Early childhood is an important time in every child’s life. Experiences during the first five years of a child’s life provide the foundation for success in school and chart a course for future success.
As a result, the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County, Inc. strives to ensure that children and their families have access to high-quality, affordable early learning programs and services in our community. As a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we are funded through state and federal dollars; in addition we receive local funding through our partnership with the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.
Works to determine the needs of young children in our county.
Develops, plans and works in collaboration with community partners to ensure children are ready for school.
Handles families' enrollment and eligibility questions for all your child care needs.
Works with child care providers to provide them with payments/reimbursements for their services.
Oversees Florida's free Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program, which serves more than 11,000 children throughout Palm Beach County.
Provides child care for the parents participating in the Teenage Parent Program contract funded by the School District of Palm Beach County.
Collaborates with the Children’s Services Council (CSC) of Palm Beach County to deliver an online child assessment tool Teaching Strategies GOLD®.
Administers funding for the School Readiness program and supplemental locally-funded Children's Services Council (CSC) Scholarship program, which assist eligible, low-income parents get early education and care for their children so they can work and/or get the education or training in order to become self-sufficient.
Implements the federally-funded Early Head Start (EHS) program through participating child care providers in the areas of the highest need throughout the county.
Promotes to community stakeholders the need for early education.
For years, Florida was challenged with providing superior early childhood education to help children be prepared for kindergarten.
As a result of this challenge, in 1999, the Legislature enacted the School Readiness Act (s. 411.01, F.S.), which consolidated each of the early childhood education and childcare programs across the state into one integrated program of school readiness services. Specifically, the act created the Florida Partnership for School Readiness to coordinate school readiness programs administered by local school readiness coalitions at the county or multi-county level. School readiness programs were charged with (but not limited to) overseeing adherence to the following:
Implementation of a developmentally-appropriate curriculum;
Assurance of appropriate staff-to-children ratio; and
Providing parents with information to assist them in the process of choosing a high-quality early learning program within one of the Coalition's contracted child care providers.
The Palm Beach County School Readiness Coalition was incorporated in 1999 and submitted its School Readiness Plan in 2000. In 2005, the Legislature changed the School Readiness Coalition to the Early Learning Coalition and added the administration of the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) program as a function of the Coalition.
VPK is a statewide kindergarten-preparatory program that is free to Florida residents. The VPK program was designed to enhance each child’s ability to make age-appropriate progress in the development of language and cognitive capabilities through education in basic skills.
Today, in Palm Beach County, and across the state, the delivery system for School Readiness program is comprised of child care providers, family child care homes, faith-based providers, as well as School District sites operated by the School District of Palm Beach County. School Readiness programs are funded through a mixture of state and federal funds, as outlined and mandated in Chapter 1002.83, Florida Statutes.