Early Learning Florida program garners top international accreditation

A toddler and a preschool teacher at Baby Gator Child Development Center.

A toddler and a preschool teacher at Baby Gator Child Development Center.

IACET logo

The world’s primary continuing education standards organization has endorsed Early Learning Florida, the UF College of Education’s professional development program for early childhood teachers and caregivers.

The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (or IACET) said it accredited Early Learning Florida for its wide array of high-quality, interactive courses designed to improve the skills of the tens of thousands of Florida professionals who work with infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

By earning continuing education credits (CEUs), early childhood educators can become credentialed in child development and advance their careers by gaining college credits to earn associate or bachelor’s degrees in early learning, said Lara Glaser, operations manager for Early Learning Florida.

“This opens the door for early learning teachers in Florida to further their careers by taking our coursework,” she said.

Early Learning Florida was launched in 2014 by Lastinger Center for Learning, the college’s education innovation hub, to fill a dire need for a cost-effective professional development program for early childhood professionals. The program has received $5 million funding from the state of Florida’s Office of Early Learning and private philanthropies.

The interactive courses are free and offered online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Certified coaches also provide one-on-one coaching sessions in the participants’ classrooms and family childcare homes.

Reston, Virginia-based IACET is a nonprofit association that accredits quality continuing education and training programs. IACET examiners made a site visit and reviewed Early Learning Florida’s policies, procedures and classes to ensure Early Learning Florida adhered to the best practices of instructional design and delivered solid learning outcomes.

“Early Learning Florida joins nearly 600 organizations around the globe that have had their programs audited by third-party continuing education experts to ensure the highest possible standards are met,” said Lori Schnaider, president of IACET.

This year, Early Learning Florida’s goal is to enroll 4,500 practitioners, a more than 50 percent increase from nearly 3,000 educators last year. That would mean more than 10 percent of the state’s 55,000 early learning educators would have completed the program within two years.

Source: Lara Glaser, 352-473-273-4138
Charles Boisseau, 352-273-4449