Category: Early Learning

Early Learning News Resources

Learning Together: A CDA Pilot Project

Future Ready Collier partner organizations, with pilot funding from the Early Learning Coalition, have embarked on an initiative to facilitate a better completion rate among candidates for Child Development Associate (CDA) certification. The preferred minimum credential for employment among early childhood educators is a CDA paired with a two-year degree. Stakeholders are proactively enabling candidates who have completed all CDA coursework to finalize their portfolio and undergo structured assessment to earn the certification. This effort coincides with goals to increase rates of achievement of Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees, to ensure a more robust pipeline of educators equipped to meet existing student need. Collaborators agree this is a both practical and valuable means of helping teachers, schools, and students alike.

A primary motivator behind this effort was recognition that a substantial number of CDA candidates were successfully completing their coursework and 120 required work hours, and are only stalling at the final stages, necessitating preparation of a portfolio and formal observation by professional development specialists authorized by the Department of Children and Families. So far, 8 would-be educators entered into an initial cohort convened by the Guadalupe Center, and 6 have completed. Participants committed to attending 8 two-hour sessions, requiring their employer support. Renate Engels of the Guadalupe Center underscores the importance of such programming as an effective professional springboard. “One teacher came to me and said how this helped her feel, ‘Oh, man, I can do this,’ so she enrolled in an AA program,” says Engels.

With proof of concept, indicating that formal backing enables these candidates to move more efficiently towards certification, partner organizations, including direct service providers and educational institutions, are eagerly exploring expansion of the pilot. The program intends to recognize the need to support essential quality standards, and underscores the value of cross-organizational collaboration. A key objective of Future Ready Collier is to identify needs within the Southwest Florida education system and take concrete action. While still in its early stages, this pilot project is a positive indicator that cooperation is possible, and benefit for Collier County’s students and teachers attainable.

Written by: Caroline Ridgway, C1b1 Communications

Posted by Kristin Peras
Kids getting on school bus | Future Ready Collier - Naples, Florida
Early Learning Resources

Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit

A community-wide goal of Future Ready Collier is to ensure all children are Kindergarten ready. Future Ready Collier network partners compiled a resource kit to help your child be prepared for Kindergarten.

To download your own Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit, click here.

NOW AVAILABLE in Spanish (click here) and Creole (click here).

Posted by Kristin Peras
Early Literacy Book Recommendations | Future Ready Collier - Naples, Florida
Early Learning Resources

Early Literacy Book Recommendations

Through the Future Ready Collier Early Learning Workgroup, literacy and program leaders in our community developed a list of recommended books for children ages 0-5.

This list was developed to address significant gaps in resources and provide support in literacy for our community’s youngest learners. Now Available in three languages!

To download your copy of the book list, click your preferred language: English, Spanish, and Creole.

Posted by Kristin Peras
Book Distribution | Future Ready Collier - Naples, Florida
Early Learning News Success Stories

Increasing home libraries for children

A goal of the Family Engagement and Literacy priority team has been to increase home libraries for children 0-4. This has been made possible through support of Books for Collier Kids. Through the partners and volunteers, they recently started to distribute books to Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) offices, expecting to hand out 1,000 books per month.


Posted by Kristin Peras