Archive for events

The Cat in the Hat Visits the Ravine Gardens for Early Literacy

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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ELC of North Florida volunteers Sara Tavender and Erika Bauserman along with the Cat in the Hat reading and having fun with the Dr. Seuss book “Ten Apples Up on Top” at Ravine Gardens.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla., March 20, 2020 – He’s back! The Cat in the Hat made a special visit to Ravine Gardens for a literacy event put on by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida on Friday, March 13th. Called “Dr. Suess at the Ravines”, the event had a special story time program featuring the Cat in the Hat followed by an activity time that featured activities centered around different Dr. Suess books. Some of the activities included playing with Grinch slime, making Fox in Sox puppets, Cat in the Hat cup stacking, a One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish playdough table and more. 

This event was in celebration of literacy week, which is always the first part of March in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday. This event was put on for local Putnam County preschools and more than 110 children and adults were in attendance. Each child received a FREE Dr. Seuss book and each school received a bag of Dr. Seuss themed books and materials for their classroom. 

“One of the biggest missions of the ELC of North Florida is to provide quality literacy programming to the many child care providers that we serve” says Joan Whitson, ELCNF Outreach Manager. 

The ELC would like to thank the 13-plus volunteers that showed up to help put on this event. ELC outreach volunteers assist with different themed literacy programs all year long and many of them read regularly in a local preschool. For more information about volunteering with the ELC of North Florida, please contact Joan Whitson at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

The Cat in the Hat Tours North Florida for Early Literacy

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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Kiwanis of St. Augustine members, Mary DeRose, Rita Scott, Joelyn Look (AKA “The Cat in the Hat”) and Mary Warren volunteering with the Early Learning Coalition of N. Florida to put on a Dr. Seuss program at Brandts Child Care in St. Augustine.

CLAY AND ST. JOHNS COUNTIES, Fla., March 20, 2020 – The Cat in the Hat is on the loose in North Florida during the month of March! In celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday Thursday, March 12th, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) held a drawing at its annual early educators conference in January for child care centers and preschools to receive a Dr. Suess program in their school. The program put on by ELC staff and volunteers consists of a story time with special guest “The Cat in the Hat” followed by fun activities relating to Dr. Seuss books. Each child in attendance received a FREE copy of the book “Ten Apples Up on Top” and the teachers received a resource bag filled with a set of eight Dr. Seuss books and other related teaching materials.

Congratulations to this year’s winners: O2b Kids and Brandts Child Care in St. Augustine, First Class Learning Center and Orange Park Kindergarten in Orange Park, and River Preschool in Fleming Island.  

“Promoting early literacy is a priority mission for us at the Early Learning Coalition” says Joan Whitson, ELCNF Literacy Outreach Manager. “Getting children excited about books and making sure that all children have them can make all the difference in their success in school all during their lives.” 

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 4 year olds). Please visit www.elcnorthflorida.org for more information.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces 8,000 Reading Scholarships Available to Help Students Enhance Skills

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For Immediate Release January 24, 2020

Contact: Governor’s Press Office (850) 717-9282

Media@eog.myflorida.com

First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces 8,000 Reading Scholarships Available to Help Students Enhance Skills

First Lady also announces new pilot programs for Math, Reading

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis urged Florida parents and schools to take advantage of more than 8,000 Reading Scholarships available through the Florida Department of Education to help public school students in grades 3-5 improve their reading skills. First Lady DeSantis said that more than 5,600 students and their parents have already taken advantage of these Reading Scholarships during the current school year. First Lady DeSantis also announced that ABCmouse will be launching a pilot program for their Mastering Math app and will soon announce the launch of their Mastering Reading app. Both pilots, which allow students to learn basic skills at their own pace, will be offered at no cost to Florida students in prekindergarten through second grade. “I am proud to support the Governor’s bold steps toward making education a priority,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis.

“Today is about bringing the public and private sectors together to ensure that Florida’s children have the support and resources they need to excel academically. Strong reading and learning skills are critical to student success in all aspects of life, and we are committed to continually pushing forward to create the best education experience for all Florida students.”

“A huge thank you to First Lady Casey DeSantis for championing this great opportunity for Florida families,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran. “We know that every student can learn. Currently according to NAEP, Florida is ranked number 6 in 4th grade reading nationwide. These Reading Scholarship accounts are going to enable us to help thousands of students who are struggling. I look forward to announcing the more than 8,000 scholarships available that will ensure we are giving students every opportunity they need to thrive.”

The Reading Scholarship is administered through the Department of Education by Step Up for Students. The eligible expenditures for reimbursement are:

 Instructional materials;

 Curriculum;

 Tuition and fees for part-time tutoring services.

The services shall be provided by a person who holds a valid teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.56, F.S.; a person who holds an adjunct teaching certificate pursuant to s. 1012.57; or a person who has demonstrated a mastery of subject area knowledge pursuant to s. 1012.56 (5);

 Fees for specialized summer education programs designed to improve reading or literacy skills; and

 Fees for after-school education programs designed to improve reading or literacy skills.

For more information about Reading Scholarship Accounts, visit http://www.fldoe.org/schools/school-choice/k-12-scholarship-programs/reading/.

 

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ELC of North Florida Announces 2019 Preschool Teacher of the Year

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PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s representatives stand with 2019 Preschool Teacher of the Year winner Teresa Forbes at the Early Educators Conference Saturday, January 18, 2020. Left to Right: Aubrie Simpson, Fostering Connections St. Johns; Teresa Forbes, Brighton Day Academy, St. Augustine; Tony Boloutchi, Kaplan Early Learning Co., and Joan Whitson, Early Learning Coalition of North Florida.

Mascot Elsie and representatives from the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida surprises 2019 Preschool Teacher of the Year Teresa Forbes, Brighton Day Academy, St. Augustine (left of mascot) with prizes last December. She was officially honored at the Early Educators Conference Saturday January 18, 2020.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., January 28, 2020 –  Whether exceptional teachers are born or made is not the question. What matters is that by the time they make it into the classroom, they are filled with the necessary passion, drive, education and genuine love of teaching children that students need to succeed.

This critical need for exceptional teachers is why the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is proud to present its winner of the fifth annual Preschool Teacher of the Year Award to Teresa Forbes. Forbes is a VPK teacher at Brighton Day Academy in St. Augustine, Fla. 

The six-countywide preschool teacher recognition is to acknowledge the creativity and hard work of those who teach children at the most fundamental time in their lives. 

“These are the kind of teachers that children will remember for the rest of their lives,” said Dawn Bell, ELC CEO. Bell is the leader of the 21-year-old nonprofit organization and the North Florida organization works with their partner, Episcopal Children’s Services to assure providers have coaches, funds and often, volunteers for their learning environments.  

Forbes was honored by a surprise prize patrol in December with balloons and flowers. She was also recognized at the ELC of North Florida’s Early Educators Conference held on January 18, 2020 at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park. Forbes was awarded a $500 cash prize from Kaplan Early Learning, Inc., the 2019 Teacher of the Year Sponsor as well as a plaque in her honor. 

With a strong nomination from her peers, Forbes stood out among educators. 

“When I hear ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ I think of Teresa,” said Donald Sutton, owner of Crowned Heart Preschools [Brighton Day Academy]. “Teresa not only teaches all of the basic core education curriculum, she does it in a fun, loving and nurturing environment. Her students leave her room prepared for elementary school and life well beyond. Her students learn a love of reading, which will help them throughout their academic career and last a lifetime.”

“In addition, Teresa strongly models awesome social skills. Her students learn about respecting others, and sharing and communicating their feelings verbally. Teresa is always organized and ever-flexible with a teachable moment when they arise. She’s the first to come in early, stay late or volunteer to help on a Saturday.”

“Teresa has told me many times that this is her calling and what God put her on the earth to do. I couldn’t agree more,” Sutton said. 

“Teaching is a special calling, and ELC is excited to be able to recognize preschool teachers who represent the best in the six counties we serve,” Bell said. “There’s no better job than guiding children down a path of success. Great teachers like Teresa have an incredible impact on our future.” 

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

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

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

National Provider Appreciation Day is May 10

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Provider Appreciation Day is May 10. Please visit our Facebook page to nominate a provider: 
Rules on Facebook:
1. Like post.
2. Share post.
3. Comment, “Thank You (Name of Child Care Provider)” and tell us why you appreciate them!
4. Include the #ProviderApreciationDay hashtag.

Review our flyer below: 

#ProviderAppreciationDay

The Cat in the Hat is on the Loose in North Florida for Early Literacy

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MEDIA: PLEASE SEE IMAGE LINKS AND CAPTIONS BELOW RELEASE FOR YOUR PARTICULAR COUNTY

The Cat in the Hat is on the Loose in North Florida for Early Literacy

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 14, 2019 –  Watch out! The Cat in the Hat is on the loose in North Florida during the month of March. In celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) held a drawing at its Annual Early Educators Conference for several of its counties’ child care centers and preschools to receive a Dr. Seuss program in their school. The program, put on by ELC staff and volunteers, consists of a story time with special guest “The Cat in the Hat” followed by various activities relating to Dr. Seuss books. Each child received a free copy of the book “Ten Apples Up on Top”. Teachers received a resource bag filled with a set of eight Dr. Seuss books and other related teaching materials.

This year’s winners include: A Child’s Castle in Palatka, Orange Park Methodist Preschool, First Class Learning Center in Orange Park, Brighton Day Academy and Memorial Lutheran Preschool in St. Augustine.

“Promoting early literacy is a priority mission for us at the Early Learning Coalition” says Joan Whitson, ELC’s Literacy Outreach Manager. “Getting children excited about books and making sure that all children have them can make all the difference in their success in school all during their lives.”  

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). To learn more, visit:  www.elcnorthflorida.org for more information.

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

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Image/Caption: St. Johns County  

VPK kids at Memorial Lutheran Preschool in St. Augustine holding their books given to them by “The Cat in the Cat”  and the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida outreach team.

