History of the Early Learning Coalition

The Florida Legislature recognized, in 1999, that “school readiness programs increase children’s chances of achieving future educational success and becoming productive members of society.” Subsequently, the School Readiness Act was enacted which consolidated all early childhood education and child care programs into one integrated system.

To that end, the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast was formed, along with 30 other coalitions throughout the state, to implement and oversee School Readiness Programs, and to establish the policies that prepare Florida’s youngest citizens for success in school.

Under the 2000 Florida Statutes, the Early Learning Coalition was mandated to provide School Readiness Programs that are, “developmentally appropriate, research-based, involve parents as their child’s first teacher, serve as preventative measures for children at risk of future school failure, enhance the educational readiness of eligible children, and support family education.” The School Readiness program is primarily designed to prepare children 0 – 5 for success.

The Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Education Program (VPK) was created by the Florida Legislature in 2005. The VPK Program provides that each child residing in the State of Florida who has attained 4 years of age on or before September 1 of the school year is eligible for this free early childhood development and education program.

In addition to the School Readiness and VPK programs, the Coalition is responsible for providing child care subsidies for children 6 – 12 years of age whose low-income parents are working to become self-sufficient, helping to ensure that they are in safe, appropriate environments before and after school and during school breaks.

Today, Florida’s Office of Early Learning is responsible for coordinating the programs administered by Florida’s Early Learning Coalitions.

Crystal River Office
Chiefland Office
Sumterville Office
382 N Suncoast Blvd. 117 NE 1st St. 617 S US Hwy. 301, Suite E
Crystal River, FL 34429 Chiefland, FL 32626 Sumterville, FL 33585
(352) 563-9939 (352) 490-5855 (352) 793-5430
(352) 563-5933 fax (352) 490-6762 fax (352) 793-6230 fax
(877) 336-5437 toll free (877) 336-5437 toll free (877) 336-5437 toll free

Mon – Thurs 8:00a.m.  – 5:00p.m.
Friday 8:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.