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Press Release

Florida Southern College Announces Carol Jenkins Barnett Center For Early Childhood Learning And Health

Florida Southern College
Posted on: 24 Feb 18

LAKELAND, Fla., Feb. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- At a groundbreaking ceremony at Florida Southern College today, President Anne Kerr announced the establishment of the Carol Jenkins Barnett Center for Early Childhood Learning and Health at Florida Southern College, which will house a unique interdisciplinary program that will be the first of its kind in the United States linking early childhood learning and childhood health. 

"Carol Barnett is one of our nation's leading advocates for children," said Dr. Kerr. "Her passion for and dedication to early learning education and health is both widespread and contagious. It is with great admiration for Carol Barnett and her commitment to young learners throughout America that we name the Carol Jenkins Barnett Center for Early Childhood Learning and Health in her honor."

The daughter of Publix Super Markets founder George W. Jenkins, Carol is a 1979 graduate of Florida Southern; her husband Barney Barnett is a 1965 graduate of the College and serves on the College's Board of Trustees. A new facility housing the Barnett Center will be built on the northwest corner of Frank Lloyd Wright Way and Jefferson Avenue, next to the Roberts Academy.

The Barnett Center will be a national model for teacher and pediatric nurse preparation, setting a precedent for interdisciplinary education in early childhood learning and health. Future teachers and nurses will be trained to identify issues that impact childhood learning, including vision and hearing problems, learning challenges such as dyslexia, oral health concerns, behavioral challenges, and general health and environmental stressors.

As part of the launch of the Center, Florida Southern College will establish new programs of study in both early childhood education and pediatric nursing that focus on the impact of childhood health on learning. Health instruction will be incorporated into the undergraduate and graduate education programs in order to combine the best practices in both fields.

According to Dr. Tracey Tedder, Dean of the FSC School of Education and Head of School for the Roberts Academy, "Positive early school experiences are of paramount importance to young children—establishing a foundation for the acquisition of knowledge and gaining the skills that they will need later in life."

The Barnett Center will also house the College's renowned Early Learning Preschool/Lab, which will become an integral part of the Center, providing a model school for early childhood learning and linking childhood health to learning outcomes.

For many years, children from the greater Lakeland community have attended the Early Learning Preschool/Lab, a research-based learning program for children age three to six as well as an on-site laboratory for FSC School of Education majors. Currently, the Early Learning Preschool/Lab has a waiting list of nearly quadruple its current capacity. Building a new facility and increasing enrollment as part of the development of the Barnett Center for Early Childhood Learning and Health will provide more opportunities for Polk County families to benefit from stellar early childhood education.

Editor's Details

Mike Wood

Last updated on: 24/02/2018

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