Archive for parenting

PARENTS’ PAGES – January 2020

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The January issue of Parents’ Pages, a newsletter for families, is available on OEL’s website and below as an insert/attachment.


Topics in this issue:

  • Children’s Week Celebrate Literacy Week
  • Florida Celebrate Literacy in Your Home
  • Vision Screening for Children
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Download here:

Download (PDF, 14.16MB)


PARENTS’ PAGES – Winter 2019

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The December issue of Parents’ Pages, a newsletter for families, is available on OEL’s website and below as an insert/attachment. 

December is Family Safe Toys and Gifts Month

You can learn about toy safety and find which toys are best for infants, toddlers and
preschoolers in the December Parents’ Pages.

Read this issue to learn the importance of:
ꟷ Hand washing
ꟷ Immunizations
ꟷ The gift of time
ꟷ The 2020 Census
Learn more about scholarships that are available for young children and an organization that
builds beds for children that need a bed of their own. Find some fabulous resources to support
your preschooler’s learning at home.

Download here:

Download (PDF, 9.72MB)


Family Engagement Month is November – Activities for Your Family

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November is Family Engagement Month

Join us as we celebrate families and encourage families to be engaged in their child’s learning, development and well-being.

Did you know that family engagement is important because it supports children’s school readiness and promotes children’s school success by increasing motivation? It also reduces behavioral problems and improves the social-emotional development of children. Family engagement also fosters skills in young children such as impulse control, attention, memory and planning skills.

Celebrating Families

Throughout the month of November, we want to celebrate Florida’s families. Be sure to use #EngagedFamiliesFL when posting on social media. The Office of Early Learning will be sharing #EngagedFamiliesFL tagged posts on our social media throughout the month. You can follow along using #EngagedFamiliesFL on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Family Engagement Materials

Vroom Week

November 18-22

A child’s brain grows the fastest from birth through age 5! Helping them learn now gets them ready for school, friends and life.

Parents, the time you spend with your child helps their brain grow strong. Even a few minutes count! Learn how to turn every day moments into brain building moments with Vroom. You already have what it takes!

Vroom Week Flyer

Download (PDF, 580KB)

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)

January Parents’ Pages Now Online!

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Office of Early Learning Parents’ Pages features articles this month about having a new baby, flu prevention, play at school and literacy celebrations… Read this month’s issue, full of great information that you can use, brought to you by the Office of Early Learning. Click here to read the full issue. 

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 or call 904-819-3544. To learn more about Jack Hartmann, please visit To download concert information as a flyer, click here: Hartmann_Concert_Flyer

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



Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Coordinator




Children’s Activity: Thanksgiving Placemat Craft

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When it’s time for dinner, your preschooler will be excited to share his or her artwork in the form of decorative placemats. Making Thanksgiving placemats is a great way for your child to express creativity. Dinner guests love these homemade placemats, and they can even do double duty as party favors.

Things You’ll Need
·         Large pieces of construction paper in fall colors

·         Clear contact paper

·         Non-toxic craft glue, markers, scissors, crayons, and glitter

·         Cut-out Thanksgiving shapes or stickers

What to Do
1.    Give your preschooler a large piece of construction paper and lay out the art supplies within easy reach. Have your child choose which guest will receive this placemat, and talk together about why you feel thankful for that person.

2.    Now that your child has some great inspiration, help him or her decorate the construction paper to make a personalized placemat for each guest. Write a special message from your child on a corner of the placemat. Don’t forget to date the artwork.

3.    When the glue is dry, you can laminate the placemat to keep it clean. Simply place it face down on a piece of clear contact paper. Place another piece of contact paper over the back, and then trim the edges to make them even.

If you make this, please share your creations at

Check Out Our Winter Newsletter!

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The Winter Newsletter is Hot Off The Press!

Hello Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library family and friends! Our winter newsletter is out and ready to be viewed by YOU. In this issue, you can find information on our upcoming Toddler Fests and other exciting winter events. Also, you can learn about what to read to keep your little ones calm at bedtime, how to share your family album to your children as a story, how to contribute to our books for bravery program and much much more!

You can go straight to the newsletter by CLICKING HERE or sign up for the emailed version HERE. Enter your name right under the Free Books For Babies logo on the left side of the page.By signing up for the email you receive our newsletter straight to your inbox every time it’s published. This way you are the  first to get all the latest and greatest reading tips and ideas, sign up today!

Happy Reading!

Photo Albums: Your Family’s Story Waiting to be Told

Posted by Kristin and Leann enjoy a recent Toddler Fest at the Anastasia Island Branch Library, St. Augustine, hosted by the Early Learning Coalition of Putnam & St. Johns Counties.

There may not be words printed beneath each photograph, but chances are, you know a story you can pass along to your child: the trip to Chicago in that old Plymouth Dart, the Christmas you had an emergency appendectomy, fishing in Nana’s lake.

Research has shown that it’s not just reading a book that stimulates your child—it’s the conversations you have while looking at the page. Your child’s vocabulary expands every time you point to and name an object or a person in the picture. And using a family photograph during story time can inspire you to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end—which helps your child understand how language works. Chances are, you will also tell a family tale with more emotion in your voice and in your facial expressions, and that makes story time more interesting for your child.  In addition, those photos could prompt your child to share memories of his own. Verbal practice is important, even if he’s just repeating the words, “Grandpa’s truck” over and over.

Using photographs as a basis for storytelling has plenty of benefits for your son or daughter’s reading skills, but it can also help you accomplish something else.  In his book Writing About Your Life, author William Zinsser says that recounting your life stories has “the further value of telling your children and grandchildren who they are and what heritage they come from.” In a culture that values immediacy, we don’t always take care to preserve and pass on the gift of the past. You don’t have to write a 500-page memoir to instill a sense of family history in your child. You can do it one memory, one photograph at a time.

But what if you don’t have a huge family with old Plymouths and docks to fish from? What if it’s just you and your baby? Then reach for the photographs you took last month, and talk about those. It is just as valuable to say to your child, “Remember when we bought those sparkly shoes?” as it is to say, “Remember when Uncle Rob fell through the attic ceiling?”

Every detail you discuss will be building your child’s vocabulary, her understanding of story, and her concept of herself. You don’t have to be sitting around a Norman Rockwell holiday table, or rocking on a generations-old porch. You will always have the story that matters most to your child, the one that begins, “On the day you were born…”

Tell your child your family story today!

A Spring Reading Craft: Planting a Curious Garden

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The Curious Garden is a story about a boy’s dream and how one small person can help change the world.

The ground may still be frozen up north, but here in Florida it will be planting time soon. If you’d like to try an easy spring craft, read Peter Brown’s beautiful picture book The Curious Garden (Little Brown, 2009) with your child.

In the story, a child discovers a small garden on an elevated railway in the midst of a grey metropolis. Wonderful transformations ensue. After you’ve read the story, you can draw or paint a city skyline around the outside of a small pot. Then plant seeds inside and watch your own metropolitan garden bloom in the weeks to come.  Another book to consider: Ruth Klauss’s perennial The Carrot Seed (Harper Trophy).