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Florida Institute of Education

FIE in Partnership with the Crawford Early Learning Center at Sulzbacher Village


May 2018

The Sulzbacher Village (a community for women and children), working in partnership with the Toni and Andy Crawford Family Foundation, and the Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida, opened the Crawford Early Learning Center at the Sulzbacher Village.

The Vision for the Crawford Early Learning Center (CELC) is to instill hope, self-confidence, persistence, kindness and respect, healthy habits, and love of books and learning in young children (birth to age 5). These children have experienced some level of homelessness. This Center is designed with four purposes as the guiding force to meet the challenges and needs of the population being served:
Purpose 1: Create and sustain an inviting place and high quality program for young children and their families
Purpose 2: Use space in creative and productive ways to support children’s development and learning
Purpose 3: Create and sustain a neighborhood early learning hub to support Sulzbacher children enrolled in neighborhood early learning centers and schools
Purpose 4: Serve as a forum for change

provides ongoing support for the early learning program with resources to include:
  • Program design
  • Professional development
  • Coaching
  • Curriculum development and implementation
  • Action based learning

May 2019

The Crawford Early Learning Center, in partnership with FIE, added the Crawford Family Garden. After four months of construction, with in-kind work contributed by Builders Care of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, children enrolled in the CELC celebrated the event with a “first planting” by the preschool class. Using a series of specially-developed classroom and garden-based lessons, the Family Garden provides children with first-hand experiences with nature and helps them understand “how plants go from seeds to plate.” Children are planting, caring for, and harvesting edible flowers, vegetables, and herbs in three seasonal plantings throughout the year. The Family Garden is a serene and beautiful place where family members can join their children in a garden experience.

FIE provides ongoing support for the Crawford Family Garden early learning program with resources to include:

  • Lesson plans
  • Curriculum implementation
  • Connections with community partners
  • Staff support
  • Planning for phase 2: Hydroponic Tower Gardening

For More Information Contact

Deborah L. Carlson, Ed.D.