Volunteer Readers Needed in Clay & Putnam County for 2022-2023 School Year

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**NOTE:  Volunteers are still needed ONLY for Clay County.**

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) is seeking volunteer readers to read to local preschoolers in Putnam County. Volunteers will read to a classroom or to small groups of children once a week.  

“If you love small children, are animated, and have a passion for literacy, this volunteer opportunity is for you,” said ELC’s Outreach Assistant, Joan Whitson. “In the past, ELC has had individual readers, team readers [ex. a small group of friends or a husband and wife], and there have also been civic groups that have adopted a class and took turns reading.”

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteers will start reading in early September, and training is provided. This includes having access to ELC’s lending library filled with books and materials.

In Putnam County:  Please contact ELC’s Outreach Assistant, Lacy Doss, at:  ldoss@elcnorthflorida.org or call the coalition’s main number: (904) 342-2267 ext. 202 and ask for Joan Whitson, Outreach Manager.

In Clay County:  Please contact ELC’s Outreach Assistant, Lacy Doss, at:  ldoss@elcnorthflorida.org or call the coalition’s main number: (904) 342-2267 ext. 202 and ask for Joan Whitson, Outreach Manager.

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 to 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

Board Member Applications Being Accepted Now

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Board Members

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BOARD MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION

Interested in becoming a member of the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida? Please download a BOARD MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION and email it to dbell@elcnorthflorida.org.

 

ECS Appears on First Coast Living News

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Altoria White, from Episcopal Children’s Services, recently appeared on First Coast Living to share about the services ECS offers.  They discussed how their services of school readiness, Voluntary Pre-K (VPK), and Childcare Resource & Referral benefit the families of Northeast Florida.

Watch the entire video on First Coast News’s site.

[RELEASE] Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Organizes Air and Wind Science Program

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MORE PHOTO LINKS BELOW RELEASE

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Organizes Air and Wind Science Program

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla., May 20, 2022 – The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) has been focusing on science and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) programs this past spring. The ELC outreach staff launched a new science themed program specifically about air and wind.

Preschoolers became scientists and studied the science behind what air is and what makes wind. The outreach team dressed in lab coats and goggles and put on an interactive program featuring many science experiments that help explain these concepts. 

Kids were enthralled with the “keeping the ping pong ball in the air with a blow dryer” and “putting the paper towel into the water without it getting wet” experiments according to the outreach team. Balloons were used to demonstrate air; the popping of a confetti balloon was a big hit. Children waved scarves like sailboats to music and blew their own pinwheels. The students also learned about tornados and then made their own tornado in a bottle to take home. 

Each child received a book called “Wind” by Erin Edison and the teachers received a large bag of science resources to further teach this theme in the classroom. In March, the ELC also held a science project contest in which preschool classrooms sent in photos of science projects they did in their classrooms. Prizes were given to the top three projects. The winner was Island Prep West of St. Augustine’s Pre-K classroom, featuring their “Bees” project. 

“Focusing on STEAM promotes problem solving and thinking skills,” says Joan Whitson, ELC Outreach Manager. “Getting kids excited about science at an early age leads to a greater interest in later years.” 

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 to assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

Other Photos:

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

 

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[RELEASE] The Cat in the Hat is on the Loose in North Florida for Early Literacy

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

PHOTO LINKS BELOW RELEASE

 

The Cat in the Hat is on the Loose in North Florida for Early Literacy

ST.AUGUSTINE, Fla., March 23, 2022 – The Cat in the Hat was on the loose in North Florida during the month of March. In celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, March 2, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) selected several of its counties’ child-care centers and preschools to receive a Dr. Seuss program in their school.

The Dr. Seuss Program, led by ELC staff and volunteers, consists of a story time with special guest “The Cat in the Hat” followed by various activities relating to Dr. Seuss books. Each child receives a free copy of the book “Ten Apples Up on Top”. Teachers receive a resource bag filled with a set of eight Dr. Seuss books and other related teaching materials.

At the ELC’s Early Educators Conference January 29, 2022, ELC awarded the following schools with the program: O2bkids Palencia and O2bkids South location in St. Augustine; Kinder Care and Kids Campus in Orange Park, and Fleming Island High School Child Care in Fleming Island. (See photo links below.)

