Early Childhood Education Projects

PKZ Baby Institute

The Parramore Kidz Zone Baby Institute is for parents of children between the ages of birth to five years of age residing in the Parramore and Holden Heights communities. The nine-week Baby Institute is designed to help parents of young children build knowledge and skills that result in better parenting, which will lead to better school readiness outcomes for children.

The Baby Institute provides a pre and post-test, goal setting, journaling to capture the growth and development through a nine week cycle. Growth is determined by three W’s: “What I already knew, What I wanted to know and what I learned in Class.”

PKZ Baby Institute is currently in their seventh year and 19th cycle. More than 198 parents have graduated from Baby Institute and more than 400 children, ages birth to 5-years-old, have had their parents benefit from participating in the baby institute.

Call today (407) 377-1222 to sign up for the next class which starts on April 15, 2017. Don’t wait call today and register for our 19th cycle.

The PKZ Baby Institute is operated by the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County and is funded, in part, by The Florida Department of Health, City of Orlando Families, Parks and Recreation, Central Florida Foundation and the State of Florida’s Office of Early Learning.

For the latest updates, events and to stay connected with us like our Facebook page.

For more information contact Anna Kinchens, PKZ Baby Institute Manager, or Cindy Jurie, Director of Research and Special Projects, for further information.

Early Literacy Enhancement Project

The Early Literacy Enhancement Project was created to assist VPK providers in increasing the number of children entering kindergarten in Orange County with the reading readiness skills necessary to promote future reading success. The Get Ready to Read! Revised early literacy screening tool was used to screen 372 VPK students of whom 66% were determined to be eligible for intervention services. Nemours staff provided independent screening of children to determine eligibility for services as well as technical assistance in evaluating program data throughout the year.

Using the research-based Nemours BrightStart! curriculum, trained VPK teachers provided twenty weeks of targeted instruction to children in small groups. Thirteen centers participated in this pilot program. At the end of the VPK school year, children in the BrightStart! intervention groups showed an increase of 23% from their initial score. Nine of the thirteen centers were able to move their children from an at-risk, below average level of performance to a level of performance commensurate with their age-level peers.

Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Infant/Toddler Coaching Services

Orlando Magic Youth Foundation Infant/Toddler Coaching Services: To support early childhood centers serving infants and toddlers in their efforts to improve the credentials of the teachers working with the youngest children in care, the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation provided funding in 2012 to offer the Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate (CDA) Coaching program. This program provided eighty hours of specific infant/toddler training to twenty infant/toddler teachers from sixteen child care centers. Nineteen infant/toddler teachers earned their Infant/Toddler Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, a significant step forward in their professional development. In 2013, OMYF increased funding and currently 24 infant/toddler teachers are receiving specific infant/toddler training and coaching toward earning their CDA credential. Additionally, 14 center directors participate in a new director training program, providing a forum for sharing ideas and suggestions for improving their centers. Through this project, the quality of care provided to infants and toddlers in Orange County is being strengthened.

OMYF coaching service outcomes

Preschool Ambassadors

In collaboration with the City of Orlando’s Orlando Cares volunteer initiative, the Preschool Ambassadors volunteer program was established in partnership with the Adult Literacy League to provide supplemental literacy activities to children in VPK classrooms and engage families in early literacy activities. A VISTA volunteer sponsored by the City of Orlando was actively engaged in volunteer recruitment for Preschool Ambassadors. The Ready Reader volunteer initiative saw 26 volunteers working at 25 VPK sites throughout Orange County contributing 1206 hours of volunteer service reading to young children. Additional funding was provided via the Mayor’s Matching Grant to support the purchase of 100 Family Literacy kits to be used in Family Literacy workshops at VPK sites in Orange County.

BLOCKFest Early Math & Science

BLOCKFest, a program for families and early childhood providers, was implemented this year to support young children’s understanding of math and science. The ELCOC partnered with the Orlando Science Center in this effort with our community. BLOCKFest offers two components to better support children’s engagement with blocks. The first, an Early Math and Science workshop for early childhood teachers was offered eight times throughout the year to 116 early childhood professionals. Five BLOCKFest Family Engagement events were held throughout the year with 196 parents and children in attendance.