensory ways. They might wave colored scarves to the music of Beethoven or march with rhythm sticks to Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys” from the classic Babes in Toyland. With great enthusiasm, an ELC volunteer dresses up like a famous artist such as Seurat, Monet or Matisse to talk about their character in a French accent.

When the artist is Seurat, famous for pointillism, the book “The Dot” is read about a girl who thinks she cannot draw until she discovers how making dots can turn into artwork. Each child is then given the book “The Dot” as a gift to take home.  

Children then get a chance to create art for themselves. While learning about Rodin, they will make their own sculptures. Or they try their hand at painting in different styles and subjects. Perhaps they will create dot paintings like Seurat, water lily paintings like Monet, sunflowers like Van Gough or a try a collage-technique to represent Matisse.  

Exposing children to the arts at a young age is very important to building their creativity. Learning to paint or play an instrument builds confidence  – an important component to early child development.

The ELC outreach team regularly puts on themed literacy programs in local child care centers and preschool classrooms. The goal of these programs is to expose children to quality literature and to teach important topics that children need to learn.  For more information about being a volunteer with these programs, contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 or at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

Additionally, the ELC of North Florida provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds).

For more information about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and its other programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Toddler Fest is Here!

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Join us June 2, 2018 at the Palatka Library for this free event with more than 20 organizations, including the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida. Children can participate in crafts and fun activities, including visits from fun characters. Free books will be given to preschoolers and more!

 

Early Learning Coalition’s Established Volunteer Program Makes Impact on Children’s Development

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer Erica Bauserman enjoys reading and teaching the children about bees and insects at Brandts Child Care Center in St. Augustine, July 2017.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., July 13, 2017 – Impacting thousands of preschoolers in six area counties, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida provides reading and literacy programs for area preschools through coordinated volunteer outreach.

Managed by the Coalition, volunteers are screened and trained before setting foot in the classroom. The Coalition provides weekly volunteer readers to groups of 3-5 year olds in daycares and preschools, reading for 30 minutes to an hour as well as literacy outreach volunteers who hold monthly literacy-themed programs. Volunteers may participate in one or both programs.

Themed monthly outreach programs are based on either popular children’s books such as “Pete the Cat” and “Clifford” or themes that follow the school’s curriculum such as the ocean, jungle, senses or arts. Volunteers assist with storytelling and leading activities, often donning costumes or props to enhance the stories. Each child also receives a free book which is reflective of the theme.

The ELC has a well-stocked lending library with books and literacy materials for the volunteers to check out and use. Weekly readers are also able to create relationships with the children through their consistent appearances.

“Our volunteers are that extra-special person coming in to see them each week who exposes our preschoolers to new books and shares their love of reading,” said ELC’s Early Literacy Coordinator Joan Whitson. “The school staff has told me the children look forward to greeting the readers and go right to them when they arrive.”

Early literacy is key to brain and developmental growth, according to Whitson.

“Studies show that the best opportunity to influence our children’s lifetime learning is before kindergarten when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs,” said Whitson.  “Reading to children early sets the groundwork for their future ability to read and learn. We are so grateful for our volunteers who make this impact for our children and future.”

The ELC of North Florida is  seeking more volunteers to join this wonderful program. There will be a required orientation session on Wednesday, September 6th from 10:00-12:30 at the St. Augustine Record building located at One News Place in St. Augustine. To register or for more information to become a weekly volunteer or literacy outreach volunteer please contact Joan Whitson with the ELC of North Florida at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 and at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.

Governor Scott Proclaims May 12 Provider Appreciation Day

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Read the entire proclamation below.

Download (PDF, 37KB)

About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Coalition Implements Innovative Reading Program

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., April 27, 2017 – The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) recently developed a successful reading program that uses different methods for literacy retention.

The Mother Goose program centers around teaching through nursery rhymes and was developed through the collaboration of the ELC staff and Literacy Outreach Assistant Sandi Dunnavant.

During her career as a media specialist, Dunnavant began teaching children to learn rhyming skills, which in turn helped children learn to read more quickly and the response was always positive and fun for the children.

“Many nursery rhymes use numbers, counting and other techniques which help children’s cognitive development,” said Dunnavant. “The use of patterns and sequence help children learn easy recall and memorization.”

The new program was implemented by Dunnavant and ELC Reading Pal volunteers in local preschools and consisted of a Mother Goose theme. Different stories were performed which centered around music and rhythm sticks. All children in attendance also received a free book bag filled with Mother Goose books. The teachers all received a gift packet filled with books and resources to further instruct the children with nursery rhymes.

Due to the program’s success, ELC plans to continue the program and are looking for donations so more local daycare centers can enjoy the new program.

To learn more about the program or donate, please contact Joan Whitson atjwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

About the Early Learning Coalition: The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) serves the counties of Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns assisting parents, caregivers and educators of children ages birth-pre-kindergarten. ELC manages and evaluates early child care and education programs through a quality school readiness delivery system.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Spreading the Gift of Reading

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By Dianne Battle, St. Johns CARES

In his book, “I Can Read with My Eyes Shut,” Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat character says to a young reader, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

It has been sixty years since Dr. Seuss penned his first Cat in the Hat book. On the 20th observance of Seuss-inspired Read Across America Day, St. Johns CARES was pleased to work with Primrose Schools of Julington Creek and St. Johns Forest to collect hundreds of books for the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) North Florida’s School Readiness Program.