“Promoting early literacy is a priority mission for us at the Early Learning Coalition,” said ELC’s Literacy Outreach Manager Joan Whitson. “Getting children excited about books and making sure that all children have them can make all the difference in their success in school all during their lives. 

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida would like to thank its many volunteers who come out and help with these themed literacy programs as well as read to children weekly in local preschools.”

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 programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

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. 

 

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

 

Photo Downloads:

St. Johns County:  

 

Photo #1 – Children from O2bkids South Preschool in St. Augustine with their teacher Diana Casillas and the Cat in the Hat were awarded a Dr. Seuss Program brought by the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2022. 

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Clay County: 

Photo #2 – Kinder Care in Fleming Island with the Cat in the Hat were awarded a Dr. Seuss Program brought by the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2022. 

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Photo #3: Fleming Island High School Eaglets with teachers Ms. Vinson and Ms. Fish were awarded a Dr. Seuss Program brought by the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2022. 

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[PRESS RELEASE] The Cat in the Hat Visits the Ravine Gardens for Early Literacy

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CONTACT:

Joan Whitson, Early Literacy Coordinator

904-342-2267

jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

PHOTO LINKS BELOW RELEASE

 

The Cat in the Hat Visits the Ravine Gardens for Early Literacy

 

PALATKA, Fla., March 16, 2022 – He’s back! The Cat in the Hat made a special visit to Ravine Gardens for a literacy event put on by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) on Friday, March 11, 2022. Called “Dr. Suess at the Ravines,” thelocal Putnam County preschools event had a special story time program featuring the Cat in the Hat followed by an activity time centered around different Dr. Suess books. This event was in celebration of literacy week, held annually in the first part of March, in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

Activities included making Fox in Sox puppets, playing in a Green Eggs and Ham Sensory Bin, stacking red and white cups for the Cat in the Hat, creating a personalized foot book and playing a fishing game to go along with the book One Fish Two Fish. Each child received a FREE Dr. Seuss book and each classroom received a teacher bag full of Dr. Seuss themed resources for their classroom.  The ELC of North Florida believes focusing on early literacy is the key to a child’s future success.

“Local ELC literacy volunteers running all the activities made the event happen,” said Joan Whitson ELC Outreach Manager.  Many of these volunteers also read regularly in local preschools.  For more information about volunteering with the ELC of North Florida, please contact Joan Whitson at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org.

 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 programs and services, please visit, www.elcnorthflorida.org or call 904-342-2267.

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 we assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org. Sponsorship by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida and the state of Florida, Division of Early Learning.

 

Photo Downloads:

Putnam County:

 

Photo #1 – Angela Hough, director of God’s Little Creations Child Care Center in Palatka enjoys the Cat in the Hat Cup stacking game with her children as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2022.

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Photo #2 – Children enjoying the Cat in the Hat Story time at Ravine Gardens in Palatka  as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2022.

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Photo #3 – Beverly Robinson, director of A Child’s Safe Haven pictured with her children all decked out as The Cat in the Hat as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2022.

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NEWS RELEASE: Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Awards 2021 Teachers of the Year

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PRESS RELEASE

 

Contact: Joan Whitson, Early Learning Literacy Coordinator, 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida, Inc. 

Email: jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org  

Phone: 904-342-2267

 

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida surprises Amy Finkley, 2021 Infant/Toddler Teacher of the Year, and Marisol Buitrago, 2021 Preschool Teacher of the Year, with prizes on January 6, 2022. 

Link to photo: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Marisol-and-Pete-the-Cat.pnghttps://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Amy-Finkley-individual-photo-1.jpg

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Awards 2021 Teachers of the Year

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla., January 6, 2022 – The Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of North Florida is pleased to announce its 2021 Preschool and Infant/Toddler Teachers of the Year. On January 6th, 2022, the ELC of North Florida surprised its 2021 preschool and infant/toddler teachers of the year with a prize patrol. The teachers were gifted with balloons, flowers, candy and a visit by special guest Pete the Cat.

