The University of Florida Lastinger Center is an emerging national leader in advancing early learning. We have joined forces with an eclectic array of community, state and national organizations to make a difference for young children.

Research shows that the first five years are the most crucial for a child’s long-term prospects: 90 percent of human brain development occurs during that period. Yet only a fifth of Florida’s voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) teachers have earned a bachelor’s degree. Many early education teachers have only six weeks of training.

Working with strategic partners throughout the state and country, we are creating new systems that improve the practice of early childhood teachers. Our efforts include: