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Parents Looking for Childcare Find Help with the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida [NEWS RELEASE]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Image/Caption: 

Children from God’s Little Creations in Palatka on April 22, 2021 creating fans before they learn the “fan dance”.

Children from God’s Little Creations in Palatka, Fla. is one of many child care centers that offer services for children in North Florida. The Early Learning Coalition can offer assistance in finding and paying for child care. Please visit www.ecs4kids.org/programs/school-readiness/ to apply. 

Full Resolution Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IMG_9390.jpg

Parents Looking for Childcare Find Help with the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., August 10, 2021 – At the beginning of another school year, Florida is being impacted again by the new variant of the Covid pandemic, leaving some parents of young children facing similar child care situations as in 2020. With workplaces adjusting to new protocols, some parents of young children are caught in a cycle of not being able to work because childcare is not available or is too expensive. There is help available for families.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) helps parents find and afford childcare to help them return to work. Families who are in need of childcare are encouraged to contact the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida for both financial help and assistance in locating childcare. The ELC partners with Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS) to coordinate childcare services. For more information, contact ECS at 904-726-1500, toll free 1-800-238-3463 or visit 

www.ecs4kids.org/programs/school-readiness/.

The average cost for childcare in Florida is $8,400 a year. For parents hovering around the poverty level, this means that childcare is one of the factors preventing families from rising above the poverty level. Additionally, finding childcare can be very difficult. Episcopal Children’s Services Chief of Programs Teresa Matheny explained how the ELC funding program works. 

“The ELC offers financial assistance to families making up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level,” said Matheny. “Once enrolled, the family can continue to receive services until they earn up to 85 percent of the Florida Median Income. In practical numbers, this means a family of three earning up to $32,580 a year is eligible for funding and can remain in the program until their income exceeds $53,601.” 

In addition to helping parents pay for childcare, ECS will help parents locate child care in their area. Currently, ECS is able to get most waitlisted children into childcare within two weeks. 

ELC provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. 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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Sponsored by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Holds Ocean Program at the Kids in Action Learning Center in Palatka

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

Image/Caption: 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer Robin Robinson, Outreach Assistant Sue Murphy, and the teachers and students from the Kids In Action Learning Center in Palatka learning about the ocean on July 22, 2021.

DOWNLOAD FULL RESOLUTION IMAGE HERE: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Robin-as-the-shark_edit.jpg 

(More photos can be found below the release.)

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Holds Ocean Program at the Kids in Action Learning Center in Palatka

PALATKA, Fla., July 23, 2021 – On July 22, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of North Florida’s outreach team organized an ocean-themed literacy program at the Kids in Action Learning Center in Palatka. This early education program teaches kids all about the ocean and the many creatures that reside in it.

The kids explored ocean-related questions such as “What makes sand?”, “What are the layers of the ocean?” and “Which creatures live in each layer?”, along with supporting facts about numerous ocean creatures. For example, “Do you know how many brains an octopus has?” Answer is: Nine. One in each tentacle and one in their head. 

Through fun books and activities, the ELC outreach team makes the ocean come to life.  The children made their own ocean in a bottle, painted sea shell creatures and made sand necklaces. Each child received a free book called “Ocean Creatures” published by Scholastic and the school received a large bag of teaching resources to further teach the ocean unit. The ELC outreach team consists of paid staff plus a team of volunteers. 

The ELC of North Florida is looking for more volunteers to help with its themed literacy programs and its volunteer reading program. Volunteer readers read to preschool children on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Training is provided. Contact Joan Whitson, Outreach Manager for more information about volunteering at:  jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org or 904-342-2267 ext. 202.  

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

 

More Ocean Program photos can be found here for use:

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https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Robin-Robinson-Reading-Mr.-SeaHorse_edit.jpg

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https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/sar-and-joan-ocean-in-a-bottle_edit-scaled.jpg

 

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Sponsored by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Organizes Bubbles Program Throughout St. Johns County

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

Image/Caption: 

Early Learning Coalition volunteer Erika Bauserman and students from Brighton Day Academy in St. Augustine learning about bubbles on July 6, 2021.

DOWNLOAD FULL RESOLUTION IMAGE HERE: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/IMG_0902.jpg 

(More photos can be found below the release.)

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Organizes Bubbles Program Throughout St. Johns County

JOHNS COUNTY, Fla., July 16, 2021 – The Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of North Florida’s outreach team is blowing bubbles all over St. Johns County this summer! Eight locations have been “hit” with the bubbles so far as ELC’s educators look to reach preschools with their Fun with Bubbles Science Program. This early education program teaches kids the science behind bubbles while having fun.

Students learn fun facts about bubbles (i.e. bubbles are air trapped in soap film), and then do activities to illustrate the new fact. The teachers receive a bag of supplies to do activities, including: bubble printing, bubble painting, free play making small and huge bubbles, straw ping pong and blowing art with bubble paint. Tying in literacy with science, the teachers also receive themed books for their classroom including “PoP! A Book About Bubbles” by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. 

The ELC outreach team is committed to promoting literacy through science and creative themed programming. Each child also receives a book relating to the theme. For more information about volunteering with the ELC outreach team to put on programs like this, contact ELC Outreach Manager Joan Whitson at 904-343-2267 ext. 202.  

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

 

More Bubble Program photos can be found here for use:

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Sponsored by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

 

[RELEASE] Early Learning Coalition Offers Assistance with Childcare

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Brighton Day CareFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact: 

Teresa Matheny

Chief of Programs

Episcopal Childrens Services

904-726-1500 Ext. 247 

Cell: 904-521-6803

Teresa.Matheny@ecs4kids.org

 

Image/Caption: 

Brighton Day Care is one of many child care centers that offer services for children in North Florida. The Early Learning Coalition is accepting applications for funding for child care. Please visit www.ecs4kids.org/programs/school-readiness/ to apply. 

Full Resolution Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Brighton-Day-April-2021-Group-Photo.jpeg

 

Early Learning Coalition Offers Assistance with Childcare

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., May 2, 2021 – Florida, akin to much of the country, has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic, and some parents of young children are caught in a cycle of not being able to work because childcare is not available or is too expensive. The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) can help parents find and afford childcare to help them return to work. Families who are in need of childcare are encouraged to contact the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida for both financial help and assistance in locating childcare. The ELC is partnering with Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS) to coordinate childcare services.  For more information, contact ECS at 904-726-1500, toll free 1-800-238-3463 or visit

www.ecs4kids.org/programs/school-readiness/.

 

The average cost for childcare in Florida is $8,400 a year. For parents hovering around the poverty level, this means that childcare is one of the factors preventing families from rising above the poverty level. Another issue is that finding childcare can be very difficult. Episcopal Children’s Services Chief of Programs Teresa Matheny explained how the ELC funding program works. 

 

“The ELC offers financial assistance to families making up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level,” said Matheny. “Once enrolled, the family can continue to receive services until they earn up to 85 percent of the Florida Median Income. In practical numbers, this means a family of three earning up to $32,580 a year is eligible for funding and can remain in the program until their income exceeds $53,601.” 

 

Currently, there are waivers in place that relax the requirements for applying services.  The waivers allow individuals who are unemployed and seeking work to apply as well as those that have had a reduction in their work hours to qualify for funding through the ELC. These waivers will expire at the end of June. 

 

Eligible families are charged a fee based on income and family size. They may be required to make up the difference between the ELC funding and the fees charged by the childcare provider.  Matheny described the financial obligation for a hypothetical parent in the ELC program. 

 

“While each preschool is different, an example of this situation would be that the parent is charged a parent fee of $5 per week. The ELC pays for $150 a week to the childcare provider. If the provider normally charges $175 a week, the parent may be asked to pay $30 a week, representing the $5 parent fee plus the $25 difference,” said Matheny. 

 

In addition to helping parents pay for childcare, ECS will help parents locate child care as well. Currently, ECS is able to get most waitlisted children into childcare within 30 days. 

 

The ELC provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds).  For more information about the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and its other programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

 

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Sponsored by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

 

[RELEASE] Flora and the Flamingo Return to North Florida to Teach Kids the Importance of Music and Movement

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Image/Caption: Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) volunteer Melanie Kent (AKA “The Flamingo”) with VPK student Jashanti Lyons and the children at God’s Little Creations in Palatka on April 22, 2021. They are dancing and acting out the story “Flora and the Flamingo” by Molly Idle.

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IMG_9370.jpg 

Image/Caption: Children from God’s Little Creations in Palatka on April 22, 2021 creating fans before they learn the “fan dance”.

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/IMG_9390.jpg 

 Flora and the Flamingo Return to North Florida to Teach Kids the Importance of Music and Movement

PALATKA, Fla., April 28, 2021 – The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team returned to North Florida for their celebrated music and movement literacy program by visiting God’s Little Creations in Palatka on Thursday, April 22. The event debuted in Clay and Baker Counties back in 2019 and took a hiatus last year due to COVID-19. Geared to 3-5 year olds, the program is meant to highlight the importance of music and movement as it pertains to a child’s learning and development.  

Books like “Rupert Can Dance” by Jules Feiffer, “Down by the Cool of the Pool” by Tony Mitten and “Flora and the Flamingo” by Molly Idle are highlighted during this program. During the reading of Flora and the Flamingo, one of the ELC volunteers dresses up as the flamingo then picks a child from the class they are visiting to join them in acting out the story. Whatever dance movement the flamingo does, Flora copies it. The children get to dance to different kinds of music and make music with bells.

Volunteers are the key to success for this program and the other themed programs that the ELC puts on, including: Space, Meet the Masters, Dinosaurs, Ocean Themed, Mother Goose “Rhymers are Readers” and Eric Carle’s World of Colors. Volunteers help the ELC in two main ways. The first is by being an outreach volunteer that assists in putting on programs. These volunteers read stories, sing songs, lead craft activities and maybe wear themed costumes – such as a shark for the ocean themed program. The second way volunteers help is by being a weekly reading volunteer to a group of local preschool children. Reading volunteers get the privilege of exposing the same group of children each week to great books and get to plant the seed of early reading.

Exposing children to the arts at a young age is very important to building their creativity.  Learning to dance or play an instrument builds confidence which is so important to early child development.  The ELC outreach team regularly puts on themed literacy programs in local childcare centers and preschool classrooms.  The goal of these programs is to expose children to quality literature and to reach important topics that children need to learn.  The children receive a FREE book relating to the theme of the program and the classroom receives a bag of teaching resources and books to further teach the topic at a later time. 

For more information about volunteering contact Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org or 904-342-2267. 

The ELC provides child care assistance to families who meet certain income requirements and who are working or going back to school. This school readiness program is designed to increase a child’s chance of achieving future educational success. The ELC also administers and manages Florida’s FREE VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds). 

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

 

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Sponsored by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Preschool Teacher of the Year Nominations Now Open

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If you are interested in nominating a preschool teacher of the year in our counties, please use the following form:

Teacher of the Year Nomination Form

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Sponsorship by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

[NEWS RELEASE] Simultaneous Reading Event Held for More Than 6250 Children in Local Counties

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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., November 9, 2020 – Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) joined readers across the country on Thursday, October 29 to celebrate Read for the Record, America’s largest shared reading experience.

Each year schools and child care centers participate in trying to break the world record of reading the same book on the same day to the most kids. Read for the Record is celebrating its 8th year and is sponsored by Jumpstart.org. The ELC of North Florida participates in this literacy event each year. 

Locally, ELC provided a free copy of the the official campaign book “Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson and an activity packet to all of six county preschool 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. Eighty-two providers participated for a total of 6,257 children participating in all local counties.

In St. Johns County the ELC also partnered with the United Way of St. Johns who provided special guest readers to local preschools. Officers from the St. Augustine police department and volunteers from the Flagler College sorority Phi Alpha Omega were among the guest readers.

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.

Many schools followed their reading of the book, “Bear Sees Colors”, with a variety of color themed learning activities. The book is about a bear that goes for a walk with his friend Mouse and sees so many colors along the way. It encourages children to go on their own colors hunt and is the perfect book to teach young children about colors.

“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. “Early literacy is so crucial in a child’s development and future learning success. We are on a mission to help children in our counties 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.

All Counties: Clay, Bradford, Baker, Putnam, St. Johns and Duval Counties:

 

Photo Download: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/clay_county_fun_little_years.jpg

Photo Caption: Children from Fun Little Years in Clay County, Florida being read “Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson participating in Read for the Record Day, Thursday October 29, 2020. 

 

St. Johns County Specific:  

Photo Downloads: 

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Photo Caption: Officer Caroline Drouin of the St. Augustine City Police Department reading to the children at Island Prep West in St. Augustine, Florida the book “Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson as they participate in Read for the Record Day, Thursday October 29, 2020. 

 

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Village_Academy_North_photo.jpg

 

Photo Caption: Children from Village Academy North in St. Augustine, Florida proudly showing off their artwork to represent the book “Bear Sees Colors” by Karma Wilson for Read for the Record Day Thursday, October 29, 2020.

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North FloridaSponsorship by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

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

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ELC of North Florida Announces Book Video Contest Winner

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

Early Learning Coalition book video contest winner Treasure Harbor Preschool in St. Augustine, Florida with video creators Chase Glisson, Elissa Glisson and Danni Clay on August 7, 2020.

 

Image/Caption:

Early Learning Coalition book video contest winner Treasure Harbor Preschool in St. Augustine, Florida with video creators Chase Glisson, Elissa Glisson and Danni Clay on August 7, 2020. 

ELC of North Florida Announces Book Video Contest Winner

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., August 19, 2020 – During the month of July, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of North Florida held a children’s book video contest. Child care centers and preschools were invited to create their own videos acting out or reading a children’s book. The winning school would receive a free iPad and their video would be featured on the ELC YouTube page and shared at their annual early educators conference in January 2021.

The winner of the video contest was Treasure Harbor Preschool in St. Augustine. They took the contest to a new level and created a video using a unique method called stop motion. 

Danni Clay, the director at Treasure Harbor, described the process.

 “They took a picture every time they moved any prop,” said Danni. “Even a centimeter. So, for example, 8 pictures are in one second. The video is about 720 pictures long (1:30). She said they got their own background and gathered their props and moved every prop and took every picture themselves.” 

The video was edited in Adobe Premier. The video is the book “The Foot Book” by Dr. Seuss and can be viewed on the ELC of North Florida YouTube page here: https://youtu.be/GA1fTxiJR2Q 

“We were very impressed with the creativity of this video and its ingenuity,” said Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Outreach Manager for the ELC of North Florida. On Friday, August 7th, the school was visited with a prize patrol to receive their prize.  

 

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.

 

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Governor DeSantis’ Lifts Child Care Restrictions

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DCF logo

Please see Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order 20-131 that lifts restrictions on child care programs and allows summer camps and youth programs to become operational effective as of May 22, 2020.

As a result of the Executive Order, please see the following updates on capacity and group sizes for all registered and licensed child care providers:

  1. Are there limitations on capacity? Only limitations on capacity as licensed. Providers are encouraged to consider recommendations for group sizes and social distancing measures issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  2. Are there limitations on group sizes? No; however, the CDC recommends that group sizes remain small and that there be no mixing of one group with another group.

For licensing ratios, the Office of Child Care Regulation or the local licensing agency, will continue to monitor and cite for any violations.

Taskforce Report to Open Florida

Executive Order 20-131

T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Announcement

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Our world is currently facing challenges that we haven’t seen in our lifetime. As the number of individuals staying home increases to safeguard the health and well-being of our families and communities, many of us are searching for new ways to be productive. With the help of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship program, you can do just that!

We invite you to take advantage of a great opportunity to advance your professional development by taking college-credit classes and earning credentials in early childhood education.

Did you know that T.E.A.C.H. works with a number of colleges and training institutions throughout Florida that offer online classes? You can earn a credential or take a college class or two from the comforts of your own home. Visit www.teach-fl.com to apply for a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship today.

We are currently accepting applications for the summer and fall semesters. Not sure where or how to start? T.E.A.C.H. provides a convenient and easy to use way to search for eligible colleges and training institutions through its ECE Training Directory.

You can filter your searches within the ECE Training Directory by school and scholarship type. You can also select to limit your view to only online programs.

Please contact us at 1-877-FLTEACH (877-358-3224) with your questions. Our T.E.A.C.H. Program Specialists and Counselors are here to help.

Keep yourselves and loved ones safe during this time!

Web: www.teach-fl.com
Phone: 877-FLTEACH (877-358-3224)
Email: teachquestions@thechildrensforum.com

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Sponsorship by the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida