[RELEASE] PNC Foundation Awards $400K Grant to Support 16 Florida ELCs to Launch “Any Time is 3TS Time” Campaign

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PNC FOUNDATION AWARDS $400K GRANT TO SUPPORT 16 FLORIDA EARLY LEARNING COALITIONS TO LAUNCH “ANY TIME IS 3TS TIME” CAMPAIGN

Free, bilingual resources will empower hundreds of parents statewide

to advance brain development for children birth to age three

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., July 24, 2020 – The PNC Foundation has awarded a $400,000 grant to the Florida Association of Early Learning Coalitions, benefiting 16 Early Learning Coalitions across the state to launch the “Any Time is 3Ts Time” campaign. Created by the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health at the University of Chicago, the campaign is designed to empower parents with knowledge and skills to foster the early cognitive and socio-emotional development of their infants and toddlers. “Any Time is 3Ts Time” is supported by the PNC Foundation in collaboration with PNC Grow Up Great®, a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. Research shows that the more adults talk and interact with kids right from the start, the stronger kids’ brains grow.   

(Read more below or download full release here.)

Download (PDF, 267KB)

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

ELC Recognizes Leaps & Bounds Preschool for Going the Extra Mile

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ELC would like to recognize Leaps & Bounds Preschool for all the extra care they give to their students right now.

❤️ Providers are taping VPK lessons and sharing the YouTube videos with their parents for the children that are staying at home.

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💙 They are making pick-up packets of work to go along with the VPK lessons.

💛 They are making and sending snack & meals with students who leave early for the day.

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❤️ They are providing care for about 30 kids a day.

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Libbie from Leaps & Bounds expressed how appreciative they are for funding right now for school readiness and VPK and are doing everything they can to keep moving forward.

Thank you for caring for our community because you, like many of the parents you serve are “essential”!

#Covid19UnsungHeroes #ELCsTakeAction

Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

ELC Recognizes Sugar N’ Spice Preschool for Amazing Work

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ELC would like to recognize Sugar N’ Spice Preschool for all the amazing things they are doing for students right now.

 

❤️ They have we have created distance learning packets for toddler – VPK students and update them with new materials every two weeks.

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💙 They are working with parents, teachers and administrators to help their elementary/school-aged students with their distance learning by creating a “computer lab” and a schedule so that each student gets to visit the “lab” twice a day as well as use the computer center during free time.

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💛 To help parents and students with this new learning adventure, they have also created school-aged packets for kindergarten to 6th grade students with supplemental learning materials, all while still giving them opportunities for brain breaks that include; art, science, outside time and cooking projects.

❤️ They are servicing 80- 100 students of “essential” workers while following our state and local officials guidance concerning group size, morning health/fever checks, escorting students to and from their classrooms and frequent sanitizing of classrooms and common areas.

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Angie from Sugar N’ Spice says “It is my hope that we can be a service and show God’s Love to our families and community whether or not their students are here at school or at home. In the end we are all doing our best.”

Thank you for caring for our community because you, like many of the parents you serve are “essential”!

#Covid19UnsungHeroes #ELCsTakeAction

Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Math & Stem Resources Available for Parents

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The Office of Early Learning has shared their Math & Stem Resources for Parents. Enjoy!

Click here to download Math & Stem Resources from the State of Florida’s Office of Early Learning.

Download (PDF, 486KB)

Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

 

Family & Literacy Resources for Parents

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The Office Of Early Learning has shared tons of Early Literacy and Parent Resources from the State of Florida. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FAMILY READING & LITERACY RESOURCES

Download (PDF, 404KB)

 

Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Office of Early Learning.

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

ELC of North Florida Volunteers Making a Creative Impact

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Image/Caption: Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer, Erika Bauserman St. Augustine creates videos to connect with preschool children. She is standing in front of the Lighthouse in St. Augustine, Fla. #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

www.elcnorthflorida.org 

Photo Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/lighthouse_erika.jpeg

 

ELC of North Florida Volunteers Making a Creative Impact

 

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., April 14, 2020 – Since preschool and child care centers are following CDC safety recommendations, volunteers are no longer admitted in local preschools for reading time. However, Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) literacy volunteers are finding creative ways to still stay in touch with the children they have been reading to all year. 

One of the creative ways volunteers are still giving back is through the use of digital communication, shared with the preschools. For instance, Volunteer Margo Locke who reads weekly at “A Fun Place to Be” in Northern St. Augustine is reading to children through Facebook videos. The teachers say it is reassuring for the children to see familiar faces like their reading volunteer and to keep to their normal routines as much as possible.  

ELC volunteer Erika Bauserman of St. Augustine, who reads at Brighton Day Academy is now making videos to share with the children. Her first video is called “Where in St. Augustine Am I?” Bauserman traveled around St. Augustine and took pictures of local landmarks giving short facts about each one. Her latest video is called “Compound Words Around Town.” She filmed items that are compound words like, butterfly, flowerpot, motorcycle and woodpecker.  

“The children love the videos and keep asking for more,” said Miss Donna, Brighton’s three and four-year old teacher.

“I miss seeing my kids so much and I want to stay in touch while at the same time teaching them something,” said Bauserman. 

Bauserman’s videos can be viewed at the ELC’s North Florida YouTube playlists page where their early education videos are featured.  https://www.youtube.com/user/ELCPSJ/playlists

It is challenging right now for child care centers and preschools to stay open (See state of child care article: https://elcnorthflorida.org/news-release-florida-governor-deems-child-care-as-an-essential-business-state-of-child-care-services-in-north-florida-during-the-coronavirus/) but it is necessary because they are serving the children of our essential workers and first responders. 

The North Florida coalition is so proud of it’s many volunteers who give of their time so freely to help our youngest citizens according to Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson.  

For more information about volunteering with the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida contact Early Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson at:  jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org. 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.

www.elcnorthflorida.org #ELCsTakeAction #Covid19UnsungHeroes

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FREE Digital Learning Resource for Kids 0-8

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Episcopal Children’s Services and ELC of North Florida is pleased to offer you a free digital learning resource for your children ages 0-8 years old. The books, games and activities on Footsteps2Brilliance will keep your children engaged and actively learning while they are at home during school closures.

Please follow these steps to activate your complimentary license for your family.

• Footsteps2Brilliance can be used on any device you have including your smartphone, tablet or computer

• Go to www.myf2b.com/register/ecs4kids90 on any device/browser

• Go to the app store for your mobile device and download the Footsteps2Brilliance app

• When asked to register, just go through the steps on the screen, available in English and Spanish

• You will receive an email with your user name and instructions to set a password The program resources will need to be downloaded while still on WIFI. If space is limited on the device, a single level can be loaded at a time and later removed to free up space.

All data about your child’s activities will still be available. Once downloaded all the resources can be used without WIFI or cell service. Kids can continue to learn anytime! In addition, you can go to www.footsteps2brilliance.com/schoolclosures to get monthly reading and writing game boards to do with your child. #ELCsTakeAction

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

[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