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Early Learning Coalition Briefs

The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida

The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida

The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida joined the Naples Alliance for Children, other early education groups, and community leaders on a bus tour of preschool centers. The goal of the tour was to emphasize the importance of quality early education opportunities for the area's youngest citizens. Throughout the tour, speakers emphasized why a solid early childhood education experience is vital. In order to maintain quality standards, however, funding and pay scales for teachers must increase.

The pay for a child care professional is traditionally low. One study shows that the child care workforce had no increase in real earnings since 1997. Meanwhile, parent fees continue to rise, primarily to compensate for the costs associated with making child care programs safe and stimulating, as well as keeping student-to-teacher ratios low. Legislators need to understand that money spent on improving a child's early learning experience will pay dividends in the future.

The Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County

The Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County has relocated their office to the Orange Blossom Business Center (formerly the Orange Blossom Mall). Their new address is 4472 Okeechobee Rd, Fort Pierce, FL 34947. Their phone number is 772-595-6424. Staff e-mail addresses, and other means of communication will remain the same.

Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties

The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties will be "Building for the Future" during its 8th Annual Early Learning Conference on October 24 in Spring Hill. The one-day conference will feature training opportunities for early childhood professionals on a variety of topics including Infants and Toddlers, Preschool, School Age, Family Child Care Homes, Inclusion, Parents and Families, Administration, and other early education topics. More than 800 attendees, presenters, vendors and staff are expected to attend the conference which includes keynote speaker James Harris, who has worked with children and families as an early interventionist, parent educator, consultant, and behavioral health therapist. Jim has created an audio program called "10 Things You Need to Know About Kids" which helps parents and teachers become more effective in their work with children.

The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties announced the opening of its new quality initiative, Sunshine Stars, on September 1, 2015. The new Quality Rating System (QRIS) is part of a nationally-recognized initiative designed to help early education providers, parents and the community identify high-quality early learning programs and encourage development among providers. The goal of Sunshine Stars is to ensure high-quality learning experiences for our children by issuing a "star-rating." All contracted School Readiness Providers in Pasco and Hernando Counties may participate in Sunshine Stars. Participating providers will be evaluated based on a number of qualitative and quantitative criteria, and given a rating of one through five stars based on the results of their formal validation. Participating providers can raise their Sunshine Star rating level by completing a quality improvement plan.

For more information about the conference, Sunshine Stars, or other events, please contact the Coalition at 727-233-8291 or visit http://www.phelc.org.

Early Learning Coalition of Duval

Early Learning Coalition of Duval

PNC Bank Grow Up Great Volunteers come out monthly to the Early Learning Coalition of Duval. They prepare books for distribution to families, read to children, and, beginning later this Fall, host a children's clothing closet at the Coalition's busiest branch. These volunteer hours have made the Coalition eligible for a $6,000 grant to support their community work around early learning in Duval County.

The Early Learning Coalition of Florida's Gateway

Early Learning Coalition of Florida's Gateway

September was National Literacy Month. The Early Learning Coalition of Florida's Gateway (ELCFG) took the opportunity to promote a passion for reading and writing on September 21, 2015 by providing a literacy-based activity with several child care professionals and the children in their care. The activity idea was created by ELCFG team members around Margaret Fuller's quote; "Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader." ELCFG team members chose Super Hero stories to read and dressed up like "Super Readers." The children engaged in activities that allowed them to show their own inner "Super Reader" and received "Super Reader" costumes to use on their own, with their families, or in their classrooms. The ELCFG hopes that their "Super Reader" efforts inspire a love of reading for the children in our community.

The Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend

The Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend

The Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend will be hosting their 2nd Annual Race 4 Readiness, a 5K race and 1-mile fun run. Thanks to the tremendous community support they received last year, including the 313 participants that participated in the race, the Coalition was able to raise over $10,000!This enabled the Coalition to reinvest each and every dollar into doing more for the children, families and child care providers that they serve. This event also enabled the Coalition to raise its profile within the community and inform more people aboutthe important services they provide.

The Race 4 Readiness event will have activities focused on literacy and every child who attends will receive a free age-appropriate book to take home.There will be family friendly activities and great awards for race winners, awesome prizes for the best Halloween costumes, face painting, a photo booth, and more.

The Early Learning Coalition of Escambia

The Early Learning Coalition of Escambia has partnered with the City of Pensacola Police Department to present eight sessions on "Connecting with Children." This series is designed to help the police understand their roles as a first responder and how they might relate to small children in often stressful and traumatic situations. Over 150 officers have shared in the dialogue as part of the sessions.

The Early Learning Coalition of Polk County

The Early Learning Coalition of Polk County is excited to be partnering with the Healthy Start Coalition of Hardee, Highlands, and Polk Counties (HSC) to implement the Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting program following the Nurse Family Partnership model.The Florida Association of Healthy Start Coalitions awarded the grant for this project, which will bring $1 million to the economy of Polk County over the next two years.

This grant will allow the Coalition and HSC to provide registered nurses who will perform home visits to 100 first-time pregnant mothers throughout the county. These home visits will include health care provided by the nurses for pregnant mothers starting as early as 8 weeks into pregnancy and will follow these families through the first two years of the child's life. In addition to the health related benefits this will bring, parents will also be educated about early childhood development and how they can help prepare their child for school and lifelong success.

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

Early Learning Coalition of North Florida

The Early Learning Coalition of North Florida hosted two special days at Sykes Farms in Elkton on October 12 and 13, and will be at Amazing Grace Crop Maze in Green Cove Springson October 19.The field trip at Sykes Farms included two special literacy corn mazes based on the books "Spookley the Square Pumpkin” and "Jack and the Cornstalk.” Both venues had special events throughout the morning including hay rides through pumpkin patches, a petting zoo, an up close and personal look at farm animals, a play ground, and more.

Coalition staff and volunteers provided craft activities and distributed copies of the book "Spookley” to each child attending.Child care professionals received a bag of assorted books.A total of 480 children from 29 child care programs attended the events.

The Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia

The Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia is devoted to raising the bar of quality child care. They educate families to look for hands-on interactive displays at the child care centers they visit. For example, the program's lobby should be set up with different monthly themes and interactive yet educational opportunities. These environmental settings allow child care providers to model learning through play while parents can view quality teacher/student interactions.

Some child care programs have included pizza parlor and flower shop settings to encourage interactive, hands-on play.

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