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Early Learning Florida

Personalized, Competency-based Professional Learning System

Flamingo Early Learning Florida is a statewide professional development system that improves early educator teaching practices and child outcomes. As a part of the Florida Division of Early Learning’s collaborative efforts to transform the state’s early learning workforce, this powerful system is funded by the Florida Legislature and offers professional development courses, training, certifications and resources at no cost to educators. 


    Since 2015, Flamingo Early Learning has delivered nearly: 

    • 600,000 hours of professional development
    • 29,000 courses with a 93% increase in summer 2020 enrollment

    As part of the Early Learning Performance Funding Project, Flamingo Early Learning Florida demonstrated: 

    • 79% improvement in teacher-child interaction as measured by CLASS®
    • 43% improvement of content knowledge
    • 23% higher average child developmental growth rates as measured by Teaching Strategies GOLD

    Flamingo Early Learning accomplishes DEL’s Early Learning Professional Development System Goals by offering:

    Nearly 1,000 hours of online, competency-based training in English and Spanish

    Pathways to state and national credentials leading to college credit and career advancement

    Coaching certification program with support from coaching experts

    Communities of Practice facilitator training to help professionals effectively convene groups of educators

    Flamingo Early Learning satisfies training requirements established by DEL for early childhood educators as mandated in Florida Statute 1002.82. 

      Hillsborough Early Learning Network

      In 2018, the Lastinger Center partnered with the Vinik Family Foundation and the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County to build and test the Hillsborough Early Learning Network (HELN).  This early childhood professional development model is designed to transform educator and child outcomes in Hillsborough County, Florida. 

      Over three years, directors engaged in instructional leadership development experiences and completed online coursework that articulated to the Florida Director Credential and college credit. Teachers in the program completed online coursework that articulated to a Child Development Associate credential while also receiving personalized coaching to help them apply their learning in their classroom. Coaches at the Hillsborough Early Learning Coalition engaged in collaborative professional development to enhance their coaching capacity.

      During the first three-year period of the initiative, HELN:

      • Supported 814 teachers and indirectly impacted more than 8,000 students
      • Improved educator content knowledge by an average of 30%
      • Reduced program participation attrition by 50%
      • Engaged key stakeholders to begin aligning professional learning supports to create a cohesive system​

      Contact Ellen Zinzeleta, Ph.D., at to learn more about the Hillsborough Early Learning Network and how you can partner with us.

        “Between the relationships I create in my workplace, the mentors and instructors in HELN, and the community of practice that I have come to know and network with, I have learned the power of community. I have learned that part of being a good leader/director is embracing your team and realizing what strengths and gifts others bring to the table. This maximizes your center’s potential and creates a stronger unit that ultimately has positive outcomes for the children in our care and offers them a rich learning experience. Thank you, HELN, for the experience of a lifetime.”


        Program Leader

        Massachusetts Early Childhood Support Organization

        The Lastinger Center’s Flamingo Early Learning system was selected as an Early Childhood Support Organization (ECSO) for the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) in 2020. 

        As an ECSO, Flamingo Early Learning provides instructional leadership development to participating program leaders, which includes one-to-one coaching and targeted online professional development courses. Currently, we partner with 19 programs, supporting 40 program leaders and more than 200 educators.

        Flamingo Early Learning has been a wonderful investment of my time. It brought a small team of my teachers together and they’re all finding it beneficial to their teaching styles. I appreciate the focus on supporting each other as leaders and strengthening our team as well as the entire program as a whole; I look forward to implementing what we’re learning.”

        Participating Director

        Massachussets ECSO Initiative

        Georgia DECAL

        The Lastinger Center for Learning has partnered with Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) since 2015 to develop and advance professional learning communities (PLCs)  of state level staff and early childhood educator coaches. 

        Most recently, GA DECAL engaged with the Lastinger Center to enhance the state’s Technical Assistant (TA) supports for quality rated providers and to implement system-wide improvements in early childhood program quality. To support this effort, we are providing strategic guidance, coaching and CoP facilitation for their established PLCs to the Division’s professional development unit.

        Flamingo Early Learning Louisiana

        The Lastinger Center has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Education to implement Flamingo Early Learning Louisiana (FELLA). This statewide Early Childhood Ancillary Certificate (ECAC) Program prepares early learning teachers to support kindergarten readiness through high-quality adult-child interactions and rich learning experiences in infant-toddler and preschool settings. 

        To learn more about FELLA, please click the button below. If you have any questions about the program or would like to enroll, contact Karen Molinario at

        As an ECAC Program, Flamingo Early Learning Louisiana provides:

        Online coursework aligned to the Child Development Associate (CDA) subject areas

        Communities of Practice around course content and technical assistance in CDA portfolio

        CDA Professional Portfolio Support 

        Coaching around CLASS® results and course content

        Director engagement to support teacher certificate completion