In 1999, the Florida Legislature enacted Florida Statute 411.01, the School Readiness Act (Act) which created Coalitions statewide. The intent of this legislation was to provide an avenue for each county to adopt and maintain a coordinated system of School Readiness programs to help ensure that every child is school ready upon entrance into kindergarten. The Act was amended in 2005 to modify the current structure of statewide Coalitions.
Each Coalition is legislatively responsible for developing a comprehensive service delivery plan for administering the School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten Programs. Early Learning Coalitions are not-for-profit corporations with governing boards consisting of 18 to 35 members from its local community. Its legislative charge is to provide unified leadership, support, and guidance to ensure that the children in their service area have the opportunity to reap the benefits of developmentally appropriate and research-based early education and care programs; help parents achieve and/or maintain self sufficiency; involve parents as their child’s first teacher; emphasize success in school through prevention/intervention; enhance children’s educational readiness; support family education; and include health screenings and referrals.
The goal of Early Learning Coalitions is to increase child outcomes by providing quality early education and care programs and striving to ensure availability for every child in their service area, as funding is available, while maximizing efficiency, accountability and effectiveness.
The Association of Early Learning Coalitions (AELC) Goals
AELC members are working together to:
- build a Florida early learning system for children, birth-to-five, that seamlessly joins together our community-based organizations, early learning providers, Head Start, Early Head Start, and Voluntary Prekindergarten programs;
- advocate for investment in quality early learning by informing policy makers and the public about the benefits of early education to children, to their families, and to society;
- share and promote planning, coordination, and implementation strategies that strengthen early learning programs; and
- provide on-going input on policies, procedures, and best practices to the Office of Early Learning (OEL) to foster communication, coordination, and a strong connection between OEL and location coalitions.