Three Florida early learning coalitions part of statewide pilot to focus on early childhood development.


Media Contact: Darrell King (941-757-2900, Ext. 212)


Palmetto, Fla, Dec. 1, 2015 – The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County is delighted to be at the forefront of a new pilot program that will see Save the Children make Florida the newest state in its US network of programs. Save the Children is a world-renowned organization and will bring its Early Steps to School Success program to Manatee, Polk and Miami-Dade counties where early learning coalition staff will administer the programs.

Save the Children invests in childhood – everyday, in times of crisis and for the future. Founded in London, England, in 1919 before moving to the US in the early 1930s, Save the Children gives children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn, and protects them from harm in this country and around the world. 

Save the Children introduced the Early Steps program in 2006. Built on public-private partnerships with local schools and states, the program delivers high-quality early childhood development services to children ages 0-5 and their families. Florida will become the fourteenth partnership state.

The program is a low-cost, targeted approach to enhancing school readiness for children in some of America’s highest need communities. Key components include home visits by early childhood coordinators for pregnant women and children ages birth to 3, helping parents develop skills and strategies that support early childhood development with a focus on early literacy, book bag exchange, transition to school activities, and fostering a positive connection between families and schools.

Natalie Vega O’Neill, acting vice president of US programs at Save the Children, said, “These are important programs, and we are delighted to be launching them in local Florida communities. We look forward to a long and successful partnership for the benefit of children and their families in Florida.”

Alisa Ghazvini, executive director of the Association of Early Learning Coalitions, thanked Florida State Senator Bill Galvano for his part in supporting this new partnership with Save the Children and added, “The Association of Early Learning Coalitions congratulates its member organizations, the early learning coalitions of Manatee, Miami-Dade/Monroe and Polk, for their selection to participate in launching the Save the Children US Early Steps for Success Program in Florida.This program, focused on assisting families in preparing their children for school readiness in high need areas, will provide important services and supports to advance good child, family and community outcomes.”   

The Early Learning Coalition of Manatee County, Inc. is a multi-service agency dedicated to helping children develop skills they will need to be successful in school and life. The agency's focus is on high-quality school readiness opportunities for all children and their families, understanding that it is in the first years of life that a child's future educational success is determined and the critical role of parents, as their child's first and most important teacher. 

Back to News Listing