Helping Children Prepare for School

They call him Mr. Universe.

Five-year-old Josiah loves to dance and is very social with his classmates.

Galetha Hawthorne, the director of his child care program at Early Learning Coalition, said he has been ever since he came out of his shell.

“Josiah was very shy at first but once he got to know his teachers and classmates, he became very outgoing,” she said.

The School Readiness program at Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland is funded by United Way of Central Florida and has a proven track record for preparing children to enter school.

A Learning Accomplishment Profile was given to Josiah and along with the Get Ready to Read screener. The assessments showed he was below average in fine motor skills, prewriting, cognition and language. 

The ELCFH Child Development Support Services Specialist connected Josiah’s mother and STEAM so that support activities and access to services could be implemented and Josiah started attending STEAM in September of 2016 in Sebring.

His teachers developed a plan to get Josiah back on track with activities that ensured the experience was fun and interesting. Josiah moved from Below Average in literacy development to Average within the program year.

Josiah would beam when he mastered the skills, saying “Yes, I can really do it!”

“Without These services, Josiah would not have been prepared for kindergarten,” said Yolanda Howard, Josiah’s mom. “The teachers are remarkable. They took my shy little boy and helped him gain some independence.”