We want all Florida children to have what they need to thrive in the 0-5 years: stimulating, nurturing early learning opportunities, access to health care and a medical home, and parents who are supported in their workplace and in society.
We educate and influence elected officials who make decisions about programs and funding and can help move the needle in these areas. A major legislative priority is securing adequate funding for Florida's VPK and School Readiness programs, so that high-quality early learning is affordable for families and teachers are appropriately compensated for the brain-building work they do. We are currently working to elevate the voices and experiences of parents and educators as we craft the next advocacy agenda for early learning.
We are also building a network of business champions for early childhood all across the state: our Bosses for Babies. These Bosses understand that investing in young children and families is an investment in both their bottom line and in community prosperity. They take action through giving or volunteering, family-friendly business practices, or advocacy.
Further, The Movement administers the ReadingPals program, a statewide early literacy initiative that provides volunteer mentors for students from Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) to 3rd grade who may need extra help. Each year, we pair thousands of students and mentors around Florida for one-on-one or small group sessions. The program is re-launching in Miami Dade County in January!
According to the Florida Department of Education, fully 50% of children in Florida were not "ready for kindergarten" in 2021. It's hard to catch up: 47% of Florida students could not read at a minimally proficient level by the end of third grade. The mandate is clear: we need to support children and families well before a child enters kindergarten to make an impact and raise these numbers for children in this community and all across the state.
The Children's Movement of Florida is the state's leading voice on early childhood: championing policies and investments for high-quality early learning opportunities, health care access, and parent support.