ELC’s 2021 Infant/Toddler Teacher of the Year is Amy Finkley. Amy is an infant and toddler teacher at Deerwood Academy in St. Johns, Florida. She has been a teacher there for 10 years and has been an infant/toddler teacher for almost 30 years. Amy was nominated by Lucinda Chapin and Sheri Jenkins, the Chief Operating Officers for Deerwood Academy. Amy also recently received their in-house Teacher of the Year award in honor of her continued dedication to the children in her care. 

The Preschool Teacher of the Year winner is Marisol Buitrago. Marisol is a teacher at Green Cove Springs Head Start Center in Green Cove Springs, Florida. Marisol has been teaching preschool for 25 years. She is also the center manager for the Green Cove Springs Head Start. Since the beginning of the year, she has worked as the lead teacher for the VPK Head Start classroom due to the center being short staffed because of COVID-19. 

Both of these teachers exemplify the qualities and characteristics necessary to nurture the lives of young children and have gone above and beyond in their work according to their nominees.

They will be honored in person at the ELC of North Florida Early Educators Conference on Saturday, January 29th at the Thrasher Horne Conference Center in Orange Park, Florida. The teachers will  receive a $500 cash prize thanks to Kaplan Early Learning Co. and the Clay Electric Foundation. 

This quote from John Quincy Adams could define these two winners, according to Joan Whitson, ELC of North Florida’s Outreach Manager.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you’re a leader.”

“These two teachers are clearly leaders and are so deserving of this award and recognition,” said Whitson. 

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 to assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

 

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Additional Photos of the 2021 Teacher of the Year Award Winners:

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Launches Five Senses Program for Children in St. Johns County

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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

 

Students from Turning Point Christian Academy in St. Augustine show off their copies of the book “My Five Senses” by Aliki Brandenberg during a program put on by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida in December 2021.

Link to Photo: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/IMG_4195.jpg

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Launches Five Senses Program for Children in St. Johns County

JOHNS COUNTY, Fla., December 8, 2021 – During the month of December, the Early Learning Coalition (ELC) of North Florida’s team launched a new Five Senses Program throughout the St. Johns County area which introduces children to touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. This themed early literacy program is put on by the ELC of North Florida’s outreach team staff and volunteers in local preschools.

The Five Senses Program consists of a highly interactive story time filled with music, followed by a period of hands-on learning activities. The children get to learn about animals that have super senses, such as bats. They also learn about sounds and vibrations by making sounds with their bodies and musical instruments. The kids test their seeing skills by looking at pictures of items up close and trying to guess what they are. They challenge their sense of smell by trying to guess smells put in mystery jars. At the end of the program, the children make their own touch book filled with differently textured items. 

All participating children receive a free copy of the book “My Five Senses” by Aliki Brandenberg and each classroom teacher receives a large bag of teaching materials relating to the five senses theme. The ELC of North Florida regularly puts on themed literacy programs like this throughout the year with the goal of sharing quality programming and materials with local preschools. 

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 to assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

 

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Other Photos:

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Early Learning Parents’ Pages for Dec 2021

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Check out the following resources for parents from the Division of Early Learning for the month of December!

Click to Access Early Learning Parents’ Pages for Dec 2021

 

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 we assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

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

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Organizes Series of Mother Goose Programs in Putnam County

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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

 

Students from Melon Elementary School in Palatka enjoy the Mother Goose program put on by the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida in November 2021. 

Link to photo: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/IMG_5825-scaled.jpg

 

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Organizes Series of Mother Goose Programs in Putnam County

During the month of November, the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida put on seven Mother Goose programs at Melon Elementary school in Palatka and three at Crescent City Elementary in their VPK classrooms. The Mother Goose program focuses on teaching children  nursery rhymes and the importance of rhyming.  

Each child received a free Mother Goose nursery rhyme book and each teacher received a bag of resources relating to rhyming for their classrooms. The kids also participated in acting out nursery rhymes and had fun tapping out the rhythms of the story Miss Mary Mack using rhythm sticks. 

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 to assist in ensuring quality child care for all families, visit us at www.elcnorthflorida.org.

 

Other Photos:

 

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