United Way of Central Florida’s Master Teacher Program has thrived in our community for nine years and now it is being adopted by another Florida United Way.

United Way of Lake & Sumter Counties newly hired Master Teacher is learning the ropes here in Polk County and plans to implement our teachings in Lake and Sumter counties. UWCF Master Teacher Layla Cribb said she isn’t surprised the Master Teacher Program model is being applied in other areas.

“The United Way of Central Florida Master Teacher Program provides a unique service to early childhood providers,” She said. “Our program has enormous impact in the early childhood community. We provide naptime workshops, curriculum training and age appropriate best practices to providers in their own classroom environment,” Cribb said.

Master Teachers provide intensive on-the-job training for para-professionals in pre-kindergarten classrooms. The Master Teacher and teacher-in-training work together for 160 hours to model and practice skills consistent with accreditation standards established by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Daily Activities help to form good habits in the areas of discipline, learning environment and more.

Programs are evaluated on classroom environment, planning, teacher/student interactions and more before and after the training. Results show an average improvement of more than 33% annually since 2005. Additionally, children improve their vocabulary scores an average of three months for every one month of exposure to the classes.

“This is why we have interest from other communities,” Cribb said. “Communities coming together in this way demonstrates the Power Of U.”