LivingFlorida Child Care Centers brace for above average Hurricane...

Florida Child Care Centers brace for above average Hurricane Season

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The nonprofit organization Save the Children is collaborating with child care providers in Florida ahead of the upcoming hurricane season.

The group has established the “Gulf Coast Resilience Network” to equip child care facilities with the plans and tools needed to reopen or continue services quickly after a weather-related disaster.

Brace for above average Hurricane Season

child care hurricane

Militza Mezquita, senior adviser for education in emergencies for Save the Children, said they have learned over the years the best ways the network can help families return to their normal lives more swiftly.

“If child care centers cannot recover, then families tend to lag in that recovery,” Mezquita explained. “Once our child can return to that sense of normalcy, you know, parents, caregivers can go back to work, and then everyone has that routine; come back and we’re taking part in our own resilience.”

She pointed out members undergo emergency preparedness training by local Gulf Coast groups who also train area teachers for quick implementation. The goal is to mitigate learning loss and maintain educational continuity until regular programming can resume after a storm.

The network is made up of child care and early learning centers across five Gulf Coast states. They have been working through a six-week educational curriculum set to be used as a stopgap in case a center is damaged or classroom materials are destroyed.

Lindsay Holmes, education services director for the Early Learning Coalition of Northwest Florida, said it is a collaborative effort with the network and their coalition.

“We have gone as far as getting recovery grants supporting other states in their recovery,” Holmes noted. “Being a resource in our own state as hurricanes and other disasters impact regions that we’re not currently in.”

The 2024 Hurricane Season spans June 1 to Nov. 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasts 23 named storms, 11 hurricanes and five potentially major storms due to record-warm Atlantic Ocean temperatures.

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