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The UF Lastinger Center for Learning recently received a three-year contract with the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) to administer Flamingo Early Learning to early childhood providers across the state.
Since 2015, the Center has partnered with the FDOE and Florida Division of Early Learning to administer Flamingo Early Learning (formerly known as Early Learning Florida), the state’s first early childhood training system. The program has provided more than 600,000 hours of professional learning to early childhood professionals. 

“We’ve been really proud to be a part of building the instructional leadership of Florida’s early learning coalitions and the various team members that they have that go out into the field to support educators and improve the quality of care and instruction for kids,” said Center Director Phil Poekert.

Giving learners the opportunity to work at their own pace, Flamingo Early Learning utilizes its online format to reach over 35,000 early childhood professionals across all Florida counties. The program uses competency-based learning, training to facilitate collaborative learning environments and career advancement through micro-credentials and specializations.

Flamingo Early Learning works to meet the needs of early childhood education professionals through courses centered on instructional leadership, coaching and communities of practice. 

“The alternatives previously were in-person professional learning with sources that require teachers to travel sometimes great distances in order to participate in professional learning experiences,” Poekert said. “Flamingo Early Learning has allowed teachers to access professional learning experiences virtually and then to support that with some in-person interaction that helps them to advance their learning as well.”

Through its industry leading work, Flamingo Early Learning has served as a catalyst for the Lastinger Center to build other high-impact, large-scale programs, including the New Worlds Reading Initiative, which in less than three years has enrolled 237,000 children and shipped over 5 million books to their homes.

With this renewed partnership, the UF Lastinger Center will continue its commitment to early learning by building more career pathways and increasing the number of skilled early learning professionals trained to facilitate coaching, communities of practice and high-quality learning experiences. To learn more about our early learning work, visit our website.