ELC currently serves 6,100 at-risk children from birth to pre-kindergarten in St. Johns and five other counties. Our local Primrose schools play a significant role in donating the thousand books ELC hopes to receive as part of this year’s Read Across America Day book collection. Children who are read to at an early age show improved school readiness scores and vocabulary.

Used books appropriate for 3-4 year olds are distributed to selected pre-schools. New books are included in take-home reading packs so that children can experience being read to by parents and caregivers. Early Learning Coordinator, Joan Whitson, commented that despite serving over 6,000 children ELC always has a waiting list. Volunteers trained as Reading Pals or for Literacy Outreach, and donations are crucial. See ELC’s website, www.elcnorthflorida.org.

Donated books that are suitable for older children will be held by St. Johns CARES for summer activity packs the public school system distributes at the end of the school year to over 600 homeless students in its ASSIST (Aid & Support for Students in Sudden Transition) program. St. Johns CARES is now fundraising to provide middle school students with scholarships to attend Gamble Rogers Marine Science Camp. See the Chip in For Youth opportunity at www.stjohnscares.org.


On March 2, Primrose demonstrated its commitment to improve academic outcomes for disadvantaged children. The jeep ELC’s Kim Brumfield drove was loaded to capacity. Youngsters helped by these donations may be accepted into college some day; this month St. Johns CARES is filling suitcases with dorm necessities for college-bound ASSIST students. See our website, www.stjohnscares.org for information on Suitcases for Seniors and Chip in for Youth, or come to a meeting, 7PM third Tuesdays at Bartram Academy. St. Johns CARES is happy to help ELC North Florida keep the Cat in the Hat’s promise, “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Dates for ELC Days at Sykes Farms and Amazing Grace Crop Maze (October 2016)

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SpookleyFe

ELC early literacy events for October 2016 are described below!

At both events, all children in attendance will receive a FREE “Spookley the Square Pumpkin” book as a gift and each classroom will receive a bag of assorted Spookley and other fall-related books. ELC staff and volunteers will be on-hand to provide an extra fun craft activity for the kids. 

Sykes Farms Early Literacy Event

ELC is sponsoring TWO fall field trips at Sykes Farms in Elkton, Florida- October 3 and 4, 2016 between 9a.m. and Noon.

Admission is only $5.00 for all children and chaperones (free admission for teachers).

 

The activities include: a trip through the Spookley the Square Pumpkin kiddie maze, hayride through pumpkin patch and sunflower field, visit with Uncle Buck’s farm animals, jump on the “corn popper”, the huge jumping pillow, playground featuring tube slide, corn box, tractor tires, spider web and more.

For booking information, call 904-692-1084 or go to http://www.sycofarms.com/index.php/field-trips/ and complete the field trip request form. Don’t forget to mention ELC when booking!

ELC Days at Amazing Grace Crop Maze in Green Cove Springs, Fla. (Lake Asbury area)

 

ELC is hosting another early literacy event at Amazing Grace Crop Maze on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, from 10 a.m. through 1 p.m.

The cost is $8.00 for all children and chaperones (teachers are free)

The day includes: a mini pumpkin for each child, a hayride which includes visiting farm animals, Spookley the Square Pumpkin story time, crop maze science adventure, amazing agriculture lesion which includes how food gets from the farm to your fridge, jump on the new attraction “The Jump Pad” and playground featuring rat rollers, mini-hay bale maze, duck races and corn hole games.

For booking information, email info@agcropmaze.comInclude school name, contact email and phone number, approximate number of children and chaperones. Please mention the ELC when booking. Their office will contact you to confirm.

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida
 

[Press Release] Free Family Concert Featuring Jack Hartmann

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PALATKA, Fla., September 12, 2012 — The Early Learning Coalition (ELC) is sponsoring a free community concert on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The concert will feature children’s singer Jack Hartmann, with special guest Elmo from Sesame Street.

Hartmann has written and recorded more than 700 educational children’s songs as well as a children’s book titled “Over the Ocean.” More recently, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from his alma mater, University of Florida.

The concert, geared for families with children aged two through eight, will be held at Beasley Middle School auditorium at 2 p.m. Each family will also receive a complimentary Jack Hartmann CD. Associates of the ELC will be present at the event and encourage families to donate any new or slightly used pre-school age-appropriate books to benefit less privileged children.

Beasley Middle school is located at 1100 South 18th Street, Palatka, Fla.

For more information, contact Joan Whitson at jwhitson@elcpsj.org or call 904-819-3544. To learn more about Jack Hartmann, please visit www.jackhartmann.com. To download concert information as a flyer, click here: Hartmann_Concert_Flyer

To download high-resolution photos of Jack Hartmann, click here or here.

 

CONTACT:

Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Coordinator

904-819-3544

jwhitson@elcpsj.org

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