The Early Learning Coalition works to serve children ages birth to 5, and their parents, to provide excellent early care and education opportunities, recognize parents as teachers and meet special needs in order to assure that children are ready for school.
The two major goals of the School Readiness Program are to prepare children to become ready for school and to help families become financially self-sufficient. It offers child care/early learning assistance to families of children at risk for abuse, neglect, and poverty. Children at risk of neglect or abuse are referred through Florida’s Department of Children and Families. Subsidized care for children of low income families is available through FloridaWorks referrals, or through ELCAC’s subsidy for working poor people. For this latter program, parents must be working or engaged in an educational activity for at least 20 hours or more a week, and the family must meet the income eligibility criteria (under 150% of the Federal Poverty Level). The Outreach Department of ELCAC participates in community events to ensure that eligible parents are aware of our services and establishes contacts within other agencies in Alachua County that serve our clients as well. The ELCAC works closely with both FloridaWorks and Partnership for Strong Families to ensure effective service delivery to these families.
FREE VPK is available to all Florida four-year-olds. Your child must be four on or before September 1st of the school year in which they will attend VPK. The program provides developmentally appropriate instruction and activities to prepare your child to be school ready. VPK is offered through approved private and faith-based child care centers, family homes, and the School District of Alachua County. The program gives families two choices to participate: a 540 instructional hour school year program or a 300 hour summer program.
For a complete up-to-date list of VPK providers, please visit the ELC website.
How to Register: Parents/Guardians must go to a VPK registration location. Registration is ongoing for the Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) program at ELCAC's office from 8AM to 4PM. There is a kick-off event every Spring where parents can go to register as well.