History of the ELC of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc.

In the summer of 1999, the Florida Legislature passed the School Readiness Act (s. 411.01, F.S.). Its goal was to consolidate Florida's early education programs into a more efficient and cohesive system to deliver increased opportunities for children to achieve educational and personal success.
Both Pasco County and Hernando County formed School Readiness Coalitions incorporated as private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) agencies in early 2000. In 2005, a state mandate to decrease the number of School Readiness Coalitions became the impetus to consider alternative strategies for operations. Both Pasco and Hernando Counties united their services and enhanced one another's comprehensive programs to provide optimal outcomes for young children and families.
Our merged Coalition Board is charged with the oversight of all early learning programs to include School Readiness and Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten in Pasco and Hernando counties including funding, contract management, and monitoring. The Coalition and Board work closely to coordinate a system of programs that jointly comprise a comprehensive set of services for children ages 0-8 and meet the specific needs of our counties.
Additional items of interest:
  • 2008/2009 First Annual Early Learning Conference; 1st annual Storybook Forest Event
  • 2009/2010 Winner of WEDU’s Be More Humble People’s Choice Award; Winner of Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Non Profit of the Year Award; Second Annual Early Learning Conference; 2nd annual Storybook Forest
  • 2013/2014 Sixth Annual Early Learning Conference; 6th annual Storybook Forest; Developed QRIS – Sunshine Stars – program
  • 2014/2015 Seventh Annual Storybook Forest; 7th Annual Early Learning Conference
  • 2015/2016 8th Annual Storybook Forest; 8th Annual Early Learning
  • Conference; Nominated for WEDU’s Be More Humble, Be More Entertaining and Be More Unstoppable – Non Profit of the Year Award; Nominated for Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Non Profit of the Year Award
  • 2016/2017 Ninth Annual Early Learning Conference; 9th Annual Storybook Forest; ELC the Elephant arrives – the Coalition’s new mascot
  • 2017/2018 Tenth annual Early Learning Conference held on October 21, 2017; New Executive Director, Steve Knobl, Ph.D. joins the Coalition as of January 1, 2018; Coalition named winner of WEDU’s Be More Humble “People’s Choice” Award on February 22, 2018; 10th annual Storybook Forest held on March 9, 2018
  • 2018/2019 11th Annual Storybook Forest on March 2, 2019Nominated for Non profit of the year award for the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce banquet12th Annual Early Learning Conference on October 19, 2019 
  • 2020/2021 12th Annual Storybook Forest on March 7, 2020; Embracing a New Start 13th Annual Early Learning Virtual Conference on November 14, 2020; Launch of Early Learning Literacy Initiatives:  Literacy with Friends and Hometown Heroes virtual reading program Spring 2020;  the Nemours BrightStart Program for Early Literacy Success (NBS!) Fall 2020;  Launch of "Loving Start" with infant's first book for new moms in partnership with hospitals or clinics 2021. 

12th Annual Early Learning Conference October 19, 2019

Date: Monday, October 7, 2019
Category: Press Releases

Storybook Forest March 2, 2019 with ELC Executive Director, Steve Knobl Ph.D.

Date: Saturday, March 2, 2019
Category: Announcements
Summary: WEDU PBS attended the annual Storybook Forest at Crews Lake Park in Spring Hill, Florida. The free family event, hosted by the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties in collaboration with the Annual Children's Week festivities, features activities focused on storybook themes. more…


Date: Saturday, October 20, 2018
Category: Announcements
Summary: The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties is focused on delivering quality training and coaching to the more than 350 child care providers across our network. This is particularly important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the development of a child’s brain blossoms and grows at a very rapid rate in the early years of life. more…

SPOTLIGHT on Providers

Date: Sunday, April 1, 2018
Category: Announcements
Summary: Check out the Spring 2018 edition of the SPOTLIGHT on Providers, the quarterly publication for child care providers created by the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc. more…

Children’s books brought to life! Storybook Forest March 10, 2018

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Category: Announcements
Summary: SHADY HILLS — How many times have you read a book, and wished you could jump into that world? A local learning foundation brought children’s books and characters to life in a “forest” for youngsters to explore. On Saturday, March 10, the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties held a storybook forest in Crews Lake Wilderness Park. more…

Early learning foundation revs up fundraiser

Date: Sunday, January 21, 2018
Category: Announcements
Summary: Vintage cars don’t go out of style, and neither does helping children and their education. Cook’s Antique Car Museum staged its 2018 Open House Jan. 21, to support the Foundation for Early Learning in Pasco and Hernando Counties. more…

Care Provider Donates Twelve Scholarships to Children on Coalition Waitlist

Date: Sunday, May 1, 2016
Category: Announcements
Summary: Kids 'R' Kids of Wesley Chapel donates the equivalent of $92,000 to sponsor twelve children from Pasco County who have been on a waiting list for subsidized child care services. Bimal Bhojani, Chief Executive of Kids 'R' Kids and Betsy Kier, Coalition Assistant Director sit down with Lissette Campos for another Positively Tampa Bay segment to discuss the donation. more…

Coalition Wins 2016 WEDU "Be More Humble" Award.

Date: Monday, February 1, 2016
Category: Announcements
Summary: The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc. was honored with the 2016 Be More Humble Award at the 11th Annual WEDU "Be More" Awards more…

Coalition nominated for the WEDU "Be More Unstoppable-Nonprofit Organization of the Year Award"

Date: Friday, January 1, 2016
Category: Announcements
Summary: The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc. was named a finalist for the "Nonprofit of the Year" for the 11th Annual WEDU Be More Awards! Check out the interview with Positively Tampa Bay's Lissette Campos on ABC Action News. more…

Coalition Awards First Five-Star Rating

Date: Sunday, November 1, 2015
Category: Announcements
Summary: The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties, Inc. is proud to announced its first "five-star rating" of an Early Learning Center, issued to Miss Betty's Childcare and Preschool in Port Richey, Florida. more…