Archive for Media Release

‘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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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

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

[NEWS RELEASE] Simultaneous Reading Event Held for More Than 6500 Children in Local Counties

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Children from Andromeda Preschool in Orange Park standing proudly in front of the mural they painted to represent the book “Maybe Something Beautiful” for Read for the Record Day, Thursday, October 25, 2018.

Children from Grace Learning Center in St. Augustine proudly showing off their beautiful artwork to represent the book “Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy for Read for the Record Day Thursday, October 25, 2018.

Children from the Pre-K class at Mosely Elementary School in Palatka having fun for Read for the Record Day Thursday, October 25, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Simultaneous Reading Event Held for More Than 6500 Children in Local Counties

AUGUSTINE, Fla., November 9, 2018 – Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) joined Jumpstart, the Pearson Foundation and readers across the country on Thursday, October 25 to celebrate Read for the Record, America’s largest shared reading experience.

Locally, ELC provided a free copy of the the official campaign book “Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy to all their child care providers in Clay, Nassau, Bradford Baker, Putnam and St. Johns counties. The book was read at schools, libraries and countless special events from coast to coast, with many reading the free digital version available at jumpstart.org. Ninety-four providers participated for a total of 6,541 children participating in all local counties.

Launched in 2006, the campaign brings together millions of people to celebrate literacy by breaking the world record for reading the same book on the same day. Last year, Jumpstart broke the world record by reading to 2.5 million children around the world.

“Maybe Something Beautiful” is based on a true story of one little girl in L.A. who made a difference by bringing color to her once drab neighborhood.

“The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida is delighted to be a reading partner for this year’s Read for the Record Day,” said Joan Whitson, ELC’s Early Literacy Outreach Manager. “We support Jumpstart’s mission to help all children in America enter school prepared to succeed.”

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

Read for the Record 2018: Maybe Something Beautiful

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Maybe Something BeautifulRead for the Record, presented in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, is the annual event when millions of individuals come together to celebrate literacy by breaking the world record for reading the same book on the same day.

On October 25, adults and children across the United States will read the official campaign book, “Maybe Something Beautiful” by Isabel Campoy. Find out more about this campaign by visiting: http://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-for-the-record

The ELC of North Florida is providing every center in Clay, Nassau, Baker, Bradford, Putnam and St. Johns with a FREE copy of “Maybe Something Beautiful” along with a packet of activities to do along with the book. (There is a 2 book limit per school or Family Child Care.) For School Districts ELC can provide 1 book for each pre-K/VPK class.

To get your center’s book and packet you must RSVP by phone or email by Tuesday, October 9th to Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Coordinator at 904-342-2267 ext. 202 or jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org. A member of ECS or ELC staff will personally bring it to you or it will be mailed. In your email include your center’s name, contact person, address, phone, email, number of books and the number of children to whom you will be reading.

Joan Whitson will be submitting the totals from all of our centers to Read for the Record after the event.

Please send photos of your reading event to jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org so ELC can post them on our ELC Facebook page. The activities you will receive and reading guide can also be downloaded by visiting: www.jumpstart.org

Included in the packet we give you will be a World Record Reading Certificate for you to copy and give to each child. They can be downloaded from the campaigns/events link above..

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