April 10, 2020
Dear Parents,

We, at the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, understand these are trying times full of confusion, questions, and concerns regarding COVID-19. Your concern is valid and we appreciate the many parents who have called, emailed, and messaged us with your questions. At this time, we ask that you take a moment and review the answers to the most commonly asked questions listed below.

  • All terminations of School Readiness families’ eligibility have been suspended effective as of March 15, 2020. ​

  • Redeterminations of eligibility is extended an additional 60 days.
  • No families shall be removed from the program.​

  • The parent waiting list revalidation notification is extended by 60 days.​

  • Providers will not collect parent copayments beginning April 1, 2020.
  • The effective period will be reassessed every 15 days.​

At this time the Coalition requests you contact your individual child care provider for information on possible closures. Please, if you haven’t already, follow your child care provider on Facebook for their individual up-to-date information.

For more information on COVID-19 and how the State of Florida is combating this virus, visit the Florida Department of Health website. 
Free Meals For Children
The following counties have enacted temporary free meals for children 18 and under. For further food assistance, please utilize the food resource button below to access local food banks and distribution points.
Continuity of Education
Free Educational Websites & Activities
While many community events and other group gatherings have been suspended to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we at the Coalition understand that children still need to experience life and all it has to offer. Please consider utilizing the virtual field trip link below to explore over 40 family friendly field trips.
Maintaining healthy children and parents is the Coalitions highest priority! With assistance from Little Sports YouTube channel, keeping the children of Northwest Florida active and entertained will be easier than ever. Click the blue button below to start exercising with your child!

Florida Department of Health / Centers for Disease Control
Tips and Infographics
*Saying hello without touching
In times of incredible stress staying home may not be the safest option. The Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline is available 24/7 via phone at 1-800-962-2873, or text to 1-800-955-8771. For domestic violence support and assistance, the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached via phone at 1-800-500-1119, or text to 1-800-621-4202, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

To speak with a local domestic violence representative, please call the phone number associated with your county of residence below.

Bay County: (850) 769-7989

Gulf/Calhoun Counties: (850) 229-2901

Franklin County: (850) 653-7170

Holmes/Jackson/Washington Counties: (850) 415-5999
Family Fundamentals
Positive Parenting Connection
While sheltering in place with children you may find your child telling tall-tales, fibs, and even lies. Understanding the different levels of dishonesty and how to discipline in a positive manner is important to your child's creative development and growth. Please take a moment and click the blue button below to review the Positive Parenting article explaining the various fib scenarios and how to handle them in the coming weeks.
Do you have a picky eater? You're in luck! C hildren have many styles of eating, ranging from adventurous to downright picky. First and foremost, don't stop trying to introduce new foods to your child and i f snack time is a struggle, click the blue button below to review the Positive Parenting article detailing 16 Ideas for encouraging healthy eating habits with tricks for parents!
Family Fundamentals
Parent Survival Guide
Here’s a great activity for building oral motor skills, fine motor skills and a fantastic way to incorporate STEAM learning into your day! This activity can be enjoyed by toddlers up to elementary age kids both independently and cohesively! To make Ping Pong Playdough Straw Maze your family favorite game, click the blue button below.
With everyone staying at home and e-learning happening everywhere, finding and creating hands on learning might seem difficult, but the colorful science experiments, linked to the blue button below, will keep you and your little active and engaged.
Sensory Bin Activities
via Kaplan Early Learning Company
This 5-Minute Paper Slinky activity allows children to use creativity and self-expression while simultaneously developing their fine motor skills. When utilizing the crafts & DIY activities listed below, your children will exercise their fine motor skills while simultaneously promoting their physical and mental development. Creativity is often messy, but it is also instinctual. In order for young children to learn they must play, and luckily for us the blue buttons below will help you and your child express yourselves through various artistic mediums.
Resources for Families
The Office of Early Learning understands that families are staying at home with their children to keep them safe from the COVID-19. To ensure this experience is a pleasant one, OEL has provided families with additional activities and resources to help support their children’s learning at home as well as provide some activities for entertainment. Please click the blue buttons below and review the attached activities and resources.
We exist to grow healthy children, parents, and the relationship between them.
If you have applied for child care assistance and are on the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida’s wait list, please call us at 850-747-5400 or toll free 866-277-9077 for other financial options.
Sponsored by the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida and the State of Florida, Office of Early Learning