Archive for Press Release

Early Learning Coalition Needs Volunteer Readers for Clay County Reading Pals Program

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Early Learning Coalition Needs Volunteer Readers for Clay County Reading Pals Program

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida volunteer reader Karen Cercy dressed up as a clown for Halloween with her class at Backpack University in Orange Park, Fla.

ORANGE PARK, Fla., November 20, 2018-  The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is seeking new volunteer reading pals to continue growth for their Reading Pals program.

Volunteer Reading Pals are matched up with local preschool centers where they read once a week or bi-weekly to groups of children.  The ELC has a specific need currently for more volunteers in Clay County.

Reading Pals volunteers will learn the following skills: how to choose age-appropriate books; child development, including the attention span of preschoolers; presenting books to preschoolers and promoting early literacy through phonetically reading.  

“It makes my day when I walk into the classroom and the children cheer ‘It’s the book lady,’” volunteer Reading Pal, Ellen Prest said.

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. Instilling an early love for reading is crucial to children’s future success in school.

The ELC has a well-stocked lending library with books and literacy materials for the volunteers to check out and use.  Readers are also able to create relationships with the children through their consistent appearances. Volunteers can read solo or they can share their assignment with a partner.  The ELC has several husband and wife teams as well. Civic organizations have also adopted a classroom and members take turns reading.

For more information about becoming a reading volunteer contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at 904-342-2267 x 202 or email jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

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 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..

Meet the Masters Program Featured

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Please enjoy this edition of St. Johns County’s Superintendent Spotlight featuring our Meet the Masters Program.

Superintendent Spotlight – February 2018

 

ELC of North Florida Announce 2017 Preschool Teacher of the Year

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ELC of North Florida Announce 2017 Preschool Teacher of the Year

2017 Preschool Teacher of the Year winner Margie Tedder pictured with special guest Marshall from Paw Patrol; Toni Mitchell, Village Academy Director; Dr. Teri DeLucca, Vice President of Operations of Village Academy and Joan Whitson, Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Outreach Manager, during prize patrol visit, December 20, 2017.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., January 5, 2018 – 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 third annual Preschool Teacher of the Year Award. 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 this 19-year-old nonprofit organization and this ELC works with their partner, Episcopal Children’s Services to assure our providers have coaches, funds and often, volunteers for their learning environments.

This year’s Preschool Teachers of the Year is Margie Tedder, a VPK teacher at Village Academy in St. Augustine.

Tedder was honored by a surprise prize patrol on December 20, 2017, with balloons and flowers. She will be recognized at the Early Educators Conference on January 27, 2018 at the Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park. Tedder will be awarded a $500 cash prize from Kaplan Early Learning, Inc., the 2017 Teacher of the Year Sponsor.

Tedder began teaching 33 years ago. Her involvement at Village Academy includes teaching, directing the summer camp program and serving as assistant director of the school. Her passion lies in teaching and in her strong love for her students, according to Tedder.

“Children who have had Tedder 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. “Many of her former students, now grown, all remember Ms. Margie.”

“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.

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