Archive for Press Release

[NEWS RELEASE] ELC of North Florida Announces Book Video Contest Winner

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[NEWS RELEASE] Florida Governor Deems Child Care as an Essential Business

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State of Child Care Services in North Florida During the Coronavirus

Ms. Christina educates at Brighton Day Academy preschool in St. Augustine on Thursday, April 3, 2020, one of the child care centers in North Florida willing to be open to serve essential workers during the coronavirus. www.elcnorthflorida.org #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., April 4, 2020 – Despite stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus crisis, essential personnel with children still have a need for high-quality and accessible child care. To aid workers, Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has deemed child care an essential business. Child care centers are currently operating at only half-capacity in North Florida counties; however, parents can be matched for immediate openings at willing centers through a centralized resource hotline.

 

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) gives support to parents of children ages birth to five years by managing the Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCRR), Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) and School Readiness programs in the counties of St. Johns, Clay, Nassau, Putnam, Baker and Bradford. Parents can call ELC’s Child Care Resource and Referral Network to be matched to child care services at 1-800-238-3463 ext. 7702. 

 

Because of the support of early childhood educators willing to ensure that both the safety of their children and the needs of the community are met, those in medicine, first responders and grocery store workers are able to report to duty during this crisis. It may also take the burden of child care off aging grandparents, who may be at higher risk for the coronavirus.

 

ELC, along with the Office for Early Learning in Florida, are suggesting that providers do what they can to stay open for those who need care. Help is available for them as well as parents. 

 

Continuing the child care system enables parents to work and earn money to support their families, a critical component of economic stability and growth, as well as helping children to meet developmental milestones, according to ELC.

 

What Kind of Child Care Help Is Available for Parents?

 

The Child Care Resource and Referral Network (CCRR) has been in place to help families find care that is easily accessible, educational, safe and affordable. Additionally, ELC’s managed School Readiness programs allow families who meet certain income requirements to enroll their children in daycare. Parents pay a co-payment based on a sliding fee scale and developmental screenings are conducted by ELC. 

 

 “We work with our primary service provider, Episcopal Children’s Services, to offer resources for parents who need to find quality and affordable child care through our hotlines,” said CEO of ELC North Florida Dawn Bell. “We are monitoring things very closely and will continue to offer our services as is our mission to help children and families.” 

 

Parents can call the Child Care Resource and Referral Network at 1-800-238-3463 ext. 7702 or email ccrrhotline@ecs4kids.org 

 

More information can be found on the homepage of The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s website www.elcnorthflorida.org

 

Pertinent Information Regarding Child Care in North Florida During COVID-19

 

What Centers are Now Open? 

 

Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS) keeps a current list of all centers, their capacity, and the ability to take in new families through actively surveying centers. According to ECS’ Chief of Programs and Administration Teresa Matheny, when parents call, they will be able to find placement within counties for services. 

 

“Our child care centers have really embraced our request to be available for parents,” said Matheny.

 

“Some of the centers cannot operate at full capacity due to CDC guidelines. Centers are limiting their ratio of providers to children per room, and at the same time, many have parents now staying at home so spots are opening up,” said Matheny. “Our centers are following protocols for safety to minimize risks as much as possible. I would strongly recommend parents call us.” 

 

First responders have been able to find child care so far in ELC North Florida’s counties, but there are some shortages in counties like Bradford, according to Matheny. Also, some centers like Brighton Day Academy preschool would be willing to keep their day care open for night-shift workers 24/7 if needed. 

 

““We are taking every precaution for safety during these times.  No parents are allowed past the lobby and we take each child and staff member’s temperature before they are allowed back into the classroom area,” said Tracy Roberts,  Director at Brighton Day Academy in St. Augustine. “We are open to business and still enrolling. We have fewer children enrolled right now but are working hard to keep all of our staff on the payroll.  Our priority is and has always been to the safety and well being of the children in our care.”

 

What Are Child Care Centers Doing Now to Be Safe?

 

Providers are taking guidance from the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to determine how to operate. Guidelines from FDOH can be found here: http://floridahealthcovid19.gov/schools

 

They also received the following guidelines to adhere to from the Department of Children and Families, Office of Child Care Regulation. 

 

These include: 

  • Require pickup and drop-off in the lobby/entry way of the operation, unless it’s determined there is a legitimate need for the parent to enter an operation. For example, meet the parent at the pickup area and escort the child to the parent.
  • Prohibit any person except the following from accessing an operation: operation staff; persons with legal authority to enter, including law enforcement officers, Child Care Licensing staff, and Department of Children and Families protective services staff; professionals providing services to children; children enrolled at the operation; and parents or legal guardians who have children enrolled and present at the operation.
  • Limiting students and employees to no more than 10 people in a single occupied space, therefore breaking students into groups as necessary, maintaining social distancing best practices for proper hygiene.
  • Ensuring students get individual meals and snacks; not family style. 
  • Any person that is allowed to enter must be screened for fever, cough, respiratory symptoms and he/she should not have traveled outside the country in 14 days or have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive person. 

 

What Crisis Support is Provided to Parents Needing Child Care? 

 

The parent fee is being waived for those who are part of the School Readiness subsidized child care program that ELC North Florida manages. The Office of Early Learning will pay the entire cost of that fee. This also means parents will not have to come up with that portion right now and their providers will still be paid. 

Additionally: 

  • VPK programs are still being fully funded and supported although not all programs remain open.
  • ALL terminations of School Readiness eligibility are suspended.
  • Timelines required for ALL redeterminations of School Readiness eligibility are extended.
  • Required documentation for School Readiness child absences are waived.

 

What Is Being Done to Help Child Care and VPK Centers to Stay Afloat? 

 

The Office of Early Learning (OEL), in addition to waiving the parent fee, will continue to pay centers per child enrolled before the crisis for those who are part of the subsidized school readiness program and VPK while providers are open.

 

Additionally, they are: 

  • Reimbursing School Readiness and VPK providers during temporary closures related to the COVID-19 virus emergency.
  • Cancelling remaining child screenings and assessments for both School Readiness and VPK.
  • Extending timelines for provider improvement plans and reports.
  • Waiving accountability implications of the fall 2020 kindergarten screening for VPK providers – which means that 2019-20 VPK readiness rates will not be calculated.
  • Canceling remaining School Readiness program assessments.

 

While OEL’s plan doesn’t help centers whose parents pay the centers directly, there is also some other government relief for small business owners as of mid-March which may be applicable to many child care centers . 

 

Governor Ron DeSantis put into action the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses. According to the guidelines, These short-term, interest-free working capital loans are intended to “bridge the gap” between the time a major catastrophe hits and when a business has secured longer term recovery resources, such as sufficient profits from a revived business, receipt of payments on insurance claims or federal disaster assistance.https://floridadisasterloan.org

 

Additionally, providers can participate in the Paycheck Protection Program which allows a small business that employs 500 employees or fewer to receive loans. A document from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business answers questions regarding how to apply for the new emergency loans; eligibility; terms and guidelines available to small businesses under the CARES Act signed into law by President Trump on Friday, March 27, 2020 Visit this link to learn more: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Paycheck-Protection-Program-FAQs-for-Small-Businesses.pdf

 

Child Care Centers can apply for both the Emergency Bridge Loan Program and the Paycheck Protection Program at the same time.  

 

What Should Parents Do Right Now? 

Still wondering what to do as a parent? You’re not alone. 

 

As a word of encouragement to parents discerning the choice to put their child in care, Matheny offers, “As a parent this is a tough time and what is the right thing to do. Know we care about your children and follow best practices but always trust your gut when it comes to your child. You are doing the right thing.” 

 

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s website and facebook page has up-to-date resources for providers and parents in addition to their child care services, school readiness services and VPK programs. Please visit online at www.elcnorthflorida.org or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elcnorthflorida.

 

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) supports potential and current providers through Episcopal Children’s Services, the ELC’s contracted primary service provider. Episcopal Children’s Services is available to offer information about starting a new child care business (including directing to DCF for licensing) and enhancing your program. Episcopal Children’s Services is eager to assist providers with Contracting with the Coalition and with questions about the VPK and School Readiness programs. Contact ECS at 904-726-1500, extension 7054.

 

www.elcnorthflorida.org #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

 

Contact: Dawn Bell, CEO, Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Email: dbell@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: (904) 342-2267 ext. 204 (office); (904) 377-5248 (cell)

Image/Caption: Ms. Christina educates preschoolers at Brighton Day Academy in St. Augustine on Thursday, April 3, 2020. Brighton Day Academy is one of the child care centers willing to be open to serve essential workers during the coronavirus in North Florida. www.elcnorthflorida.org #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Ms-Christina-Brighton-Day-Care-St-Aug-scaled.jpg

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

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

Free Books for Children at St. Augustine Day Care

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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

Image/Caption:  Members of both the Sertoma and Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine are pictured with the children of Brandts Child Care Center holding up their first book from the Ferst Foundation on June 13, 2019.

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Ferst_Foundation.jpg

 

Free Books for Children at St. Augustine Day Care

St. AUGUSTINE, Fla., June 20, 2019 – All preschoolers at a St. Augustine Day care are now receiving a book a month plus literacy resources for an entire year because of a team of local literacy supporters.

 

In an effort to support the youngest of readers, the St. Augustine Sertoma Club and the Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine teamed up with Ferst Readers are sponsoring Brandts Day Care for one year. On June 13, 2019 The first book, Read to Me, was delivered by members of each club, a Ferst Readers representative and a very special guest, the popular literacy character Pete the Cat!

 

“Amazing things happen when groups come together to help our most valuable and vulnerable resource – our children,” said Literacy Coordinator for the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Joan Whitson.  

Joan Whitson, Kiwanis member, has been working with Ferst Readers through the Early Learning Coalition in several other North Florida counties and loved the program so much she wanted children in St. Augustine to have the same opportunity. She invited Michelle Maddox, Regional Program Coordinator for Ferst Readers, to come and speak to the Kiwanis Club about the Ferst Readers Program. Then Joan presented the program to the Sertoma Club. Both groups were so excited about the program, they raised the funding to sponsor the entire center in a few short months!

 

Ferst Readers is a 501C(3) which has been providing age-appropriate books and literacy resources monthly to children for almost 20 years at no cost to the families in participating communities. For now, in St. Johns County, the Ferst Readers program is a Partnership Action Team (PAT), which means only children enrolled in the Brandts Day Care Center will receive Ferst Readers books each month. The Ferst Foundation would like to expand to reach more children in St. Johns.  

 

Any group of children can be sponsored by an organization or business. Accompanying each book will be the parent engagement newsletter, Leap Into Books, which provides relevant questions, important vocabulary and activities related to the book to help parents read with their child. It also is a community connection piece which will provide donor/sponsor spotlights and local events to inform the parents of special activities they can attend with their families. Each classroom at the Brandts Center will also receive a book and newsletter to build their classroom libraries and create excitement before the children take their books home.

 

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.

 

For more information about the Ferst Readers program visit their website: www.ferstreaders.org. To get involved with the St. Augustine Sertoma Club visit: www.saintaugustinesertoma.org or the Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine visit: www.kiwanisofstaugustine.com.

 

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

Ferst Foundation

Members of both the Sertoma and Kiwanis Club of St. Augustine are pictured with the children of Brandts Child Care Center holding up their first book from the Ferst Foundation on June 13, 2019.

‘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.

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