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Memorial_Lutheran_Preschool_in_St._Augustine.jpg

Image/Caption: Clay County/North Florida

VPK kids at First Class Learning Center in Orange Park holding their books given to them by “The Cat in the Hat” and the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida outreach team.

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Dr._Seuss_at_First_Class_Learning_Center_in_O._Park..jpg

Images (2)/Caption: Putnam County

The Cat in the Hat and Early Learning Coalition of North Florida volunteer Helen Miur sharing hugs with children at A Child’s Castle Learning Center in Palatka.

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Cat_in_the_Hat_at_A_Child_s_Castle_in_Palatka.jpg

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida volunteer Ginny Levito having fun with the book Ten Apples Up on Top seeing how many apples the children can balance on their head at A Child’s Castle Learning Center in Palatka.  

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Having_fun_putting_Ten_Apples_UP_on_top_at_Child_s_Castle_in_Palatka.jpg

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

[NEWS RELEASE] ELC of North Florida Announces 2018 Preschool Teacher of the Year

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Teacher of Year

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s Mascot Elsie surprises Teacher of the Year 2018 Angie Picket, Sugar and Spice Preschool, Orange Park, Fla., with award on January 9. 2019.

ELC of North Florida Announces 2018 Preschool Teacher of the Year

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., February 19, 2019 –   Whether exceptional teachers are born or made is not the question. What matters is that by the time they make it into the classroom, they are filled with the necessary passion, drive, education and genuine love of teaching children that students need to succeed.

This critical need for exceptional teachers is why the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is proud to present its winner of the fourth annual Preschool Teacher of the Year Award to Angie Picket. Picket is a VPK teacher at Sugar and Spice Preschool in Orange Park, Fla.

The six-countywide preschool teacher recognition is to acknowledge the creativity and hard work of those who teach children at the most fundamental time in their lives. 

“These are the kind of teachers that children will remember for the rest of their lives,” said Dawn Bell, ELC CEO. Bell is the leader of the 20-year-old nonprofit organization and the North Florida organization works with their partner, Episcopal Children’s Services to assure our providers have coaches, funds and often, volunteers for their learning environments.  

Picket was honored by a surprise prize patrol on January, 9th, 2019 with balloons and flowers. She was also recognized at the ELC of North Florida’s Early Educators Conference held on January 26, 2019 at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park.  Picket was awarded a $500 cash prize from Kaplan Early Learning, Inc., the 2018 Teacher of the Year Sponsor.

Picket is the educational director as well as lead Pre-K teacher at Sugar and Spice. She has a bachelor of Arts degree in education as well as a director’s credential degree. Picket started her teaching career as an elementary teacher. Then, building on the legacy of her mother, who founded Sugar and Spice, Picket made the transition to early education.

“Children who have had Picket as a teacher are well-prepared for kindergarten and leave with the foundational school readiness skills that are necessary for success in kindergarten,” said Bell.  

“Teaching is a special calling, and ELC is excited to be able to recognize preschool teachers who represent the best in the six counties we serve,” Bell continues. “There’s no better job than guiding children down a path of success. Great teachers like these have an incredible impact on our future.” 

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

 

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Registration Open for Early Educators Conference 2019!

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Early Educators Conference 2019

Saturday, January 26th, 2018 –  9:00 a.m.  – 3:15 p.m.

Register on EVENTBRITE by clicking here.

Thrasher Horne Center in Orange Park, FL

Thrasher-Horne Center
283 College Drive
Orange Park, FL 32065

Conference Speaker is Richard Cohen. Find out more about him by visiting: https://richie4360.wordpress.com/

CEU’s will be provided.

Contact Joan Whitson at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org for more information.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and Amazing Grace Crop Maze Host Literacy Event

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PRESS RELEASE

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and Amazing Grace Crop Maze Host Literacy Event

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla., November 19, 2018-  The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) hosted their fourth early literacy Fall event at the Amazing Grace Crop Maze in Green Cove Springs. Twenty-one local preschools attended the day’s event for a total of 430 children.

During the morning hours, the venue provided hay rides to preschool children which drove them through pumpkin patches. In the afternoon, there was a crop-maze science adventure. Children also enjoyed a mini hay bale maze and were included in other various farm attractions such as rat rollers, duck races, a giant corn popper trampoline and visiting Uncle Buck’s farm animals.

Early Learning Coalition’s staff and volunteers were also on-hand providing an extra craft activity while they handed out free copies of the book “Spookley the Square Pumpkin” by Joe Troiano to each child. Child care providers in attendance from Bradford, Clay, Putnam, St. Johns and Duval counties received a bagful of assorted Spookley books as well as other Fall-related books.  

“The Early Learning Coalition always enjoys partnering with Amazing Grace Crop Maze this year,” said ELC’s Early Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson. “The emphasis on literacy and agriculture that Amazing Grace introduced to the children was a great learning experience.”

The Early Learning Coalition is the leading voice in six counties for child care. ELC works with many other local agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. Their mission is achieved by leading projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and how assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida