Archive for Volunteer

Flora and the Flamingo Make Their Debut in North Florida

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) volunteer Kathy Stawara of Orange Park (AKA “The Flamingo”) and ELC outreach assistant Sandi Dunnavant with children at Baker County Pre-K in Macclenney.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team debuted their new music and movement literacy program in pre-schools this past spring and summer in Clay and Baker Counties. They will expand the program to include Bradford, Putnam, Nassau and St. Johns Counties in the Fall. The program, geared to 3-5 year olds, 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 and 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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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

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)

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

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

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

 

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