School Readiness programs provide early education opportunities to children with priority ages birth to 5 years old, particularly children whose parents are economically disadvantaged; children who have been determined to be at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation; and children with disabilities.Services may be provided to children up to age 13 depending on availability of funding.
VPK offers all 4 and 5 year-old children a jump start on reading, math, language and social skills. Qualified VPK teachers utilize developmentally appropriate curricula to educate children, preparing them for kindergarten while inspiring their desire to learn. The program is offered free-of-charge during the school year as well as the summer, offering all children and families an equal opportunity for educational success.
Early Head Start is a year-round, federally funded program that provides comprehensive services to 750 infants and toddlers, ages zero to three years, in targeted zip codes of Miami-Dade County. High-quality care and support at the earliest age possible is the foundation for getting children ready to learn and developing self-confidence. That is why The Neighborhood Place for Early Head Start has partnered with 26 child care providers to offer the highest quality care for children who meet the eligibility criteria. Additionally, the program is committed to building strong families. Families who are enrolled in the program are assigned to a Family Advocate who works jointly with the family to establish and achieve goals based on their strengths and needs.
Developmental Screenings and Assessments
The Coalition, through its strong partnership with certified School Readiness Providers, administers developmental screenings and assessments for children ages 6 weeks through kindergarten eligibility. Referrals for additional services and evaluation are made when developmental screenings identify areas of concern in children, ensuring each child receives the individualized attention he/she needs.
The Coalition also assesses learning environments in early care and education centers and homes, ensuring teachers are able to provide quality education and meaningful activities for children in positive, educational settings.
Click here to access the milestone tracker app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Inclusion Services help ensure that children who are at risk for developmental delays/disabilities or those with identified special needs are able to access the early care and education settings in their communities and play and learn alongside their same age peers. Utilizing established best practices in early childhood inclusive education, evidence-based intervention strategies and strength focused support plans, Inclusion Services address the individualized needs of children. Inclusion Services also address the needs of the educators and parents by equipping them with the tools and advocacy skills they need to feel efficacious in their work with children with disabilities.
During the 2018 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed a bill (HB 1091) that increases quality and accountability in the School Readiness Program. The Office of Early Learning will lead the implementation of this legislation in partnership with local early learning coalitions. This legislation will ensure that School Readiness providers are adhering to best practices in early education and child development while providing opportunities for additional funding.
During the 2022 legislative session, the Florida Legislature passed a bill (HB 419) that increases quality and accountability in the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program (VPK).
Rule 6M-8.621 was established beginning with the 2022-2023 VPK program year. All private and public school VPK partners must annually participate in a program assessment of each VPK classroom for both the school-year and summer VPK programs.
Technical Assistance and Mentoring
The Coalition provides a variety of support services to early care and education centers and homes, including one-on-one mentoring and professional development trainings, to ensure child care staff are equipped to prepare children for kindergarten and elementary school success. Additional supports include curricula and curricula training.
The Coalition also provides technical assistance, such as accreditation, selected curriculum enhancement and necessary materials, enriching the quality of care and education provided to children in early education programs.
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