We are the Champions of Early Childhood Education


Our mission is to provide quality child care and educational programs for eligible children. We accomplish this by “Opening Doors for Young Children” through our programs and services, championing the importance of early childhood education. This includes Child Care Resources and Referrals for all families, free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (up to 540 hours) for all 4-year-olds, and School Readiness Subsidized Child Care for birth to age 13.

By giving young children the opportunity to experience a quality early learning environment, we set the stage for them to become ready for, and ultimately, successful in school. At-risk preschoolers who attend a quality early learning program are less likely to need a special education class, are on grade level with peers who come from enriching environments, are more likely to graduate from high school, and are more likely to enter the workforce.

At the same time, families have the opportunity to become financially self-sufficient because parents can remain employed or continue as a full time student while their children receive quality care, rather than staying home to care for the children themselves. They go to work or school with the peace of mind that comes from knowing their children are in a safe and nurturing environment which helps them perform better in their jobs or classes.  

Our Coalition works diligently to ensure children receive the highest quality early learning services possible. We are part of a statewide network of 31 coalitions addressing legislation and other issues that impact our children.
Early Learning Coalitions were created in 1999 by the Florida legislature to provide local oversight and decision making for the early learning services for children birth to 5 years old. Our board is comprised of 21 dedicated individuals. Members represent the business sector, the local public school district, private preschools, the local state college, the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Families. Together, board members use their expertise to address the education and well-being of the “whole child."

ATTENTION PARENTS Sign up for free Voluntary Prekindergarten and School Readiness Services at the link below:

What is Voluntary Pre-k?
This free program helps insure ALL children are intellectually, emotionally, socially and physically ready to enter kindergarten! If your child is four years old on or before Sept. 1, 2019, you can apply online here, and select from several programs offering up to 540 hours of Pre-K education.
What is School Readiness Subsidized Childcare?
Parents who earn low to moderate income may qualify for financial assistance that will help pay a portion of the costs for early learning services for children BIRTH to kindergarten, and when funding allows, up to age 13. This is in addition to the free Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten program, which offers up to 540 hours for the school year or 300 hours during the summer. program.

Open Registration for 2019 Voluntary Pre-K

Registration for the 2019-2020 Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program is now open through the Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County’s online enrollment.  This FREE program is open to children residing in Florida who will be four years of age on or before September 1, 2019.

Parents can sign their children up to participate at no charge in one of the VPK program options, by applying online at the Early Learning Coalition website, www.elcslc.org at the PARENT PORTAL, in the blue box located on the top righthand side of this webpage. To help answer your questions or concerns about Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK), team members from the Early Learning Coalition are available Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm by calling 772-595-6363. 

Families who need computer access for registration may complete their enrollment through the computer portals at the office of the Early Learning Coalition, according to Early Learning Coalition Executive Director Tony Loupe. Selected childcare providers will also have computers available for registration.

Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) is a legislatively mandated program that is designed to prepare every four-year-old in Florida for kindergarten and build the foundation for their educational success. The VPK program gives each child an opportunity to perform better in school and throughout life with quality programs that include high literacy standards, accountability, appropriate curricula, substantial instruction periods, manageable class sizes and qualified instructors.

Online application will require uploading required documents, including:  

1. Your child’s birth certificate and 

2. A proof of residence (Examples include: water bill, electric bill, lease, any government document with current address)

For questions, please call the Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County at 772-595-6363 or 772-595-6424.


Nordstrom appointed Chief Financial Officer

We are please to welcome Thomas Nordstrom as Chief Financial Officer for the Early Learning Coalition of St. Lucie County, as announced by Tony Loupe, Chief Executive Officer for the coalition. The agency helps lead the charge in early childhood care and education in St. Lucie County.

In his role, Nordstrom will be responsible for all financial operations and coordinate fiscal needs for the non-profit organization, including compliance with the Office of Early Learning, where the majority of funding for early learning coalitions in Florida originates.

Nordstrom joins the coalition after more than 30 years in the accounting profession where he started his career as a certified public accountant working for Ernst and Young, a national public accounting firm with headquarters in West Palm Beach. Nordstrom then entered the private accounting sector as the Director of Financial Services for Holy Cross Hospital, a large, not-for-profit hospital located in Ft. Lauderdale, and later continued his career in the health care industry working as both a controller and a chief financial officer, where he primarily managed the accounting and financial operations of Mednax, Inc., a large health care corporation providing physician services in the areas of anesthesia medicine, newborn care, maternal-fetal medicine, pediatric cardiology and other pediatric subspecialty care.

A graduate of Florida Atlantic University, with a degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Accounting, Nordstrom lives in Port St. Lucie.  He’s been a certified public accountant in Florida since 1994. His three adult children graduated from South Florida schools, with two of them currently attending college in the state university system.

Sanders to lead Community Development

We welcome community journalist, radio talk show host and former educator Sue-Ellen Sanders as Community Development Manager for the Early Learning Coalition. 

In her role, Sanders will coordinate community outreach and marketing for the non-profit organization, with a focus on grant-writing development, special events and other public relations activities, including government and media relations, print and electronic publications, and volunteer recruitment.

Sanders joins the coalition after more than 20 years in community relations, having handled promotions and marketing for Harbor Federal, The Tribune and the Boys & Girls Club, and an 8-year stint as a St. Lucie County teacher. “I’m thrilled to combine my communications skills with my knowledge as an educator, to promote the Early Learning Coalition’s programs and resources,” she adds. Sanders will continue to host her radio talk show on WPSL, now in its 19th year.

A Florida native and University of Florida graduate, Sanders lives in Fort Pierce with her husband, Marty and their dog. Her two adult children graduated from St. Lucie County schools and Sanders has been involved in the community, having served as President of Fort Pierce Rotary Club and of the Treasure Coast Gator Club.  Other volunteer boards and activities include The Inner Truth Project, Boys & Girls Club, Education Foundation, the United Way, Leadership St. Lucie, the Royal Palms and the Chamber of Commerce.

Currently, Sanders is a member of the Port St. Lucie Business Women, Florida Public Relations Association and race director and founder for the Sailfish Beer Mile. A life-long runner, she’s also coached cross-country and directed other area races.

Office of Early Learning Statewide Information System Upgrade

The Family Portal and Provider Services Portal may see service interuptions while the Office of Early Learning (OEL) Statewide Information System(SIS) is undergoing an upgrade.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.  

Parents please contact Family Services at 772-595-6424 with any questions. Providers please contact your Resource Specialist with any questions.

ELCSLC 2017-2019 Coalition Plan

We are soliciting and welcoming public input on our local SR Coalition Plan.

Open Registration for VPK




Change the First Five Years...

We've moved to our new permanent office!

We've moved our office to a NEW, PERMANENT, MORE CONVENIENT location! Our new office is on the Third Floor of the Treasure Health Building, 5000 Dunn Road, in Fort Pierce (on the corner of Midway Road and Dunn) with regular office hours of 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. 

Our phone numbers and extensions have all remained the same.  Reach us at 772-595-6424.


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Child Care Resource and Referral services are available Monday-Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm

Read to your kids every day!

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