[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

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

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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) held a drawing at its Annual Early Educators Conference for several of its counties’ child care centers and preschools to receive a Dr. Seuss program in their school. The program, put on 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 received a free copy of the book “Ten Apples Up on Top”. Teachers received a resource bag filled with a set of eight Dr. Seuss books and other related teaching materials.

The winning schools were: First Baptist Preschool in Palatka; St. John Paul Early Learning Center in Ponte Vedra; Baker Pre-K Center in Macclenny; Yulee Baptist in Yulee; The Goddard School; First Class Learning Center; Kindercare Oakleaf; Kids Kampus in Orange Park and Pinewood Christian Academy in Middleburg.  

“Promoting early literacy is a priority mission for us at the Early Learning Coalition,” said ELC’s Literacy Outreach Manager. “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.” 

In addition to hosting the Dr. Seuss programs, ELC  held a contest for the most creative Dr. Seuss themed classroom reading corner. Forty schools entered their classrooms into the contest. The first place winners are: First Baptist Preschool in Palatka and Bartram Academy in St. Johns. The three second place winners are Fernandina Beach Head Start, Rainbow Family Education Center in Starke and Bartram Academy in St. Johns. The first place winners received a Read and Learn Area Rug and the second place winners received a set of soft-sided child furniture.  

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). 

Additional Photos are here:

Putnam County:  

Photo #1 – 

Photo Download: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/First-Baptist-Palatka-Putnam-Cty.-copy.jpg

Caption: Cat in the Hat fun with children from First Baptist Preschool in Palatka as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2021. 

Picture #2 – 

Photo Download: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/First-Baptist-Palatka-Putnam-County-2.jpeg

Caption: Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Volunteer Jane Hafner having fun with the Dr. Seuss book “Ten Apples Up On Top” with children at First Baptist Preschool in Palatka as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2021. 

St. Johns County:  

Photo Download: 

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/St.-John-Paul-ELC-in-Ponte-Vedra.jpg

Caption: The Cat in the Hat receives big hugs from children at St. John Paul Early Learning Center in Ponte Vedra as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2021. 

Baker County:  

Photo Download: 

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Baker-Pre-K-Baker-County.jpg

Caption: The Cat in the Hat with children from Baker Pre-K in Macclenny holding up their new “Ten Apples Up On Top” books as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2021. 

 Clay County: 

Photo Download: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Kindercare-Oakleaf-Orange-Park-Clay-County.jpeg

Caption: The Cat in the Hat with children from Kindercare Oakleaf in Orange Park holding up their new “Ten Apples Up On Top” books as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2021. 

Nassau County: 

https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Yulee-Baptist-Nassau-County.jpg

Photo Download: 

The Cat in the Hat enjoying his visit with children from Yulee Baptist Early Learning Center as part of the Early Learning Coalition’s Early Literacy Outreach Program in March 2021. 

 

 

 

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, Office of Early Learning.

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


 

Ocean Themed Literacy Event at Palatka Preschool is a Splash

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A “splashing” good time was held on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at the Academy of Rising Stars Preschool in Palatka. The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida’s (ELC) outreach team put on an Ocean themed literacy program which introduces children to the wonders of the ocean world and its many creatures. The children painted sea shell creatures, made sand necklaces and created a squiggly octopus craft. Introducing tactile skills, the preschoolers learned how sand is made and were able to hold and feel many different types of shells while learning about mollusks.  

To end the day, each child received a free book called “Exploring the Ocean” and the classroom received a large bag of teaching resources to further teach the ocean theme to their students.  

ELC offers themed literacy programs to local child care centers all throughout the year with its goal to promote early literacy and the love of reading.  

“The children get so excited about receiving their books and many parents report how much their children shared with them about what they learned during the program,” said ELC’s Outreach Manager Joan Whitson. 

If you are in one of the six counties ELC serves in North Florida (Baker, Bradford, Clay, Nassau, Putnam & St. Johns), and would like a literacy program at your preschool, contact Joan Whitson at 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, Office of Early Learning.

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


ACF and CDC Work with States to Prioritize School Staff and Child Care Workers for COVID-19 Vaccine

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The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help teachers, school staff, and child care workers find where to access the COVID-19 vaccine through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

More information and resources from CDC are available at their website for COVID-19 vaccines for teachers, school staff, and child care workers.

Spread the word!

 

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, Office of Early Learning.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Parents’ Pages for March 2021

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Check out the following resources for parents from the Office of Early Learning for the month of March!

Click to Access Early Learning Parents’ Pages for March 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, Office of Early Learning.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Checklist of 16 Early Signs of Autism

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Check out the following Checklist of 16 Early Signs of Autism.

Click here to access the document

 

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, Office of Early Learning.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Parents’ Pages for January 2021

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Check out the following resources for parents from the Office of Early Learning for the month of January!

Click to Access Early Learning Parents’ Pages for January 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, Office of Early Learning.

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

[RELEASE] Coalition Announces Infant & Preschool Teachers of the Year Award Winners

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Learning Coalition Announces Infant & Preschool Teachers of the Year Award Winners

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., January 11, 2021 – Whether exceptional teachers are born or made is not the question. What matters is that by the time they make it into the classroom, they are filled with the necessary passion, drive, education and genuine love of teaching children that students need to succeed according to the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida.

 

This critical need for support of exceptional teachers is why the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida (ELC) presents its winners of the fifth annual Preschool Teacher of the Year Award. The goal of the six-countywide preschool teacher recognition award is to acknowledge the creativity and hard work of those who teach children at the most fundamental time in their lives. 2020, particularly, provided its own set of extra challenges for preschool teachers. This year’s winners are honored for rising to challenges and exceeding expectations. 

 

“These are the kind of teachers that children will remember for the rest of their lives,” says Dawn Bell, ELC CEO. Bell is the leader of this 19-year-old nonprofit organization and ELC works with their partner, Episcopal Children’s Services, to assure their providers have coaches, funds and volunteers for their learning environments. 

 

A new category was added in 2020 to highlight the efforts of teachers taking care of infants and toddlers. 

 

“These teachers so often get overlooked, but the foundation they set in their classrooms sets the groundwork for a child’s successful learning career,“ said Bell.

 

 The ELC announces Emily Muserallo is its 2020 Infant/Toddler teacher of the year. Emily is currently a teacher at the St. John Paul II Early Learning Center in Ponte Vedra, Fla. 

 

“Emily is one of the best teachers I have ever worked with,” said St. John Paul II Early Learning Center Director Kristen Conway. The children are thriving in her room under her calm, warm, disciplined and loving way. Artwork lines the classroom and she has taught her children their shapes, colors, and numbers, but also good manners and kindness for each other.” 

 

The 2020 Pre-K Teacher of the Year Award working with children ages 3-5 is Kelly Yeager, a VPK teacher at Baker County Pre-K/Kindergarten Center in Macclenny, Fla. According to her peers, Kelly is committed to excellence in every aspect of her profession and is constantly assessing her students through observation, anecdotal notes, formal assessments and conversations. She has been described as the epitome of an amazing childhood educator and creates a positive classroom climate for all her students. 

 

Both winners were surprised in December with a prize patrol of flowers, candy, and balloons.  Emily and Kelly will be honored at the annual ELC Early Educators Conference being held January 16th at the Thrasher Horne Center in Orange Park. They will each receive a $500 cash prize from Kaplan Early Learning and Clay Electric, the 2020 Teacher of the Year sponsors. 

 Emily Muserallo accepting her 2020 Infant/Toddler teacher of the year award.

Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Emily_Muserello_Group_Picture.jpg 

 

Kelly Yeager accepting her 2020 Pre-K Teacher of the Year Award working with children ages 3-5 award.

Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Kelly_Yeager_Group_Photo_2.jpg 

Emily Muserallo holding her 2020 Infant/Toddler teacher of the year award.

Link: https://elcnorthflorida.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Picture_of_Emily_Muserello_alone_1-rotated.jpg 

 

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, Office of Early Learning.

 

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Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Florida Early Childhood Educator Training Stipend Available

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The Office of Early Learning is excited to share that Florida Early Childhood Educators are eligible for a $75 stipend upon the successful completion of any of the following courses by June 30, 2021, or until the stipend funding is depleted. The maximum stipend an eligible participant can receive is $225. (3 courses/events x $75 = $225). Successful completion may include an end of course assessment or certificate of completion. All application and stipend forms are available here.

From Department of Children and Families: Child Care Training System – Cost $10 per course
• Trauma Informed Care for Child Care Professionals (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Challenging Behaviors Awareness and Prevention (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Supporting Children with Developmental Disabilities (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Language and Vocabulary in the VPK Classroom (5 hrs./.5 CEUs) (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Emergent Literacy for VPK Instructors (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Early Literacy for Children Birth to Three (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• English Language Learners in the VPK Classroom (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Implementing the Florida Standards in Infant and Toddler Classrooms: Birth Through Two Years (5 hrs./.5 CEUs)
• Integrating the Standards: Phonological Awareness (2 hrs./.2 CEUs)

From the Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services: BEESS Portal – Cost: FREE
• Effective Teaching Practices for Students with Disabilities: Focusing on the Content Areas (20 in-service points)
• Inclusive Practices for the Developmentally Appropriate Pre-K Classroom (10 in-service points)

From the TEACH or DOE websites: Children’s Forum Portal or Florida DOE Education & Training
Cost: Contact College directly for cost.
• Infant/Toddler Specialization (12 credit hours)
• Early Childhood Inclusion Specialization (12 credit hours)
• Preschool Specialization (12 credit hours)

Through the Training Portal: FLAEYC Training – Cost: $95
Multi-Course Training (6 Course Bundle) Includes:
• What Early Childhood Professionals Need to Know about COVID-19
• Domestic Violence Issues and Awareness
• Behavioral and Mental Health Issues Related to Coronavirus
• Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
• Reopening Your Program after the Coronavirus
• Food Safety Considerations for Early Childhood Programs During the Coronavirus (7.5 hrs/.75 CEUs)

Access available with a subscription to myTeachstone or by contacting your local ELC or Regional Facilitator – Cost: FREE
Teachstone will not award the in-service hours or certificate of completion until the participant completes all seven of the modules below.
• Language & Literacy: Asking Questions (1 hr. in-service points)
• Language & Literacy: Developing Vocabulary (1 hr. in-service points)
• Language & Literacy: Early Writing (1 hr. in-service points)
• Language & Literacy: Expressing Ideas (1 hr. in-service points)
• Language & Literacy: Knowledge of Print (1 hr. in-service points)
• Language & Literacy: Letter Recognition (1 hr. in-service points)
• Language & Literacy: Rhyming Words (1 hr. in-service points)

 

Questions & Answers (Q&A)

Q1: Do I need to take all 7 of the Teachstone classes and then submit the certification to get a stipend for the classes?
A: Yes. First, you must submit your application and supporting documentation. Second, you will need to complete all seven courses, submit your certification, and application for the stipend to receive a $75 stipend. You will be eligible for two additional $75 stipends, if you take two additional non-Teachstone courses included on the approved OEL Training Event/Courses for Early Childhood Educators Professional Development list.

Q2: I took many of the courses offered through the Department of Children and Families (DCF) before. May I retake the course and apply for a stipend?
A: No. The intent is to promote additional knowledge and skills and increase the number of hours of professional development of early childhood professionals in four topic areas—trauma informed care, infants and toddlers, dual language learners, emergent and early literacy, and serving children with special needs. As more courses related to those topic areas are identified, they will be added to the list of approved courses.

Q3: We have been working on plans to get more of our instructors in the Career Pathway registry. I understand that to qualify, they must meet the core training requirements listed in the Florida Early Learning and Afterschool Career Pathway document. Are there approved trainings on the PDG approved OEL Training Event/Courses for Early Childhood Educators Professional Development list for stipends that we could recommend to providers to meet the core training requirements?
A: Yes. Trauma Informed Care for Child Care Professionals (TICC) and Implementing the Florida Standards in Infant and Toddler Classrooms: Birth through Two Years.

Q4: Is there a reason why the other Core courses were not included? Could this be reconsidered? It would make sense to have the professional development efforts of PDG align with the Career Pathways.
A: We will take that into consideration for the PDG year 2 stipends. However, for the current stipends (year 1), the course choices for the stipends are aligned with PDG priorities as indicated in the answer to Q2.

Q5: Which courses on the PDG-approved OEL Training Event/Courses for Early Childhood Educators Professional Development list meet the criteria for the following? I would like to encourage my providers to take advantage of the PDG incentive to enter the Career Pathways.
   – Florida Early Learning Developmental Standards approved training
   – Florida Core Competencies for Early Educators
A: See answer to Q3. The course choices for the stipends are aligned with PDG priorities in the areas of trauma- informed care, infants and toddlers, dual language learners, emergent and early literacy, and serving children with special needs.

The Florida Early Childhood Educator Training Stipend Program is funded through the ESSA Preschool Development Grant – Birth through Five; funded by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families award # 90TP0068-01, and matching funds from the Florida Department of Education/Office of Early Learning.

 

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

Early Educators Conference Registration

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CLICK HERE TO REGISTER! 

Early Educators Conference 2018

This year our conference will be on Saturday, January 16th, 2021.

Download Conference Flyer Here

Thrasher-Horne Center in Orange Park, FL

Thrasher-Horne Center
283 College Drive
Orange Park, FL 32065

Key Note Speaker: Ron Schuali, M. Ed.

“The Empowered Educator: 3 Success Secrets to Terrific Teaching!”

Register through January 8, 2021 by visiting Our Eventbrite Link here.

CEU’s will be provided.

Contact Joan Whitson at jwhitson@elcnorthflorida.org for more information.

 

Ron Shuali, M.Ed. has been called the “Messiah of the Mind.” His laughter filled keynotes, workshops and assemblies are always full of eye-opening experiences as audiences have multiple “Ah-Ha!” moments. Ron holds a Master of Education specializing in early childhood, is a best-selling author, motivational speaker, and most importantly…He is funny. His study of martial arts, yoga, reiki and improv creates hilarious and educational experiences.

Ron’s team of Yenseis teach children his award-winning Yogarate® program at many preschools including the preschool at the United Nations.

Everyone will receive a free copy of Ron’s book “Building the 21st Century Child”.

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

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida